MORE than 1.5million children have lost a parent or guardian to Covid, a major new study has found.
An estimated 3million people worldwide died from the virus between March 2020 and April 2021.
Of the youngsters who lost a caregiver, two-thirds lost at least one parent and 500,000 experienced the death of a grandparent living in their own home.
The international research, led by the US Centers for Disease Control, is published today in the Lancet.
Dr Juliette Unwin, of Imperial College London, said: “Our study establishes a minimum estimate.
“Tragically, the true number could be orders of magnitude higher.
“In the months ahead, variants and the slow pace of vaccination globally threaten to accelerate the pandemic, even in already incredibly hard-hit countries, resulting in millions more children experiencing orphanhood.”
Prof Lucie Cluver, of Oxford University, added: “We need to support extended families or foster families to care for these children.
“We need to vaccinate caregivers of children, especially grandparent caregivers, and we need to respond fast because every 12 seconds a child loses their caregiver to Covid.”