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The number of children who become orphans because of Covid-19 rises each week: Over 10.5 million children around the world have lost a parent or other caregiver living in the home, a staggering and heartbreaking figure. For comparison, it took 10 years years to create as many orphans as Covid-19 created in just two years. Seth Flaxman and Susan Hillis have been tracking this grim statistic as part of their work with Global Reference Group on Children Affected by Covid-19

These losses can reverberate for years. Orphaned children who do not get the help they need are at increased risk of exploitation, abuse, teen pregnancy, poverty, and vulnerability to violent extremism.

This week on the “First Opinion Podcast,” Flaxman and Hillis discuss the trials of children who have lost parents during the pandemic, and what can be done to help keep them safe and healthy.


“This isn’t esoteric science. This isn’t rocket science. This is something that everyone in society has a stake in and should have a stake in,” Flaxman said.

The conversation stems from their First Opinion, “There’s no return to normal for millions of children orphaned during Covid.”


Updated numbers for the world and for individual countries can be found at the Covid-19 Orphanhood Calculator, developed by Imperial College London.

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And if you have any feedback for us — First Opinion authors to feature on the podcast, vocal mannerisms the host needs to jettison, kudos or darts — email us at [email protected] and please put “podcast” in the subject line.

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