At the beginning of November, eleven percent of the 25.7 million corona infections at the time were among children and adolescents under the age of 20. According to the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, this is the result of an analysis of data from 87 countries. Every ninth Covid 19 infection affects a child or adolescent. The UN organization called for “preventing a lost Covid-19 generation”. Schools should therefore remain open with the necessary safety rules.
In the report “Averting a Lost Covid Generation” the United Nations Children’s Fund documents the serious consequences of the spreading pandemic for minors worldwide. The long-term effects on education, nutrition and well-being of an entire generation of children and young people could have a lasting impact on their entire lives.
“Children can get sick and spread the virus. But that is only the tip of the pandemic iceberg,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “The interruption of essential aids and services and rising poverty rates are the greatest threats to children. The longer the crisis lasts, the more serious its effects on education, health, nutrition and well-being of children are.”
There is “strong evidence” that, when basic security measures are followed, the benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing schools, the Unicef report said. “Schools are not the main drivers behind the spread of the virus in communities.”
The disruption of vital health care and social services for children is the most serious threat to them. In around a third of 140 countries, according to Unicef data, there has been a decline in the number of children receiving medical measures – such as routine vaccinations, outpatient treatment of infectious ones Infectious diseases – as well as through care offers before, during and after the birth. The main reason is the fear of infection.
At the end of October, 265 million girls and boys were still not receiving school meals. Over 250 million toddlers under the age of five are not receiving vital vitamin A tablets. In November 2020, 572 million children were affected by school closings across the country, that is 33 percent of all students worldwide.
The interruption of vital services and increasing malnutrition could kill an additional two million children in the next twelve months and the number of stillbirths could increase by 200,000, warned Unicef. Worldwide, an estimated 150 million additional children had slipped into multidimensional poverty by the middle of the year – without access to education, health care, food, clean water and sanitation.
“On International Children’s Rights Day, we call on children to listen and put their needs first,” said Fore. “When we think about the future and look forward to a post-pandemic world, the first thing we have to think about is the children.”