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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNDER DEVELOPMENT UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Reflection on lower rates of COVID-19 in children: Does childhood immunizations offer unexpected protection?

AUTHOR(S)
Lyu Jinglu; Tianyu Miao; Ranran Cao; et al.

Published: July 2020   Medical Hypotheses
The incidence of COVID-19 in children and teenagers is only about 2% in China. Children had mild symptoms and hardly infected other children or adults. It is worth considering that children are the most vulnerable to respiratory pathogens, but fatal SARS-like virus had not caused severe cases among them. According to the pathological studies of COVID-19 and SARS, a sharp decrease in T lymphocytes leads to the breakdown of the immune system. The cellular immune system of children differs from that of adults may be the keystone of atypical clinical manifestations or even covert infection. The frequent childhood vaccinations and repeated pathogens infections might be resulting in trained immunity of innate immune cells, immune fitness of adaptive immune cells or cross-protection of antibodies in the children. Therefore, due to lack of specific vaccine, some vaccines for tuberculosis, influenza and pneumonia may have certain application potential for the front-line health workers in the prevention and control of COVID-19. However, for high-risk susceptible populations, such as the elderly with basic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, it is necessary to explore the remedial effect of the planned immune process on their immunity to achieve the trained immunity or immune fitness, so as to improve their own antiviral ability.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 143 | No. of pages: 6 | Tags: adolescents, children, immunization, COVID-19 response, COVID-19 | Topics: Health, Child Protection | Countries: China
Spotlight on child abuse and neglect response in the time of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Elizabeth York Thomas; Ashi Anurudran; Kathryn Robb; Thomas F. Burke

Published: July 2020   The Lancet Public Health
The article calls for adopting a public health approach toward pandemic-related increases in domestic violence ought to be heeded. Adoption of their framework for evaluating and addressing domestic violence and child abuse and neglect can create public health benefits that far outlast the current crisis. School systems and youth-serving organisations can and should play a vital role in addressing the increased abuse and neglect of children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 5 | Issue: 7 | No. of pages: e371 | Language: English | Tags: child abuse and neglect, public health, violence against children, COVID-19 | Topics: Child Protection | Publisher: The Lancet
Prioritising children's rights in the COVID-19 response
Published: July 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
Although substantial progress has been made in many aspects of child health in the past two decades, the COVID-19 pandemic and its wide-ranging effects are threatening some of these hard-won gains. Public health measures such as lockdown, school closures, and restrictions in population movement—while necessary to halt virus transmission—are causing prolonged disruption to societal functioning and exacerbating inequalities worldwide. The global Human Development Index (HDI) is projected to decline this year for the first time since 1990, effectively erasing all progress in human development made in the past 6 years.With resources diverted to tackle the pandemic, many clinical and community health services for children have reduced in capacity. A modelling study by Timothy Roberton and colleagues in The Lancet Global Health estimated that a 9·8–18·5% reduction in coverage of essential maternal and child health services and a 10% increase in child wasting prevalence would lead to 42 240 additional child deaths per month across 118 low-income and middle-income countries.
Mitigating the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic Response on At-Risk Children

AUTHOR(S)
Charlene Wong; David Ming; Gary Maslow ; et al.

Published: July 2020   Pediatrics
This research focuses on risks and mitigation strategies for 3 at-risk subpopulations of children: (1) children with behavioral health needs, (2) children in foster care or at risk for maltreatment, and (3) children with medical complexity (CMC). Mitigation strategies delineated for these at-risk populations are also likely beneficial for any child and family. Importantly, children not already in these groups are at risk for facing new medical, behavioral, or social challenges that develop during the pandemic. In particular, children in households of low socioeconomic status are likely at the highest risk for new or worsening issues, underscoring the critical leadership role of Medicaid programs in these risk mitigation strategies.
Beyond the Shadow Pandemic: Protecting a generation of girls from gender-based violence through COVID-19 to recovery

AUTHOR(S)
Archambeault Leslie

Published: July 2020   Save the Children International
COVID-19 is exposing and exacerbating the existing inequalities that put girls at increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV). This policy brief includes concrete recommendations for UN actors, donors, national governments, humanitarian actors, and the media to ensure that these risks are prevented, mitigated against, and responded to as an urgent priority through COVID-19 to recovery.
Protecting Forcibly Displaced Women and Girls during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Published: July 2020   UNHCR Policy Brief
Forcibly displaced adolescent girls are facing increased risk of disrupted education and school drop-out as well as an extra caregiving burden during the pandemic. Refugee and internally displaced women and girls are more likely to hold precarious jobs in the informal sector and face disruptions in livelihoods and income generating activities as a result of the pandemic. The outbreak and subsequent movement restrictions have exacerbated existing risks of GBV, in particular intimate partner violence, as well as risks of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) while also hampering access to lifesaving services for survivors and other essential health services. Furthermore, limited access to information and decision-making spaces related to the COVID-19 response place women and girls at risk.
Despite these challenges, forcibly displaced women and girls are showing extreme resilience and are playing an important role in responding to the pandemic. This brief provides a snapshot of GBV and gender responsive interventions by UNHCR during the outbreak.
Gender Inequality and the COVID-19 Crisis: A Human Development Perspective
Published: July 2020   UNDP Report
Across several social, economic, and political dimensions, women and girls are disproportionately affected by the crisis simply because of their sex. The immediate effects of COVID-19 on gender inequality are already showing themselves in health and education, on the burden of unpaid care work and gender-based violence.
While the COVID-19 crisis affects everyone, women and girls face specific and often disproportionate economic, health, and social risks due to deeply entrenched inequalities, social norms, and unequal power relations. Understanding the gender-differentiated impacts of the COVID-19 crisis through sex-disaggregated data is fundamental to designing policy responses that reduce vulnerable conditions and strengthen women's agency, placing gender equality at their centre. This is not just about rectifying long-standing inequalities but also about building a more just and resilient world.
Psychological burden of quarantine in children and adolescents: A rapid systematic review and proposed solutions

AUTHOR(S)
Nazish Imran; Irum Aamer; Muhammad Imran Sharif; et al.

Published: July 2020   Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences
As COVID-19 grips the world, many people are quarantined or isolated resulting in adverse consequences for the mental health of youth. This rapid review takes into account the impact of quarantine on mental health of children and adolescents, and proposes measures to improve psychological outcomes of isolation. Three electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus, and ISI Web of Science were searched. Two independent reviewers performed title and abstract screening followed by full-text screening. This review article included 10 studies. The seven studies before onset of COVID 19 about psychological impact of quarantine in children have reported isolation, social exclusion stigma and fear among the children. The most common diagnoses were acute stress disorder, adjustment disorder, grief, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Three studies during the COVID-19 pandemic reported restlessness, irritability, anxiety, clinginess and inattention with increased screen time in children during quarantine. These adverse consequences can be tackled through carefully formulated multilevel interventions.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 35 | Issue: 5 | No. of pages: 10 | Language: English | Tags: child mental health, children, mental health, psychological distress, COVID-19 response, COVID-19 | Topics: Mental Health, Child Protection
Because We Matter: Addressing COVID-19 and violence against girls in Asia-Pacific
Published: July 2020  
Asia is home to more than half of the world’s 1.1 billion girls. Gender inequality in many parts of the region means that girls are often systematically disadvantaged and oppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion, and discrimination. Emerging data shows that since the outbreak of COVID-19, violence against girls and women, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. Partly due to containment measures during COVID19, systems and services that are mandated to prevent, identify, and respond to violence against children are operating with limited or no capacity. Inadequate levels of government and donor investments in child protection, as well as gaps in the functionality of systems and effective enforcement of laws and policies have been pervasive. These existing challenges have been further exacerbated by the pandemic and are now affecting all children, while disproportionately impacting girls.
The Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 on Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Tal Rafaeli; Geraldine Hutchinson

Published: June 2020   K4D Helpdesk Report
Based on emerging evidence and lessons from past health crises, there is strong evidence to suggest that women and girls in SSA will suffer from extreme and multifaceted negative secondary impact as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Some of which may include higher poverty rates, increase in unplanned pregnancies, a surge in school dropout rates and child labour of adolescent girls, loss of income and reduced financial empowerment, increased household work, reduced access to healthcare and WASH alongside increased maternal deaths, and greater food insecurity and malnutrition.
Soro Sali, a 39 years old woman is practicing Kangaroo, at the Regional Hospital of Korhogo, in the North of Côte d'Ivoire.
Data to inform the COVID-19 response
Published: June 2020 UNICEF Publication
Timely, disaggregated, and quality data on the situation of children can help identify where the most vulnerable live so that interventions to counteract the potential adverse effects of COVID-19 can be implemented to reach those most in need. UNICEF’s call to protect children, especially the most marginalized, is essential now more than ever and our global databases can inform that response by painting a picture of children around the world. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, where are children especially vulnerable to physical punishment? Are sufficient hygiene facilities available in schools? And is healthcare accessible for children with acute respiratory symptoms? How will the most vulnerable children, such as those living on the street or in refugee camps fare? Data like these can provide guidance for UNICEF and country programmes so that our efforts to mitigate and overcome the effects of the pandemic can be measured.
Reshmi Prabhu (12) in a cotton field in Karnatarka, India. She previously worked in the fields before being enrolled in school for the first time this year. 
COVID-19 and Child Labour: A time of crisis, a time to act
Published: June 2020 UNICEF Publication
Recent years have seen significant progress in the fight against child labour. The current COVID-19 pandemic, however, can potentially reverse the positive trends observed in several countries and further aggravate the problem in regions where child labour has been more resistant to policy and programme measures.
The level of global economic integration and the current crisis are likely to have a large and possibly lasting worldwide adverse socio-economic and financial impact. The pandemic is increasing economic insecurity causing disruptions in supply chains, falling commodity prices, in particular oil, and halting the manufacturing industry. The financial markets have been particularly affected, tightening liquidity conditions in many countries and creating unprecedented outflows of capital in many economies.
The paper discusses the main channels through which the current pandemic can influence child labour, including fall in living standards; deteriorating employment opportunities; rise in informality; reduction in remittances and migration; contraction of trade and foreign direct investment; temporary school closures; health shocks; pressure on public budgets and international aid flows.
Migrant and displaced children in the age of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Danzen You; Naomi Lindt; Rose Allen; et al.

Published: June 2020   Migration Policy Practice

This article examines the socioeconomic challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for children on the move across four dimensions: poverty, survival and health, learning and protection and safety.  It also considers how new laws and regulations enacted in response to the pandemic are impacting these children. It then suggests the necessary policies and actions to protect this intensely vulnerable population. 
Many displaced children will see their family’s income shrink or disappear and, globally, poverty levels are expected to worsen. Vulnerable populations are predicted to disproportionately bear the brunt of this economic contraction. Poor health systems and disrupted health services – a reality for many migrant and displaced children – are likely to further weaken, placing children at risk of intensified hardship, both physical and psychological. The crowded conditions and poor access to proper water and sanitation common among families living in displacement pose obvious risks at a time when social distancing and hygiene are so critical.  
Migrant and displaced learners regularly encounter obstacles in accessing education, and the online materials and remote classrooms functioning around the world today may be far from their reach. They are at risk of falling further behind in school. And given that economic downturns typically lead to more children working, getting pregnant or married, and being trafficked or sexually exploited, migrant and displaced children – who already face great risks to their safety — stand to see their situation worsen. Domestic violence is on the rise globally, and accounts of stigma and discrimination against the displaced are also increasing. The increasing global death toll means some migrant and displaced children will be orphaned and become vulnerable to child protection abuses.  

Children's (in)visibility in social vulnerability and the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

AUTHOR(S)
Marialda Moreira Christoffel; Ana Leticia Monteiro Gomes; Tania Vignuda de Souza; Lia Leao Ciuffo

Published: June 2020   Revista brasileira de enfermagem

This reflective study is based on discursive formulation in three aspects: principles of the objectives and goals for the millennium sustainable development; impact of the pandemic on the health of children and their families living in social vulnerability; and the role of pediatric nursing in the care provided - limits and challenges. In January 2020, the news of COVID 19 is released as a pandemic. In Brazil, children and families are still without access to basic rights, thereby increasing their risks of social vulnerability because of the quarantine. The nursing field has an important role in monitoring children and their families, offering guidance in search for solutions and preventing contamination. There are still challenges to be overcome by the children and their families in situations of vulnerability against COVID-19.

Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 29 | Issue: 73 (Supplement 2) | Language: English | Tags: child care, child health, poor children, SDGs, COVID-19, vulnerable children | Topics: Child Protection | Countries: Brazil
Domestic violence during COVID-19: the GP role.

AUTHOR(S)
Jeremy Gibson

Published: June 2020   British Journal of General Practice

Threatened by COVID-19, the world has been on lockdown. But within the walls of their own homes many women face an enemy more terrifying than COVID-19. The domestic abuse charity Refuge reported a 700% increase in calls in a single day.

Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 70 | Issue: 696 | No. of pages: 340 | Language: English | Tags: domestic violence, COVID-19 | Topics: Child Protection
Child abuse: a hidden crisis during COVID-19 quarantine

AUTHOR(S)
Maximilian Andreas Storz

Published: June 2020   Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health

According to the WHO, children and their mothers living in abusive relationships are now more likely to be exposed to violence. Family members spend more time in close contact, and families have to cope with additional stress and potential economic or job losses. We must not forget about these children.

Maintaining safety and service provision in human milk banking: a call to action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Natalie Shenker

Published: June 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
When a mother's own milk is not available, WHO recommends pasteurised donor human milk as the first alternative.  Human milk banks screen and recruit donors, and have wide-ranging precautions to ensure the safety of donor milk. Screened donor milk principally feeds babies of very low birthweight, protecting them from a range of complications, as well as babies with congenital anomalies or neurological conditions. The benefits of a human milk diet highlight the importance of providing these infants with donor milk for short periods—with appropriate use in the context of optimal support for lactation, such provision can support mothers to establish their milk supply without the need for supplementation with infant formula milk. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is presenting many challenges to human milk banks worldwide and highlights a range of vulnerabilities in service provision and emergency preparedness. 
Children wait for a teacher in a classroom at Treichville Regional School, in the city of Abidjan. Although the school reopened after being closed for many years due to armed conflict, most teachers remain absent. (2011)
Framework for reopening schools
Published: June 2020 UNICEF Publication
Global school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic present an unprecedented risk to children’s education, protection and well-being. Schools do much more than teach children how to read, write and count. They also provide nutrition, health and hygiene services; mental health and psychosocial support; and dramatically reduce the risk of violence, early pregnancy and more. And it’s the most vulnerable children who are the hardest hit by school closures, and we know from previous crises that the longer they are out of school, the less likely they are to return.When deciding whether to reopen schools, authorities should look at the benefits and risks across education, public health and socio-economic factors, in the local context, using the best available evidence. This policy brief aims to inform the decision-making process regarding school reopening, support national preparations and guide the implementation process, as part of overall public health and education planning processes. The guidelines outline six key priorities to assess the readiness of those schools and inform planning.
Child poverty, food insecurity, and respiratory health during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Ian P Sinha; Alice R Lee; Davara Bennett; et al.

Published: June 2020   Lancet Respir Med
The eradication of poverty and hunger are the top sustainable development goals, adopted by UN Member States in 2015. Yet the World Food Programme estimates that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, acute food insecurity could double from 135 to 265 million people worldwide. In the absence of mitigating policies, poverty leading to food insecurity will damage the respiratory health of a generation of children.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in children: a systematic review of imaging findings

AUTHOR(S)
Susan C. Shelmerdine; Jovan Lovrenski; Pablo Caro-Domínguez; et al.

Published: June 2020   Pediatric radiology
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus infection that can cause a severe respiratory illness and has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Because children appear to be less severely affected than adults, their imaging appearances have not been extensively reported.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.