#COVID19

COVID-19 & Children

Rapid Research Response

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Introduction

Children, despite being less affected by the virus itself, are bearing a disproportionate burden of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have been closed for months, impacting not just children’s education, but also their nutrition, growth, social development, and protection. Containment measures have increased levels of violence in the home. Social protection responses often fail to cater for the needs of children and their families. Compounding this is the regression of developments made in recent decades and the halting of progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In response to this unprecedented crisis for children, UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response to provide the evidence needed to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies, and prepare interventions to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Research publications

Research publications

COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis
Report Report

COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children. This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19.
Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19
Report Report

Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19

Across Latin America and the Caribbean, since November 2020, 137 million girls and boys are missing out on their education due to the prolonged closure of schools during COVID-19. The implications are troubling, especially for migrant and refugee children, for whom access to inclusive and equitable education remains a major challenge.
COVID-19 Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Working Paper Working Paper

COVID-19 Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

Since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries. The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally.
Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during COVID
Report Report

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during COVID

(10 February 2021) This report explores children’s and parents’ experiences of remote learning during the lockdown in Italy. It explores how children's access and use of digital technologies changed during the pandemic; highlights how existing inequalities might undermine remote learning opportunities, even among those with internet access; and provides insights on how to support children’s remote learning in the future.
COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education
Working Paper Working Paper

COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education

This paper examines the remote learning options that countries around the world have made available for pre-primary students and their families while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights trends, gaps and emerging good practices that are supported by existing evidence.
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19. Social protection in high-income countries
Report Report

Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19. Social protection in high-income countries

(9 December 2020) COVID-19 constitutes the greatest crisis that high-income countries have seen in many generations. While many high-income countries experienced the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, or have had national recessions, the COVID-19 pandemic is much more than that. COVID-19 is a social and economic crisis, sparked by a protracted health crisis.

Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti has produced the Children and COVID-19 Research Library to highlight the available global scientific research and evidence on children and the coronavirus pandemic.

The library is a searchable database of research from the most reputable sources around the world on the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on children and adolescents. It is one of the most advanced publicly accessible databases of research on COVID-19 and children available.

 

Explore the library

 

 

Ethics and Evidence Synthesis

Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018–2021: Covid-19 Special Evidence Brief
Article Article

Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018–2021: Covid-19 Special Evidence Brief

This research brief is an addition to a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child well-being in low- and middle-income countries.
Ethical Issues: Digital contact tracing and surveillance during COVID-19
Working Paper Working Paper

Ethical Issues: Digital contact tracing and surveillance during COVID-19

Balancing the need to collect data to support good decision-making versus the need to protect children from harm created through the collection of the data has never been more challenging than in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the pandemic has seen an unprecedented rapid scaling up of technologies to support digital contact tracing and surveillance. As the pandemic progresses, we are also likely to see the emergence of more applications that link datasets as we seek to better understand the secondary impacts of the pandemic on children and their families.
Ethical Considerations for Evidence Generation Involving Children on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Discussion Paper Discussion Paper

Ethical Considerations for Evidence Generation Involving Children on the COVID-19 Pandemic

This paper identifies key ethical considerations when undertaking evidence generation involving children during the mitigation stage of the pandemic (emergency phase), on subject matter relating to COVID-19 once the pandemic has been contained, and once containment policy measures, including lockdowns, have been lifted (post-emergency phase). While the COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a global crisis, with evidence generation activities raising critical ethical issues that have been captured in the literature and relevant guidelines, there are specificities relating to this emergency that must be considered when unpacking potential ethical issues.
The Evolving Epidemiologic and Clinical Picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Disease in Children and Young People
Working Paper Working Paper

The Evolving Epidemiologic and Clinical Picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Disease in Children and Young People

The initial impression that paediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncommon and generally mild has been replaced by a more nuanced understanding of infectious manifestations in children and adolescents across low-, middle-, and high-income countries and by demographic structure, with recognition of a widening disease spectrum. Critical knowledge gaps, especially in low- and middle-income countries remain, that have significant public policy and programme implications. Insufficient data disaggregated by age, geography and race/ethnicity are hindering efforts to fully assess prevalence of infection and disease in children and adolescents and their role in transmission.
Does COVID-19 Affect the Health of Children and Young People More Than We Thought?
Research Brief Research Brief

Does COVID-19 Affect the Health of Children and Young People More Than We Thought?

Contrary to the current narrative, the risks of COVID-19 disease in children and young people depend largely on where individuals live and how vulnerable they are to disease and ill health.
Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection
Working Paper Working Paper

Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection

(21 July 2020) There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. This rapid review collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.

Blogs & Think Pieces

Safeguarding and sport for development during and after the pandemic
Blog Blog

Safeguarding and sport for development during and after the pandemic

Sport for Development (S4D) organisations have adapted their programming to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis through continued support including remote learning, providing health information, and supporting their staff to support other programs. In this blog we explore the new risks and challenges raised by the crisis and how organisations can use this time to make sure the return to play is safer than ever.
How will COVID-19 disrupt child well-being in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia?
Blog Blog

How will COVID-19 disrupt child well-being in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia?

The story of the COVID-19 pandemic is one of vulnerability, in which those with pre-existing deprivations are likely to suffer most. While the full range of economic and social consequences of the crisis are yet to emerge, it will undoubtedly affect many children, by exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and their underling conditions
Making sure the most vulnerable children are heard during COVID-19: 5 lessons on data collection from Somalia
Blog Blog

Making sure the most vulnerable children are heard during COVID-19: 5 lessons on data collection from Somalia

While COVID-19 has presented new risks and challenges for collecting information, children’s voices must continue to be heard when developing policies and programmes that impact their lives. In recognition of this, UNICEF Somalia designed and conducted a study, with technical support from the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and funding from the UK government, to capture the experiences of some of the most vulnerable children living in Puntland and Somaliland during the current pandemic. 1,090 children (aged 10-18 years) were interviewed between 5th and 21st July 2020. This included children living on the streets, those affected by migration, and those living alone with no family. All the data collected was disaggregated by key factors such as gender and age group to provide additional insights.
Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence
Blog Blog

Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence

Although much of the world is focused on the “silver lining” that COVID-19 does not appear to severely impact children’s health, UNICEF is raising the alarm about the potential damage of the hidden impacts on children’s health as well as the indirect socio-economic effects of the fallout from the pandemic. In response, UNICEF Innocenti is generating evidence to assist and inform UNICEF’s COVID-19 work. This blog is about a research conducted by UNICEF on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection, including topics such as violence against children, child labour and child marriage.
COVID-19 may pose greater risk to children than originally thought
Blog Blog

COVID-19 may pose greater risk to children than originally thought

It is commonly accepted, at least for now, that children and adolescents (0-19 years) have been largely spared the direct epidemiological effects of the COVID-19 crisis on their own health and survival. This narrative is based predominantly on early data from the first affected countries of the virus, notably from China (Wuhan Province) and Italy in early 2020, and also other high-income countries including the United States and some European nations.
How sport can help keep children engaged during COVID-19: Innovations by South African S4D organizations
Blog Blog

How sport can help keep children engaged during COVID-19: Innovations by South African S4D organizations

This blog is part two of a series highlighting innovative responses to COVID-19 from S4D organizations. UNICEF Innocenti is conducting research on S4D in collaboration with the UNICEF- FCB and Barça Foundation partnership. The first blog in the series discussed innovative responses S4D organizations have taken globally to adapt to the crisis. In this blog, we focus on one country, South Africa – which sets itself apart as a lower-middle income country with the highest number of S4D organizations. This blog explores the challenges faced in South Africa’s unique contexts and different responses to them.

Online events

Webinar: Vaccines: Doses, Distribution and Bridging the Great Divide
Event Event

Webinar: Vaccines: Doses, Distribution and Bridging the Great Divide

(28 April 2021) The COVID-19 vaccine has been a scientific triumph. But how can we achieve vaccine equity? Leading Minds asks the experts.
Webinar: COVID and the Looming Debt Crisis
Event Event

Webinar: COVID and the Looming Debt Crisis

(1 April 2021) Even before the pandemic 1 in 8 countries spent more on debt than on education, health and social spending combined. Leading Minds asks how we stop mortgaging children’s futures?
Webinar: Special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa
Event Event

Webinar: Special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa

(3 December 2020) It was expected to be the worst hit, but instead Africa is gaining praise for being amongst the best and waging an effective campaign against the COVID pandemic. The youngest continent on earth, with the average age just 18 years old, sub-Saharan Africa has experienced only a fraction of the death toll elsewhere in the world.
Webinar: COVID-19, the Infodemic and Fake News
Event Event

Webinar: COVID-19, the Infodemic and Fake News

(12 November 2020) The infodemic that has spread at the same rate as the COVID pandemic has brought this into sharp relief. Why now, why has this exploded in 2020 with data being exploited at an unprecedented level? How can children and young people develop the ability to decipher disinformation and misinformation?
Webinar: COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis
Event Event

Webinar: COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis

Has COVID changed Climate Change? Can children who’ve left the least damage on the planet now make the biggest difference? Join us on Leading Minds Online as we ask the experts. On Thursday 22 October at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti presents its eighth Leading Minds Online webinar ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children' on COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis.
Webinar: COVID-19 and Child Health
Event Event

Webinar: COVID-19 and Child Health

On Thursday 1 October at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti presented its seventh Leading Minds Online webcast ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children' on Child Health.

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CONTACT
UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti
research[at]unicef.org
via degli Alfani, 58 - 50121 Florence, Italy
T : (39055) 20330 F : (39055) 2033220