Children are being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Children whose caregivers get sick or die will be at higher risk of malnutrition, diseases, death, abuse and exploitation, including survival sex.  Grandparents, who often act as caregivers of young children in poor countries, are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19. The prevalence of other diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, HIV/AIDS and, respiratory diseases such as TB will also mean that many people - including children - will be fighting COVID-19 with compromised immune systems. 

The Aftershocks report series highlight how this pandemic has wreaked unprecedented havoc on children and put millions of lives at risk.

Aftershocks report 1: The Secondary Impacts (pdf) 
Secondary impacts threaten more lives than the disease itself.

Aftershocks report 2: A Perfect Storm (pdf)
Millions more children at risk of violence under lockdown and into the 'New Normal'.

Aftershocks report 3: Out of Time (pdf)
As families' imcomes plummet, millions more children go hungry and are forced to work and beg.

Aftershocks report 4: Access Denied (pdf)
Teenage pregnancy threatens to block a million girls across Sub-Saharan Africa from returning to school.

Aftershocks report 5: Deadly Waves (pdf)
Multiple, potentially deadlier, waves of COVID-19 continue to threaten millions of lives if leaders fail to prioritise vulnerable people everywhere.
The spread of COVID-19 is likely to have a huge impact on the poorest, and global efforts to defeat poverty.

As countries and communities respond to the virus by closing schools and places of work and imposing quarantines, along with people limiting public interaction, it is children and the very poor who will be greatly impacted. Any loss of work for those who survive on minimal earnings will have a devastating impact on household incomes where people survive from day to day. The price of food and goods is also likely to rise as shortages emerge and people begin to hoard supplies. The very poorest won’t be able to stock up in the same way and the loss of earnings will make it very hard for them to feed their children. The situation could go on for weeks or months. 

The impact of the virus will make it more difficult for the world to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 1 which has as its target that less than 3 percent of the world people would be living in extreme poverty by 2030.
We are doing what is needed to keep children and their families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The safety measures we’re taking will vary depending on the country where children are choosing their sponsors. This could involve holding much smaller choosing parties where social distancing is in place, or going door-to-door so children can still choose their sponsors but from the safety of their homes. Measures such as mask-wearing, where needed, and frequent and thorough hand-washing will also be maintained.
Countries with weak healthcare systems or with large numbers of displaced people are most at risk from COVID-19 and need support from the international community with funding and healthcare expertise. 

Without support from countries with robust healthcare systems and resources, the world’s poorest people will remain at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and outbreaks may prove especially devastating. Without that support, the disease will also be more likely to spread to more and more places. 

The COVID-19 mortality rate is likely to be higher in countries where there is a lack of hospitals and health centres and where healthcare facilities are poorly equipped with diagnostic kits, isolation facilities and intensive care and respiratory equipment. 

While higher-income countries have anywhere between 2 and 12 hospital beds per 1,000 population, in the poorest countries, there may be 1 bed per 10,000 people or less. 

The COVID-19 mortality rate is also higher among patients with pre-existing health conditions. The prevalence of TB, pneumonia, malaria, HIV and AIDS in lower-income countries and high rates of malnutrition are cause for deep concern. In addition, in many countries, medical treatment is not free. The poorest will struggle to pay for healthcare which is then likely to be refused.
In the developing world, there are high numbers of refugees, displaced people, and people on the move who are especially vulnerable to the virus. Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than 26% of the world’s refugee population with over 18 million people in this region declared to be people of concern to UNHCR (UN refugee agency). Countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia host very large settlements or camps of displaced people fleeing conflict and poverty. These emergencies include the Syrian conflict, displacements from South Sudan and within DR Congo, the Rohingya crisis and the Venezuela migration crisis. These populations are often living in unhygienic and overcrowded camps and settlements with limited access to medical care. Populations caught up in conflict are also on the move and difficult to reach or monitor for the virus. The risk of the virus spreading, if it gets into these vulnerable populations is very high and more robust interventions are required to help prevent this from happening.