ArticlePDF AvailableLiterature Review

Impact of COVID-19 on children: Special focus on psychosocial aspect

Authors:
  • Berhampore Mental Hospital
  • Bangur Institute of Neuroscience, Kolkata, India
Article

Impact of COVID-19 on children: Special focus on psychosocial aspect

Abstract

Although medical literature shows that children are minimally susceptible to 2019-Corona virus disease (COVID-19), they are hit the hardest by psychosocial impact of this pandemic. Being quarantined in homes and institutions may impose greater psychological burden than the physical sufferings caused by the virus. School closure, lack of outdoor activity, aberrant dietary and sleeping habits are likely to disrupt children's usual lifestyle and can potentially promote monotony, distress, impatience, annoyance and varied neuropsychiatric manifestations. Incidences of domestic violence, child abuse, adulterated online contents are on the rise. Children of single parent and frontline workers suffer unique problems. The children from marginalized communities are particularly susceptible to the infection and may suffer from extended ill-consequences of this pandemic, such as child labor, child trafficking, child marriage, sexual exploitation and death etc. Parents, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, hospital authorities, government and non-governmental organizations have important roles to play to mitigate the psychosocial ill-effects of COVID-19 on children and adolescents. To provide the basic amenities, social security, medical care, and to minimize the educational inequities among the children of the different strata of the society are foremost priorities.
VOLUME 72 . No.3 . JUNE 2020
226 MINERVA PEDIATRICA June 2020
REVIEW
Impact of COVID-19 on children:
special focus on the psychosocial aspect
Ritwik GHOSH 1, Mahua J. DUBEY 2, Subhankar CHATTERJEE 3 *, Souvik DUBEY 4
1Department of General Medicine, Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, Burdwan, India; 2Department of
Psychiatry, Behrampore Mental Hospital, Berhampore, India; 3Department of General Medicine, Rajendra Institute
of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, India; 4Department of Neuromedicine, Bangur Institute of Neurosciences, SSKM
Hospital, Kolkata, India
*Corresponding author: Subhankar Chatterjee, Department of General Medicine, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi,
Jharkhand, India. E-mail: chatterjeeaspiresubhankar.92@gmail.com
ABSTRACT
Although medical literature shows that children are minimally susceptible to 2019-Corona virus disease (COVID-19),
they are hit the hardest by psychosocial impact of this pandemic. Being quarantined in homes and institutions may impose
greater psychological burden than the physical sufferings caused by the virus. School closure, lack of outdoor activity,
aberrant dietary and sleeping habits are likely to disrupt children’s usual lifestyle and can potentially promote monoto-
ny, distress, impatience, annoyance and varied neuropsychiatric manifestations. Incidences of domestic violence, child
abuse, adulterated online contents are on the rise. Children of single parent and frontline workers suffer unique problems.
The children from marginalized communities are particularly susceptible to the infection and may suffer from extended
ill-consequences of this pandemic, such as child labor, child trafcking, child marriage, sexual exploitation and death etc.
Parents, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, hospital authorities, government and non-governmental organiza-
tions have important roles to play to mitigate the psychosocial ill-effects of COVID-19 on children and adolescents. To
provide the basic amenities, social security, medical care, and to minimize the educational inequities among the children
of the different strata of the society are foremost priorities.
(Cite this article as: Ghosh R, Dubey MJ, Chatterjee S, Dubey S. Impact of COVID-19 on children: special focus on the
psychosocial aspect. Minerva Pediatr 2020;72:226-35. DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.20.05887-9)
Key words: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Pandemics; Parenting; Child abuse; Mental health.
Minerva Pediatrica 2020 June;72(3):226-35
DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.20.05887-9
© 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA
Online version at http://www.minervamedica.it
“A strange darkness has come upon the world
today. They who are most blind now see…”
Jibanananda Das
Over the last few months, the mankind has
stumbled into one of its greatest crisis since
World War II. With over 2.62 million cases al-
ready, and a death toll of more than 1.8 lakhs,1
the world is indeed fathomlessly struggling
with epoch-making public health menace, the
2019-corona virus disease (COVID-19). This
menace has propelled the lion’s share of the
population to home-connement and the rest
have engaged them rather selessly in an un-
even mortal combat against it, creating a situa-
tion of global socio-economic deadlock.2 All the
relentless, hair-splitting and scrupulous research
for developing a vaccine till date ended in much
ado for nothing. Prudent observation of health
awareness will contain the spread of disease for
the time being but surely will not end the mys-
tery of this misery.3
Contrary to adults, children infected with a
novel severe acute respiratory syndrome corona-
virus (SARS-CoV2) reportedly are having mild-
er illness, low morbidity, rare cases of neonatal/
infantile infection, no denite documentation
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CHILDREN GHOSH
Vol. 72 - No. 3 MINERVA PEDIATRICA 227
SARS-CoV2 replication by direct virus-virus
interaction and competition among children.11-15
However, there is a fair chance that as the
children are having no-to-minimal symptoms
of the disease, they are escaping detection. This
might end up as an ice-berg phenomena and epi-
demiological disaster as the oligo-symptomatic
children will continue to shed virus, remaining
undetected throughout.15 It is too early to com-
mit about children having lesser susceptibil-
ity, as the pandemic is just a toddler, and rise in
number may be just a matter of time. While the
natural history and physical manifestations of
COVID-19 on children are evolving as the pan-
demic progresses, its short-term and long-lasting
psychosocial impact is increasingly being recog-
nized all over the globe.16
Psychosocial impact
on quarantined children
Being quarantined bears a plethora of psycho-
logical burden, varied neuropsychiatric mani-
festations and psychosocial stigma.17 Home
connement imposes immediate and lingering
psychosocial impact on children due to drastic
change in their lifestyle, physical activity and
mental excursions.16 Children who are being
quarantined at institutions are the worst suffer-
ers as it renders them isolated from their par-
ents.18 Children’s proper well-being depends not
only on nutritional and medical care, but also on
proper parental companionship. Thus, getting
detached from parents in this critical juncture
may cause ever-lasting psychiatric consequenc-
es including post-traumatic stress disorder,
anxiety, psychosis, depression, delinquency and
even suicidal tendency.18-21 Thus, the frontline
physicians must be made aware of the psycho-
social need of the quarantined children. Hospital
authorities need to make arrangements so that
children can communicate with parents via au-
diovisual devices. Government should make op-
erational strategies to provide mental healthcare
for the quarantined children.18 Moreover, chil-
dren whose parents are detached from them due
to quarantine will also be equally stressed, anx-
ious, distressed and feel insecurity due to this
forced distancing.22
of vertical transmission, better prognosis and
probably lesser susceptibility.4-8 It is expected
that like in adults, children having pre-existing
illnesses like cystic brosis, severe asthma,
congenital heart diseases, malnutrition, obesity,
children from antenatal smokers are at height-
ened risk for poorer outcome if infected with
COVID-19.9 Health care staffs and parents are
genuinely worried for children as this is a novel
disease with a weak evidence-base to formulate
clinical decisions and everyone is virtually sus-
ceptible.9 Moreover, children have been shown
to shed the virus in feces beside naso-pharyngeal
secretions, while being relatively asymptomatic,
having an imminent potential for wide-transmis-
sion in the community.10
Although at rst glance reports are reassuring
for pediatric health care professionals, parents
and families, there are challenges to risk stratify
the children, identify the asymptomatic carriers,
ensure their proper general pediatric care includ-
ing routine vaccination, nutrition and wholesome
upbringing in this unprecedented time.9 Where
does childhood, the future of human civilization,
stand in this period of catastrophe? Will child-
hood continue to glow at this gloomy hour or the
long-lasting effects of this pandemic will over-
cast them too?
Why low incidences in children?
Are they truly less susceptible
or the history will repeat itself?
Historical experiences suggest that some viral
infections are less severe among children and
prognosis becomes worse with advancing age.
Previous SARS and u epidemics showed varied
predilection for pediatric age group for obscure
reasons.11 Various hypotheses have been put for-
ward to explain the lesser severity of COVID-19
among children: 1) healthier respiratory system;
2) lesser outdoor activity; 3) lesser prevalence
of comorbidities; 4) Bacillus Calmette-Guerin
(BCG) vaccination; 5) greater activity of thymus
including thymosin secretion, thus producing fa-
vorable CD4/CD8 ratio; 6) progressive increase
in serum angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)
level from the age of 4 to 13 years; 7) higher rates
of respiratory viral co-infection which reduces
GHOSH IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CHILDREN
228 MINERVA PEDIATRICA June 2020
rameters have a sustained consequences on chil-
dren and adolescents.31 Jeopardizing the routine
habits of school-going, task-oriented education,
peer group interactions, teacher-student relation-
ship, and fellow feeling amongst pupils will oc-
cur. Complex interplay between psychosocial
stress and pandemic induced forced home-stay
and lifestyle modications will further worsen
the malec effects on child’s overall health in a
vicious cycle fashion.16 For many children living
in destitution both in developed, developing and
underdeveloped countries, school is also a place
for nutritional support and shutdown will intensi-
fy food insecurity which in turn can be correlated
with low scholastic accomplishment and ample
risks to general wellbeing the of students.31, 32
Prolonged shutdown hits the notion of right to
education hard and educational inequalities stem
from it. Learning gap will be widened between
children from lower and higher-income families
during this institute closure.31 Facilities for home-
schooling which need audio-visual systems and
good internet connection are not available for
children from low-income households. A sub-
stantial number of children do not have a stable
residence, required books, a suitable place for
homework, computers, smartphones, internet ac-
cess, access to outdoor leisure activities even in
developed countries.31 The accessibility of elec-
tronic gazettes, learning equipment, home condi-
tions for studies among children of developing or
under-developed countries are even more meager
and thus, they are likely to be worst affected.33
Child abuse, drop-out from formal education, in-
dulgence into high-risk activities and proliferation
of child labor could be potential socio-economic
consequences of COVID-19 pandemic.34 Appro-
priate articulation between classroom and online
education, educational nancial assistance to the
needy students and ensuring zero drop-out from
schools post-pandemic are the needs of the hour.
Child abuse, domestic violence
and teenage promiscuity:
increasing threats of lockdown
Reports of child abuse, neglect, exploitation and
domestic violence are on horrendous rise at the
time of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.35, 36
Effects of school closure:
schools are lifelines
To say it with Audrey Azoulay, Director General
of UNESCO, “While temporary school closures
as a result of health and other crises are not new
unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the
current educational disruption is unparalleled
and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to edu-
cation.”23
Amidst the ocean of doubt regarding the ef-
cacy of school closure to contain a pandemic the
administrations had no choice left but to close
the schools nationwide to uphold the practice of
social distancing as there is no other denite pre-
vention and cure of SARS-CoV2 infection.24, 25
The experience from severe acute respiratory
syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and middle-
east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-
CoV) suggest that the decision of school closure
will not have similar effects on interruption of
disease spread as seen in case of inuenza pan-
demic due to different transmission dynamics.26
For children, school is not only an education-
al hub, but also a home outside the home with
plentiful free space. Schools offer window of
freedom, scope of interaction with fellows and
seniors, psychological solace besides providing
pedagogy and scholastics. Schools play an edi-
fying role in promoting importance of personal
hygiene, physical activity, healthy food, and
body habits.27 Even a short-term shutdown of
educational institutions and home captivity for
children is indeed troublesome and anticipated
to have detrimental effects on children’s physical
and mental health and shatter the sense of nor-
malcy that schools used to provide.28, 29 Child-
hood obesity and reduced cardio-respiratory
tness will be the end result of this long-term
physical inactivity, irregular sleep patterns, un-
favorable diet plans, sedentary life style, longer
smart-phone/television screen time that are being
practiced during lockdown and school-closure.30
Perpetual termination of schooling, fear of being
infected and spreading infection to grandparents
at home, everlasting ennui, frustration, insuf-
cient information, and lack of in-person contact
with peers and teachers, lack of personal space at
house, and growing nancial burden on parents
are often unnoticed and forsaken, but these pa-
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CHILDREN GHOSH
Vol. 72 - No. 3 MINERVA PEDIATRICA 229
Penurious, refugee, migrant,
and internally displaced children:
tale of deprived and endangered childhood
Health and nancial inequity take the center stage
in risk of contracting and propagating COVID-19.46
Penury hits the children hardest and makes them
vulnerable to SARS-CoV2 exposure, receive low-
quality health care, have higher mortality, and sus-
tain dire nancial limitations.31 Pandemic followed
by economic downturn will hurt the poor children
most and nourish the pre-existing inequalities even
in countries with mammoth economic strength.
Marginalized communities including mi-
grants, homeless, prisoners are heavily affected
by this pandemic and their specic needs to be
addressed.47, 48 Millions of children living in de-
tention facilities, immigrant’s camps, orphanages
or similar institutions lack liberty.49 Several mil-
lions of refugees, asylum seekers and internally
displaced people with their children are con-
ned in overcrowded camps, informal reception
stays, and squatter centers with no arrangement
for safe drinking water, food, sanitation barri-
ers, and medical services.50-52 These places will
act as a fortied and enriched culture media for
any pathogen like SARS-CoV2. Moreover, basic
preventive strategies namely frequent hand wash-
ing, physical distancing are virtually unattainable
in these state of affairs. Many of these people al-
ready harbor chronic ailments and multiple high-
risk behaviors.50 Atop, they are not receiving
adequate health care, appropriate treatment and
internet facility making them even easier prey for
COVID-19.51 Child caring authorities of several
countries of the world are defying legal orders and
refusing to provide refuge for unaccompanied mi-
grant children despite impending lethal likelihood
of COVID-19.53 Nothing can be worse than the
fate of these helpless children who will ultimately
be soft targets for criminal minds, human trafck-
ing, exploitation and all other ill kismet.
Children with intellectual disability
encounter marginalization
Untended children with intellectual disabilities and
problems like autistic spectrum disorder, attention-
decit hyperactivity disorder are at high risk of
getting hurt by SARS-CoV2 and promotion of fur-
Particularly anxieties over health, nance, partial
inactivity of several welfare organizations due
to lockdown and frustration encircling forced
home-stay are factors behind this rapid soaring
of domestic violence at the time of COVID-19.37
Both direct and passive exposure of the children
to abuse, psychological aggression and/or physi-
cal punishment by caregivers at a very early age
leave permanent wounds in the form of impaired
development of brain and psyche, higher rates
of psychosomatic and neuro-psychiatric dis-
orders, multiple substance abuse and suicidal
thoughts.38-40
COVID-19 and its accompaniments i.e. loss of
parental affection and care, nancial deadlock,
school discontinuation will certainly outrage the
risk of sexual exploitation, teenage pregnancy,
transactional sex similar consequences that were
faced by children from Africa after Ebola epi-
demic. Endangered girls had to undergo transac-
tional sex for fulllment of basic needs like food,
drinking water and shelter. Without sufcient in-
gress to contraception and safe abortion, the hei-
nous form of exploitation contributed to inated
numbers of childhood/teen pregnancies.41 Like
COVID-19 brews a internal “cytokine storm,”
its cataclysm has heralded a perfect storm for the
offenders to abuse children through several on-
line platforms as schools are closed, children are
playing excessive and uncensored time online
with loneliness and humdrum daily routine.42
As most of the online social network companies
have shifted their in-ofce employees to ‘work
from home’ mode, the regulation and review of
potentially harmful contents have gone automat-
ed from manual. This automated content mod-
eration has multidimensional fallacies and the re-
sultant response may be late or inapt.43 This win-
dow of opportunity is being used by offenders to
abuse children online. COVID-19 has opened up
avenues for more cybercrimes and criminals are
taking advantage of suppressed cyber-security at
this hour.44 “Child-abuse materials” seeking ac-
tivity is on the rise as children are expected to be
more vulnerable, less supervised, having more
online exposure and are thus easy targets.45 Strict
parental vigilance along with monitoring from
cyber cells is mandatory to prevent this psycho-
sexual aberrancy.
GHOSH IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CHILDREN
230 MINERVA PEDIATRICA June 2020
access to basic health care, mental healthcare,
childhood immunizations, maternal healthcare,
supply of essential drugs have resulted from re-
allocation of personnel and resources, shortages
of funds and transport issues.61 Experience from
Ebola outbreak65 has taught that severely limited
access to basic healthcare would lead to spread
of both COVID-19 and other non-COVID dis-
eases of public health importance. Children with
type-1 diabetes are not getting insulin regularly;
children with HIV are not getting anti-retrovirals
either and children with airway diseases are not
getting inhalers to mention a few examples.
Moreover, these kids with comorbidities are
more prone to get infected and get symptomatic
with COVID-19 and may need hospitalization in
intensive care. Many pupils, particularly from
poor communities, who frequently suffer from
asthma, substance use, poor nutrition, obesity,
anxiety, and depression than other children from
wealthier families, completely depend on school
for primary healthcare, are thus deprived at this
period.66, 67 The pandemic will tremendously dis-
rupt sexual and reproductive health services for
long-term and ultimately lead to upsurge in un-
met need for family planning, inappropriate con-
traception, unsafe abortion, unplanned pregnan-
cy, increased rare of sexually transmitted infec-
tions and overall a mal-functioning feto-maternal
healthcare and reproductive health services.68
COVID-19: a tale of extended
epidemic extortion
COVID-19, once in a lifetime phenomenon is not
just a public health crisis, but a crisis for human
existence. It will carry a long-lasting impact on
social, economic, behavioral, psychological con-
sequences. In view of current death toll casualty
from COVID-19 will create millions of orphans
in the months to come.34 Unfortunate parentless
children are easy victim for abandonment, child
trafcking, sexual exploitation, coerced begging,
and child labor. Many will suffer imprisonment
due to crime, unwanted pregnancy, unplanned
parenthood, substance abuse, self-harm and sui-
cide.
Before COVID-19, approximately 152 mil-
lion of children were already engaged as child
ther health resource inequalities.54-57 Patients with
mental health issues readily get infected with respi-
ratory tract infections like this one because of cog-
nitive unsoundness, lack of self-care and aware-
ness.58 China reported a high burden of COVID-19
cases in psychiatric hospitals further substantiating
role of mental illness in spread.59 Taking a step for-
ward, if a child gets infected, he will be stigmatized,
discriminated for both being a COVID-19 victim
and a mentally challenged child. Both of the co-
existing morbidities will antagonize management
of the other and lead to less efcient treatment.60
Nation-wide strict lockdown is making it impos-
sible for the ill children to visit their psychiatrists or
counselors along with interrupted supply of regu-
lar psychotropic medication.61 Subjects who are
already suffering from a serious mental disability
should be dealt with extra care otherwise there will
be a potential for aring up of the underlying ill-
ness and worsening of quality of life.56, 57
Impact on kids whose parents
are frontline COVID “warriors”
While periods of lockdown is a golden opportunity
for parents to mingle with their children, the story
for the parents who are catering incessant health
services and defense service are time-poor, tireless
and hard-pressed and hardly nding any time for
their family and children.62, 63 Fear and guilt of con-
tamination of the lethal virus to their little ones is
taking toll on them. Basic necessity for rearing up a
child like breastfeeding is being jeopardized, if the
mother is a frontline healthcare worker. These chil-
dren are missing their parents more than ever due
to protracted periods of distancing. Concomitantly
they are probably feeling proud for their heroic
parents at some corner of their hearts; an adulation
that is beyond the expression through words. The
wound of observing humiliation of their parents by
evicting them from rented house64 may create long-
term psychological consequences like anger, ag-
gression and generalized disregard for the society.
Pediatric and adolescent physical,
mental, sexual and reproductive
healthcare service in the COVID-19 era
A saturated and submerged healthcare system has
been gifted by COVID-19 pandemic. Restrained
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CHILDREN GHOSH
Vol. 72 - No. 3 MINERVA PEDIATRICA 231
skills. Friendly interaction and communication
between parents and children may help sooth-
ing their pandemic-related anxieties and other
physical and mental issues. This pandemic has
provided parents such a perquisite to reinforce
the eternal bonding between their children and
themselves. Absorbing children in household
and family activities as appropriate will improve
their self-sufciency skills and thus with honest
steps family relations get re-vitalized and chil-
dren get psychologically buttressed.72, 73
Concerned authorities including government
and non-government organizations should use
its all arsenals to make sure to bring back all
the children back to their schools by any means
when the pandemic falters, should ensure “zero
drop-outs” by providing nancial support spe-
cically to pandemic-undermined families and
take pledge to make primary and secondary edu-
cation cost-free. Schools authorities should plan
re-styling academic calendars and test schedules
to enfeeble the effects of school closure. Not to
overburden children and teachers must be taken
into foremost consideration alongside. Apart
from scheduled curriculum-based study basics
of hygiene, maintenance of daily routine, need
for indoor physical exercise can be promoted
through the same online interface.16 Censored
and supervised use of technologies will facili-
tate wider, faster, fair and equal catering of re-
sources with special attention to the vulnerable
groups discussed afore. To make online teaching
a reality for underprivileged section of the so-
ciety government and other stake-holders must
go many miles more to make sufcient arrange-
ments of internet service and audio-visual ga-
zettes.31
Social sites should be more cautious to censor
contents to impede online sexual exploitation.
Parents should always friendly monitor online
activities of their children. Cyber cells should
be vigilant while reviewing contents of online
games, apps, online privacy settings.44, 45
Responsible authorities must make sure that
due to pandemic-bustle services obtainable
against domestic violence rather should be sup-
plemented to surplus the needs. Service hotlines
and other outlets are needed to super-activate
particularly in the sensitive areas and run aware-
labor and almost 50% of them are doing hazard-
ous work. COVID-19 will only add numbers by
several millions more to that.69 Parting the edu-
cational shortcomings, low income families are
awaiting forthcoming threat of post-COVID-9
economic recession which has promoted child
poverty with perennial effects on children’s
health, wellbeing, learning achievements. Chil-
dren from poor households have to engage them-
selves in income-generating activities due the
economic hardships, leaving school behind lead-
ing to permanent disengagement from formal
education.31, 34
As the after-effect of drop-out from formal
education and to curtail the number of stomachs
to feed, families going through economic turmoil
may arrange marriage their daughters off against
lump sum dowry, as early as possible, thus pre-
paring stage for child marriage. Exploitation of
basic human rights, domestic violence, sexual
abuse, increased feto-maternal mortality and
morbidities are bound to happen with child mar-
riage.70
A pandemic of fear, anxiety and depression are
going hand in hand with COVID-19 contagion.
Children are already extra-sensitive to emotional
stress. In near future, a pandemic of childhood
mental illness is upcoming which will include
the whole disease spectrum from childhood de-
pression, anxiety disorders, childhood obsession,
pervasive developmental disorder, eating disor-
ders to name a few.22, 71
Proposed interventions
To mitigate the psychosocial ill-effects of CO-
VID-19 on children and adolescents proactive
and targeted interventions can be proposed. Par-
ents, pediatricians, psychologists, social work-
ers, hospital authorities, government and non-
governmental organizations have important roles
to play to make the mission successful.
Concerning healthy behavior, children have
always followed their parents as the role mod-
els. Peerless parenting skills become discretely
decisive while handling the children in deten-
tion. Parents need to respect their identity, free
space, special need in addition to monitoring
child’s performance, behavior and self-discipline
GHOSH IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CHILDREN
232 MINERVA PEDIATRICA June 2020
addressed even unknowingly. With the burden
of modernization, expectedly, parents are rat
racing and are failing to nd quality time from
their sealed schedule for their children. Due to
lockdown, everyone in staying indoors for 24/7,
they are likely to spend abundant time and share
space with their next generation. Parents should
try to bestow habits of storytelling, reading and
writing, drawing, singing and dancing, indoor-
playing, practicing yoga in the mean time and
should prudently subdue overindulgence of chil-
dren to using techs and social platforms. Home
education from parents and endearment are sine
qua non for positive growth of a child. This is
high time for parents to infuse ethical teach-
ings about importance of family, societal rela-
tions, healthy behaviors, etc., within the mind of
their children, imperative for their forthcoming
future. On diverse instances, children reside in
a joint family where they expend smooth and
unending time withering and playing with their
brothers, sisters and cousins. This is forging the
inter-family bonds, family-feeling and effac-
ing monotony. They are learning the essence of
social relations. Parents are not really instilling
these traits into their children, but the traits are
being inculcated rather spontaneously. Apart
from all of its devastating effects COVID-19
pandemic and protracted periods of nation-wide
lockdown is offering the children with cues to
look inside them and celebrate the inner strength
within self to ght any obstacle boosting their
self-belief and condence. They will learn to
defy all the bars and will no longer have to look
for the external world for validation. Parents
must help their children to see the bigger pic-
ture beyond this temporary bedlam. Parents and
teachers should make them recognize that life
will be full of ultimatums, today’s hardships will
pay off and no mishap stay forever.72 To help
the children to embrace their imperfections, to
practice controlling emotions, fear, anxiety and
act of kindness and thus creating an “emotional
hygiene.” Going through these tougher times,
children will learn selessness and importance
of ‘we’ over ‘me.’ Seeing and helping those
in distress will remain as an invaluable lesson
learnt from this pandemic. Attributes entrenched
so early in life expectedly will have everlasting
ness campaigns against domestic violence and
child abuse and merchandize about the acces-
sible facilities for abuse-survivors as well as for
child requiring psychological support.37
For children who have lost parents in the
pandemic, welfare centers should trace them
and keep them under care of other live family
member, kinship care, and trained foster care as
much as convenient. Besides looking after their
psychological wellbeing, basic needs are also to
be looked after. Strict social security chain must
be established to prevent the mushrooming of
school dropouts, child labor, child trafcking,
child marriage, sexual exploitation and abuse.
Children from marginalized communities
should be taken adequate care of by all means
like sanitization, hygienic atmosphere, basic
amenities, and medical services.49 Disruption of
many essential health care services for children
and adolescents in time of COVID-19 should be
dealt with more expertise; barriers to this kind
of unique care should be demolished. Immuniza-
tion services and mental health services must be
conducted with utmost zeal.61
COVID calamity: time to appreciate
the light within and blessings in disguise?
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest
souls; the most massive characters are seared
with scars,” wrote Lebanese-American poet
Kahlil Gibran. Childhood is celebrated as most
inuential time for sprout of human mind. This
phase of life is distinctly cherished for learning
the prevailing social decorum, values, morals,
principles, exemplary social archetype and posi-
tive broad outlook. Momentarily, the universe
has become restricted to home and courtyard for
house-restraint childhood. But in this conned
milieu, their minds roam free. The COVID-19
“holocaust” has snatched their school-plays,
kindergartens, amusement parks, and friendly
touch. Unforeseen dysrhythmia are niggling
their minds. Interim detachment from school,
friends and teachers, playgrounds have eased
avenues for self-realization and unwrapping
of inner world. Albeit, this has been a time of
forced dissociation from others and hence being
considered as arid, their basic needs are being
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CHILDREN GHOSH
Vol. 72 - No. 3 MINERVA PEDIATRICA 233
world they want for their children to live in —
“the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind”
(Bob Dylan).
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effects on children psyche to make them more
humane for building a remodeled and rejuve-
nated society (Figure 1).
Conclusions
Children are extremely disheartened with abrupt
stoppage of schooling, cancellation of scheduled
trips, home-connement and fear of uncertainty
concerning the ongoing pandemic. Although the
graph of formal education is showing downtrend,
children will hopefully emerge from this misery
with unmatched leniency, pliability, solicitude
and cognizance. In his novel Kafka on the shore,
Haruki Murakami wrote: “When you come out
of the storm, you won’t be the same person who
walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Omni-tolerant mother earth has sustained
so many disasters in the past, history divulg-
es. Mother earth never proved futile in getting
healed from those wounds. Conceivably, history
will redo itself once more but will leave les-
sons for mankind and its future. Questions rise
whether existence of human-race is essential or
merely co-incidental. Humans have exploited
earth in every possible way for so long; turned
off its lights, poisoned its air, and unearthed its
treasures. Mankind has to decide what kind of
Figure 1.—Proposed steps to curtail psychosocial burden on
children in COVID-19 pandemic.
Education Child labour
and
child abuse
- Online education
- Non-formal education
- Hygiene build up, basic
health knowledge
- Not to put academic burden
Exercise
Indoor games
Discipline
Parents must give quality and effective time
Stop watching TV, cartoon and mobile
Knowleoge of basic health and hygiene
Parental patience towards children
Beautiful world
ahead of pandemic
Forthcoming problem
- Laws and legislation
- Ensure basic amenities
of every child by
GOVT/NGOS
Physical and mental strengthening
for future better society
Basic needs
(food and clothes)
GHOSH IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CHILDREN
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Conicts of interest.—The authors certify that there is no conict of interest with any nancial organization regarding the material
discussed in the manuscript.
Authors’ contributions.—Souvik Dubey devised the initial concept which was further matured after the discussion with Ritwik
Ghosh, Mahua J. Dubey, and Subhankar Chatterjee. Ritwik Ghosh wrote the initial draft, which was critically reviewed and further
modied by MJD, Subhankar Chatterjee, and Souvik Dubey. All authors approved the nal version of the manuscript before submis-
sion.
History.—Manuscript accepted: May 7, 2020. - Manuscript received: April 27, 2020.
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Background: Bangladesh has been going through the austerity of the unique COVID-19 for more than a year like several other nations in the world in spite of concerted efforts taken by the government along with other concerned authorities who have advocated compulsory guidelines involving social distancing procedures accompanied by lockdown to have control over the pandemic. In this paper, the barriers faced by the government to protect people from the COVID-19 pandemic have been investigated. Also, the number of daily infected people against the number of daily tests has been underlined to comprehend the overall pandemic picture in Bangladesh. Design and methods: A descriptive study has been carried out to investigate the obstacles to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic for this country. The intensity of the outbreaks of the pandemic in this country is stated from March 8, 2020, to February 12, 2021. Secondary data have been employed from different sources to serve the goals of the study. Results: The poor management in the health sector of Bangladesh has been an issue of major concern during the early stage of COVID-19 which incorporates deficiency of medical equipment, lack of facilities for testing COVID-19, poor patient management, and uncertainty in the medication system. Finally, some recommendations have been proposed for the concerned organizations to tackle the current pandemic and as well in the future. Conclusions: To control this COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to find the difficulties and discover the remedies which have been done in this paper for the Bangladesh perspective.
Article
BACKGROUND: Many countries have issued “stay at home” orders to combat the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which may have hampered movement in people of all ages. This may impact adolescent physical activity, sedentary behavior, screen time, etc. AIM: The purpose of this study was to assess changes in physical activity and screen time before and during the first and second COVID-19 lockdown among adolescents in Indonesia. METHODS: This study was a national web-based survey distributed through social media platforms in Indonesia. A snowball sampling method was used to recruit participants. The final sample included 5650 participants who had provided complete information for the research topic. RESULTS: Physical activity patterns of adolescents had dramatically shifted during COVID-19 lockdown, with disparities between genders and educational levels. The majority of adolescents had maintained their physical activity levels, with 34.4% of those who engaged in active transportation and 67.3% of those who walked; while, the remaining adolescents had experienced a decrease in physical activity (30.1%–63.1%). Adolescents had maintained their sleeping (about 50%) and screen time (31.4%), but almost 40% had decreased their sleeping time and 60.5% had significantly increased their screen time. Furthermore, when compared to their peers who had maintained their sedentary time before to COVID-19, more adolescents had increased their sedentary time throughout both schooldays and weekends (about 54%). CONCLUSION: This large-scale nationwide survey could be valuable for stakeholders, when deciding when and how to relax restrictions in the future. In addition, school administrators should be aware of these changes so that in-class and/or extracurricular physical programs can be developed to offset the effects of these changes.
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The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had imposed considerable risk on public health, and had generated unprecedented levels of panic. There are increasing concerns over the possible negative impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children/adolescents. This review was conducted to describe the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and adolescents. An electronic search was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, MEDLINE, and the WHO Global Health database on COVID-19. The 2020 updated Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guideline and an adapted Joanna Briggs aetiology review methodology were followed in conducting this review. A total of 21 studies from 8 different countries located on 4 continents (Asia, Europe, North America & South America), reporting on sample size of 56,368 met the inclusion criteria. Using the JBI critical appraisal tool for studies reporting on prevalence data, the quality of most of the studies was assessed to be moderate. Prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress was estimated to range from 7.2% to 78%; of anxiety, from 15% to 78%, depression, from 7.2% to 43.7% and stress, at 17.3%. Correlates for COVID −19 related mental health outcomes were identified as female gender and social isolation among others. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the mental health of children and adolescents. It is recommended that governments and health agencies prioritize mental health, especially for children and adolescents to prevent long-term effects on them.
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Children and adolescents were largely affected by the psychosocial impact of the 2019-2022 pandemic. During this time, there was an increase in internalizing symptoms, screen and internet use, and internet addiction. However, the interaction of these variables are not fully understood in a stressful time. Here, we have a repeated cross-sectional study aiming to model internalizing symptoms’ prediction depending on screen time and game addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parent-reported online data were collected at three timepoints, 6 months apart from each other, from a total of 1211 participants. We found an increase in screen time, game addiction, and internalizing symptoms. Regardless of the time spent in front of screens, higher levels of game addiction were associated with higher levels of internalizing symptoms in children and adolescents. Even if participants demonstrated low screen time, if they were virtually dependent they tended to exhibit higher levels of internalizing symptoms. The same result was found in all three samples. There is a need to investigate the nature of the relationship between internet addiction and internalizing symptoms and the long lasting effects of long hours on the screen.
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Este documento resume los hallazgos principales y las recomendaciones del estudio sobre los factores sociales determinantes de la participación de niñas, niños y adolescentes en Bolivia. Dicho estudio fue realizado por la Universidad Católica Boliviana “San Pablo”, a través del Instituto de Investigaciones de Ciencias del Comportamiento y la Carrera de Economía, en alianza con la Fundación Educación y Cooperación - Educo y Act2gether Latinoamérica. Se buscó explorar qué factores facilitan y dificultan la participación de niñas, niños y adolescentes entre 10 y 18 años en sus entornos más próximos tales como sus hogares, unidades educativas y barrios o comunidades. Para ello se trabajó, junto a NNA de zonas urbanas y peri-urbanas de las ciudades de La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba y Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Además, la investigación hace una propuesta de medición para la participación en si misma. Para ello, se conformó un grupo asesor de 18 niñas, niños y adolescentes que acompañaron y validaron todo el proceso de la investigación. El estudio empleó una metodología mixta de carácter cualitativo y cuantitativo sobre la base de modelos téoricos sobre el derecho de participación propuestos por Imms etal, (2015, 2016) y de Lundy (2007).
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In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, 107 countries had implemented national school closures by March 18, 2020. It is unknown whether school measures are effective in coronavirus outbreaks (eg, due to severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS], Middle East respiratory syndrome, or COVID-19). We undertook a systematic review by searching three electronic databases to identify what is known about the effectiveness of school closures and other school social distancing practices during coronavirus outbreaks. We included 16 of 616 identified articles. School closures were deployed rapidly across mainland China and Hong Kong for COVID-19. However, there are no data on the relative contribution of school closures to transmission control. Data from the SARS outbreak in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore suggest that school closures did not contribute to the control of the epidemic. Modelling studies of SARS produced conflicting results. Recent modelling studies of COVID-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2-4% of deaths, much less than other social distancing interventions. Policy makers need to be aware of the equivocal evidence when considering school closures for COVID-19, and that combinations of social distancing measures should be considered. Other less disruptive social distancing interventions in schools require further consideration if restrictive social distancing policies are implemented for long periods.
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Parents managing their home environments during government-ordered stay-at-home periods are likely to need new skills for occupying their children’s time with activities that promote health and emotional well-being. Moreover, parents and children know they need help managing these circumstances. Perhaps for the first time, behavior analysts hold the reinforcers for increasing parental involvement in effective child-rearing practices. In fact, behavior analysts can help parents enlist their children in managing the household by framing their behavior in terms of hidden superpowers. In the current article, we argue that behavior analysts have a range of tools to offer that are grounded in evidence-based principles, strategies, and kernels—or essential units of behavioral influence. When combined into scheduled daily practices and invoked by children taught to see their use of the tools as nothing short of heroic, these practices function as “vaccinations” that inoculate families against toxic and unsafe behaviors.
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Family violence refers to threatening or other violent behaviour within families that may be physical, sexual, psychological, or economic, and can include child abuse and intimate partner violence (Peterman et al. 2020, van Gelder et al. 2020). Family violence during pandemics is associated with a range of factors including economic stress, disaster‐related instability, increased exposure to exploitative relationships, and reduced options for support (Peterman et al. 2020). Due to the social isolation measures implemented across the globe to help reduce the spread of COVID‐19, people living in volatile situations of family violence are restricted to their homes. Social isolation exacerbates personal and collective vulnerabilities while limiting accessible and familiar support options (van Gelder et al. 2020). In many countries, including Australia, we have already seen an increase in demand for domestic violence services and reports of increased risk for children not attending schools (Duncan, 2020); a pattern similar to previous episodes of social isolation associated with epidemics and pandemics (Boddy, Young & O'Leary 2020).
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In early 2020, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) leading to a potentially fatal condition was discovered. Since then, the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread worldwide becoming a pandemic. Beyond the risks strictly related to the infection, concerns have been expressed for the psychological impact that COVID-19 may have, especially on vulnerable individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions. Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is characterized by a dysfunctional preoccupation with physical symptoms leading to excessive and unnecessary healthcare utilization. Despite being quite common, such condition remains underrecognized. We report a detailed clinical case of a 16 years old adolescent, who presented with a history suggestive of COVID-19 infection and associated psychological distress. Despite testing negative for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, his extreme and persisting health preoccupations required an inpatient admission to the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatric Unit. He responded rapidly to a low dose of antipsychotic and an antidepressant. Based on his medical history and current presentation, he received a diagnosis of SSD. When COVID-19-like symptoms occur, we highlight the importance of differentially diagnosing a possible exacerbation of a pre-existing SSD, triggered by fear of being infected. This may help preventing further burden to the healthcare system.
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We report an asymptomatic child who was positive for a coronavirus by reverse transcription PCR in a stool specimen 17 days after the last virus exposure. The child was virus positive in stool specimens for at least an additional 9 days. Respiratory tract specimens were negative by reverse transcription PCR. © 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All rights reserved.
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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was firstly reported at the end of 2019. The disease rapidly spread all around the world in a few months and was declared a worldwide pandemic by WHO in March 2020. By April 9, there were 1 436 198 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, nearly with 6% mortality rate. This novel infectious disease causes respiratory tract illness that may generally occur as mild upper respiratory tract disease or pneumonia. In older patients and/or patients with underlying conditions, it may result in acute respiratory distress syndrome, multi organ failure and even death. According to the current literature, children account approximately for 1%-5% of diagnosed COVID-19 cases. Generally, COVID-19 seems to be a less severe disease for children than adults. Approximately 90% of pediatric patients are diagnosed as asymptomatic, mild, or moderate disease. However, up to 6.7% of cases may be severe. Severe illness is generally seen in patients smaller than 1 year of age and patients who have underlying disesases. The epidemiological and clinical patterns of COVID-19 and treatment approaches in pediatric patients still remain unclear although many pediatric reports are published. This review aims to summarize the current epidemics, clinical presentations, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19 in pediatric patients.