Just as there are multiple channels through which the Covid 19 pandemic is affecting children. So there are multiple dimensions to its impact on the young. The effects could be grouped into four parts, which is; falling into poverty, drop of learning ability, survival and health and safety. While it is too soon to quantify the ultimate size of these effects and decisions by policy-makers. They will play a critical role in determining their scale it is possible to present some initial estimates and reference points.
The physical distancing and lockdown measures during Covid 19
The physical distancing and lockdown measures needed to save lives and suppress the transmission of the virus. It resulted in a significant reduction of economic activity across all major economies and the resultant global recession. The severity of the recession remains to be seen but the socioeconomic impacts were laid out in detail in the policy brief on it’s impact. Estimates by the IMF anticipate global income contracting by 3 percent in 2020. Under the assumption that the pandemic recedes in the second half of this year. An already grave situation could easily become much worse if capital outflows from emerging and developing economies trigger as a cascade of disorderly sovereign defaults.
At a household level, the collapse in income threatens it’s livelihoods of millions of households with children around the world. Inputting the forecasts from the IMF optimistic scenario into an IFPRI poverty model indicates an increase in extreme poverty (PPP $1.90 a day). This year of 84 to 132 million people, approximately half of whom are children, compared to a pre pandemic counterfactual scenario.
A global downturn during Covid 19
These initial estimates capture only the effects of a global downturn on poor households. It ignored the localized effects of household breadwinners being forced to shelter in place. It resulted migrate back to their rural homes, abandoning their nor-mal livelihoods. Financial diaries from 60 low-in-come households in the Hrishipara neighborhood in central Bangladesh. And it capture the sudden collapse of daily incomes when lockdown measures are introduced like see in the figure above. Historically, the burden of such shocks on households have disproportionately been borne by girls.
Such income shocks at the household level, even if only temporary, can have devastating effects on children, particularly those living in poor households with limited assets.
In many countries, we have seen rapid expansions of social assistance programs to compensate households for lost income during this covid 19 pandemic. As of 10 April 2020, 126 countries had introduced or adapted social protection measures. Which 83 provide explicit support for children and their families. However, the coverage of affected families, and of forgone income is far from complete. The duration of today’s lockdowns remains unclear. As is the likelihood of lockdowns being reintroduced in response to future outbreaks of COVID-19.