Edited by Shoba Suri

Although children are not the face of this pandemic, they are still at risk due to the socio-economic fallout from the COVID crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic will have a lifelong impact on children through indirect effects, including poor diet and impact on mental health due to social isolation, closure of schools and stress on healthcare facilities.

COVID-19 has had a diverse impact on nutrition with disrupted food supply chains and consequential gaps in health and nutrition services. But these adverse effects are not distributed equally; they are most damaging for disadvantaged and poorer communities. The pandemic has pushed 150 million additional children into multidimensional poverty—without access to education, healthcare, housing, nutrition, sanitation, or water. Further, schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed, and with the widening divide between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, many children are unable to access remote learning. The combined impact on nutrition has been manifold. An additional 370 million children have missed out on nutritious meals due to closure of schools. Simultaneously, there has been a rise in obesity with less physical activity, poor diets, and disturbed schedules. The pandemic has also left millions of children without routine vaccines.

The COVID surge and the subsequent lockdowns have exposed children to a greater risk of violence while being cutting off from the vital support services required for a healthy growth. While children are the main reservoir for seasonal coronaviruses causing common cold/flu, which likely gives them some immunity against SARS-CoV-2; they are still not completely safe from the effects of COVID-19. Although lesser children are getting infected with the virus, some with underlying conditions—those who are immunocompromised (malnourished children), and those with diabetes, genetic disorders and obesity—can have severe illness. Even though children are not super-spreaders, but with emerging variants and adults vaccinated, children getting vaccinated could be beneficial to achieve herd immunity.

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The disastrous impact of the pandemic on the child immunisation programme in India

Efforts to resume and make up for the setback in mass immunisation for preventable childhood diseases must be ramped up

The Scourge of the Pandemic on Children in South Asia

South Asia has had dismal indicators for the development of children, the pandemic has only exacerbated these problems while negating most progress made up until now

Re-opening educational institutions in India: Opportunities and obstacles

Reopening of schools in India must not follow a one-size-fits-all model but should be based on context

Protection of children during the COVID-19 pandemic: Consequences and necessary measures

The pandemic has exacerbated the income and digital divide in Brazil, particularly amongst the children and youth demographic

The impact of COVID-19 on children in Georgia

Children in Georgia have so far remained protected from the direct consequences of the pandemic, but the indirect impact is yet to be fully assessed

Slovenian children as pawns in the pandemic powerplay

As the government flip flops between opening and closing schools, children are suffering from the confusion in policy directives

Children in Latin America and the Carribean during the pandemic—setbacks and outcomes

COVID-19 has undone much of the progress made by the LAC countries in its education sector

Singapore’s school management policy during COVID-19

Singapore’s predominantly state-based school system and agile policymaking ensure minimal impact of the pandemic on its children

The pandemic and its effect on children in the Seychelles

The Seychelles has taken proactive legislative steps to ensure that the pandemic’s impact on children is reduced