Averting a lost COVID Generation

A six-point plan to respond, recover and reimagine a post-pandemic world for every child

Girls in school


After almost one year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, killing over 1 million people and putting futures into doubt, the impact of the virus on the world’s children and young people is becoming clearer – and increasingly alarming. Children face a trifecta of threats: direct consequences of the disease itself, interruption in essential services and increasing poverty and inequality.

Despite being less affected than any other age group, emerging data suggest that children and young people’s health may be more directly impacted by COVID-19 than originally anticipated when the crisis began in late 2019. New UNICEF analysis from 87 countries with age disaggregated data shows that as of November 2020, children and adolescents account for 11 per cent of reported COVID-19 infections in those countries.1 Disruptions to essential services such as education, health care, nutrition and child protection interventions are harming children. A severe global economic recession is impoverishing children and compounding deep pre-existing inequalities and exclusion, as the most disadvantaged households struggle to cope with the damaging fallout from the loss of jobs, livelihoods, incomes, mobility, learning, health and access to services.