Unborn Tomorrow: Pandemic and Its Impact on the Next Generation
- Author Seoni Han
We are in the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths still soaring to staggering heights. For two years, societies have taken containment measures to curb the spread of the disease. The responses to the disease caused a sudden and deep economic contraction around the world. The research on the 1918 Spanish flu shows that the pandemic had unequal impacts on different social groups, and the damage caused by the pandemic can be long-lived. One way that the pandemic’s legacy is transferred to the next generation is prenatal exposure to the pandemic through maternal stress and malnutrition. Fetal adversity has significant negative impacts on health status at birth which is predictive of adult health and socio-economic outcomes. As the economic recovery is delayed and food insecurity is on the rise, human capital development of the next generation will be disrupted in developing countries. In the long run, the social and economic consequences of the pandemic will be disproportionately detrimental to people living in poverty or in vulnerable situations. In this regard, the current pandemic may lead to perpetuation of inequality for the next generation. Paramount is preventing wide divergence across different social groups not only in the concurrent generation but also in the next generation.
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