The Immediate and Lasting Impacts of COVID-19 on Children

COVID-19 has unique implications for child populations regarding physical health, mental development, and social well-being. Although evidence indicates that children are less susceptible to the more severe physical symptoms of COVID-19 that are reported in adults, emerging evidence points to new short- and long-term impacts that will affect children’s health long after the pandemic is adequately controlled. The CDC has identified an alarming emergence of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) cases — a potentially deadly condition that is more prevalent among children who have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. In addition to the direct effects of the virus, there have also been calls to recognize the impacts of social distancing measures on the long-term physical and mental health of children, including drops in vaccination levels and delayed critical well-child visits. Children are at risk of toxic stress, as well as other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) during the COVID-19 outbreak that carry downstream implications for sustained mental health. Furthermore, the controversy surrounding schools reopening in the fall has generated elevated concern about ensuring that children, as well as their teachers and other school support staff, will be able to stay safe in the classroom and protected against COVID-19 transmission. This webinar addressed the specific impacts posed by COVID-19 to children in the short- and long-term and provide policy options that may support children’s physical and mental health.


  • Tamera Coyne-Beasley, past president Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, Derrol Dawkins, MD Endowed Chair in Adolescent Medicine, Children’s of Alabama, University of Alabama Birmingham
  • Gary Blau, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Hackett Center for Mental Health, a Regional Center for Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
  • David Rubin, M.D., MSCE, Director of PolicyLab, Director of Population Health, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Wendy L. Price, Psy.D., NCSP, President, National Association of School Psychologists
This briefing was made possible with support from the Children’s Hospital Association.