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Covid 19 Cycle

Learn more about Covid 19 cycle and the stages of action for COVID-19 in Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic is a dynamic situation, as illustrated in the diagram above. The cycle describes different stages of the public health approach to COVID-19 and applies to children at all ages and at all stages of development.

Stages of Action for COVID-19 in Communities

The stages include:

  1. Preparedness: At this stage, governments and communities are aware of the disease and set up policies and systems to guide response and recovery. National and local preparedness activities can take place before an outbreak as well as after an outbreak (in preparation for a second outbreak).
  2. Response: At this stage, a country has new COVID-19 cases. Measures will be tailored to the context and includes both:
    • Containment—such as isolating individuals or restricting contact according to suspected or known interaction with the disease)
    • Control and mitigation—population control measures at the societal level that are determined and monitored by governments (such as restricting movement, closing schools, shops, restaurants, services, etc.)
  3. Transition and recovery: As infection rates fall, communities begin to open up again as reflected by the gradual lessening of public health measures. The disease defines the movement, so each context looks different.

Pie chart in 3 colors listing the 3 phases of the COVID-19 Cycle: Preparedness, Response, Transition and Recovery

Cycling Between the COVID-19 Phases

Because the COVID-19 stages are dynamic, outbreaks will not necessarily stay in the recovery stage. In many communities, the virus will begin to spread again. All actors will move back to the response stage—with a renewed scale-up of containment, control and mitigation measures—and then again to recovery and preparedness. Many contexts have already experienced these shifts between phases, proving the need for constant monitoring and agile and adaptive approaches.

Preparedness and Response Implications for Children

COVID-19 continues to rapidly change the context in which children live. Some preparedness and response measures implemented by authorities to prevent and control the spread of infection—such as home containment, closures of schools and other social services, and restrictions on movement—disrupt children’s routines and social support while also placing new stressors on parents, caregivers, and families.

The impacts of public health measures on individuals, families, and communities include new and increased incidence of stigma, discrimination, gender inequality, overcrowding, lost livelihoods, and poverty across various settings. These are exacerbated by the lack of protection support and make children more vulnerable to psychosocial distress and maltreatment, including violence, abuse, and exploitation.

Though it is difficult to know the specific long-term implications and impacts of COVID-19 on children, families and communities, it is clear that the progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (UN 2020) will be disrupted. Transition and Recovery Implications for Children.

As containment measures are relaxed and mobility and community interactions are restored, new challenges present themselves, and the child protection measures and approaches also shift. This is experienced differently in varying contexts as children and families move from ‘response’ to ‘transition and recovery.

Looking Ahead

Governments, communities, families, and children across all contexts are confronting the uncertainty, anxiety and long-term impact of the global health crisis. When the spread of the virus begins to slow down and the number of cases decreases, certain questions should be considered, for example:

  • Will the removal of restrictions on movement result in COVID-19 levels increasing again?
  • When is it safe for children to start attending school or re-entering childcare?
  • How can communities, families and governments prepare for possible re-emergence of COVID-19 or for future outbreaks?
  • How will the needs of children at all stages of development change, and what implications will this have for child protection service delivery?

In order for child protection efforts to be successful, there is a need to anticipate and respond to these types of questions and to consider the longer-term effects of the pandemic.

Your Task

Can you identify where in the cycle your context is? How do you see the stage of the cycle changing in the months ahead?

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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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