Covid-19 research: Long-term impacts of Covid-19

The effects of the pandemic and the extended lockdown period have been felt by children and families all over Victoria. Mental health impacts suffered by our community will have long-term effects, outlasting the end of the pandemic. At Murdoch Children's and the campus, work is focusing on understanding the impacts and needs of children and families during this time.

Led by Professor Sharon Goldfeld, Professor Vicki Anderson, and Professor Margie Danchin, this work aims to describe the current situation and suggest ways forward. The physical effects of COVID-19 on our children are also being investigated, using existing historical data from family cohorts. This work is being led by Professor David Burgner and Professor Kirsten Perrett who are investigating the long-term cardiometabolic and immune effects of COVID-19 on these cohorts. There are also a variety of indirect effects of this pandemic, including the consequences of health inequities such as accessing services, which are being closely monitored by an extensive program of work at MCRI.


Long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: understanding and addressing the effects on our kids.

In this seminar we heard from Prof Vicki Anderson, Dr Neil Coventry (Chief Psychiatrist for Victoria) and Dr Meredith O'Connor who described the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our kids, specifically as they relate to mental health, drawing on both international and local evidence. This was followed by a panellist discussion and Q&A. In addition to the presenters, panellists included Professor Margie Danchin and Prof Frank Oberklaid, who discussed the long-term social impacts of the pandemic, including the impact on schools and the stigma associated with COVID-19.


LifeCourse COVID-19 response

Australia’s public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 have been spectacularly successful in comparison to other countries. But they have not come without additional burdens. Researchers are collaborating and conducting qualitative longitudinal studies using existing cohorts involved in the LifeCourse program, to evaluate the impact of the pandemic on the physical and mental wellbeing, risk of family violence and substance abuse and financial stability of children and their families in the community at large in Victoria. This research will help to inform future policy responses in response to the impacts of the pandemic on Victorians.

Wellbeing and the clinical, psychosocial and economic impacts of COVID-19

Professor Margie Danchin is investigating the immediate and long-term impact on the health and wellbeing of children and families tested for COVID-19 at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). This includes describing how experiences at the hospital during COVID-19, such as interactions with staff in full personal protective equipment, has affected the families. The team is also examining the effects of public health prevention measures and financial impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of RCH families. The study also aims to understand how families have interpreted and adhered to public health prevention measures, their knowledge of COVID-19, and their trust in the government during this time.

Mental health resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic

Professors Vicki Anderson and Harriet Hiscock are undertaking in-depth mental health research to understand the impact of COVID-19, subsequent recovery processes and factors that confer resilience on Victoria’s most vulnerable children and their families. Groups include children with chronic illnesses, existing mental health conditions, disabilities, intellectual disability and refugee children.

Understanding the legacy of COVID-19 infection

Many of the long-term effects of COVID-19 in children remain unknown, due to the novelty of this virus. Professor David Burgner and Professor Kirsten Perrett are leading a study investigating the legacy of COVID-19 infection and aim to understand whether some children are more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to differences in their immune system and how long immunity to COVID-19 lasts in children. By leveraging existing population-based cohorts at Murdoch Children's, they can compare their date to historical data and biological samples that were collected from these participants previously.

Associated resources

Associated campus papers

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