Grandfather and granddaughters Credit: Todd Heisler / The New York Times

This is not what Ida Adams thought life would be like at 62.

She had planned to continue working as a housekeeper at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore until she turned 65. After retiring, she and her husband, Andre, also 62, thought they might travel a little — “get up and go whenever we felt like it.”

She didn’t expect to be hustling a seventh-grader off to school each weekday. But in January 2021, Ms. Adams’s daughter, Kimya Lomax, died of Covid-19 at 43 after three weeks alone in a hospital with no visitors permitted. She left behind a young daughter.

Suddenly the girl, Kimiya, now 13, was accompanying her grandmother to a funeral home to help select a white coffin. “I wanted her to have a say in her mother’s homegoing,” Ms. Adams said.

In December, a coalition called the Covid Collaborative estimated that about 167,000 American children like Kimiya had lost a parent or primary caregiver to the pandemic, with much higher rates among communities of color. More recently, 

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