Covid-19 Lockdown and Infant Mortality: Evidence from India.
Shatakshee DhongdeGeorgia Institute of Technology
This is the first study to examine the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the infant mortality rate. India issued a national mandatory lockdown in 2020 to curb the growing number of Covid-19 infections. Using data from the National Family Health Survey of India 2019-2021 and the Oxford Stringency Index, we documented unintended adverse consequences of the strict lockdown on infant mortality rate through intermediate mechanism channels of reduced maternal health facility utilization, decreased rate of institutional/health-facility based deliveries, lower likelihood of antenatal visits and delayed timing of child vaccination. Our estimation shows that the COVID-19 lockdown (between April and September 2020) increased the infant mortality rate by 37 percent (compared to pre-COVID-19 rate of 3 per 100 live births), equivalent to about a quarter of all Covid-19 deaths in India up to 2022.
(Joint with Erdal Asker, and Abu Shonchoy)