Children’s health and development has been severely harmed by COVID-19 policies such as mask mandates, school closures, and lockdowns. This has been intuitively known for a long time, and parents and teachers have been ringing the alarm bell. Now we also have scientific data which clearly shows the harms to children’s health that have occurred over the last couple years. Here are some metrics for you to consider.
CDC Reports on Child Emergency Room Visits and Child Mental Health
The CDC recently released two interesting reports about children’s health over the course of the pandemic:
- Pediatric Emergency Department Visits Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, January 2019–January 2022
- Pediatric Emergency Department Visits Associated with Mental Health Conditions Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, January 2019–January 2022
Although the total number of ER visits for children dropped during the pandemic, it is really important to note that there were increases in ER visits related to mental health problems and self-harm. Here is a snapshot from the CDC report:
Here is a summary of the data from the CDC reports:
- Child ER visits for mental health problems were significantly increased in 2020 and 2021, as compared to 2019.
- Children are suffering increased levels of:
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Psychosocial problems
- Eating disorders
- Drug poisoning
- In children ages 0-4yo, the main increases were in ER visits for psychosocial problems (increased by 38-55 visits per week) and neurodevelopmental disorders (increased by 18-45 visits per week).
- In children ages 5-11yo, the main increases were in psychosocial problems (increased by 38-55 visits per week), self-harm (increased by 6 visits per week), and drug poisoning (increased by 7 visits per week).
- Adolescents 12-17yo have suffered the greatest increases in mental health problems.
- Self-harm increased by 30 visits per week during 2020, 210 visits per week during 2021, and 207 visits per week during January 2022.
- Drug poisonings increased by 12 visits per week during 2020, 171 visits per week during 2021, and 178 visits per week during January 2022.
- Eating disorders increased by nine visits per week during 2020, 41 visits per week during 2021, and 38 visits per week during January 2022
- Psychosocial problems increased by 78 visits per week during 2021 and 62 visits per week during January 2022.
- Mental health conditions (depression, eating disorders, OCD, anxiety, etc) and substance use increased by 113 visits per week during 2021 and 197 visits per week during January 2022.
COVID Mandates Have Led to Double-Digit Drops in Reading Benchmarks in Schools
A recent study in Virginia has found that reading benchmarks in children from kindergarten through second grade have fallen by over 13% over 2019. “The effects were particularly harmful for black and Hispanic students, as well as children who are disabled, low-income, or not fluent in English.”
You can read more about this here:
- Schools Watch Key Learning Outcomes Worsen By Double Digits In Just Two Years
- COVID contributes to alarming decline in child literacy
This is also in-line with what I’ve heard from hundreds of NM teachers and school personnel. They have reported that masks directly impede the learning of crucial skills such as reading and mathematics, have serious negative effects on children’s emotional and developmental health, and interfere with children’s ability to learn communication and facial expressions.
Psychiatrist Bans Child-Masking as a Form of Child Abuse
The negative health impacts of masks on children are so apparent that one psychiatrist has banned child-masking (as a form of child abuse) in his practice.
Clinical psychiatrist Dr Mark McDonald MD went on to say that, “Physicians are mandated reporters. When we witness or suspect child abuse, we are obligated both ethically and legally to report it to social services or the police. If a child shows up for therapy or medication treatment covered with cigarette burns, a doctor cannot ignore it. Masks are no different. They may not leave physical scars (although they often result in painful skin infections that can lead to permanent facial disfigurement), but they do cause significant and possibly permanent damage to a child’s brain, retarding speech and language development, crippling social skills, and inciting a vicious cycle of emotional dysregulation leading to major depression, self-harm, and substance abuse.”
You can read more about this here:
We Have to Prevent This from Happening Again
It is clear that the last two years have been detrimental to children’s mental, emotional, and educational health. Even though school COVID-19 policies such as mask mandates are being dropped in most states right now, we need to ensure that this does not happen again in the future. We need to push for permanent bans against mask mandates and other harmful policies.————————————————-
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