Visual description of what lockdowns have done to the emotional and educational wellbeing of children. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Now that the economic and social shutdown rationalized by the pandemic is slowly fading away, we need to stay focused on the damages caused by intentional policies.

I have been citing a lot of coverage from the Wall Street Journal, but I am seeing the same issues covered by multiple other news outlets and a host of commentators.  There is massively more coverage of the devastation caused by the shutdown than I could possibly take time to write about.

Here is merely a tiny sample of recent reports. Today’s post describes:

  • Destructive and death-causing policies continued even after evidence emerged that policies were causing harm. Liberty has been shredded.  Financial damage is widespread.
  • Educational, psychological, and social damage to children has been severe. It will take a horribly long time for kids to recover.

Monday’s post will discuss:

  • Severe damage has been caused, only in part but a big part, by the inability to comprehend there are tradeoffs in every decision that has ever been made, especially in terms of addressing the pandemic.  As another wag, whom I will not cite, pointed out: there are no solutions, only tradeoffs.
  • Yet another research analysis shows lockdowns had minimal impact on death rates yet caused extensive unemployment.

3/11/21 – Wall Street Journal – Lessons of the Long Covid Year / Lockdowns made the pandemic suffering far worse than necessary

Article provides a high-level survey the early stages of the pandemic in which the Chinese government, World Health Organization, American media, Republican president, Democratic opposition, and US public health sector all dropped the ball.

There is plenty of blame to go around for how each and every one of those parties made things far worse than it needed to be.

When indications emerged that the risks were concentrated on the elderly and that available treatment options were effective, there was no change in policy.

The lockdowns continued even though indications emerged they were causing more harm than good.

Actually, it became an ideological battle between those who wanted government to have more power versus those who value freedom and liberty. Or, between those who put their faith in scientific hypotheses versus those who wanted some scientific evidence to support decision making.

Editorial points out government policies have resulted in “the greatest loss of American liberty outside wartime.” Churches and other places of worship or arbitrarily closed. Favorite businesses are allowed to continue operation and unfit for businesses were shuttered. Massive power flowed to the government.

Economic damage is severe: federal spending and deficits are levels unseen since the middle of World War II.  As an aside will probably see significant inflation along with the article’s prediction of significant taxes.

Editorial closes with:

“Will be paying for the lockdown excesses for generations.”

Generations, plural. My grandchildren and their children will suffer as adults because of the abuses during the lockdown.

4/9/21 – Wall Street Journal – Loneliness, Anxiety and Loss: the Covid Pandemic’s Terrible Toll on Kids – Before citing statistics and wondered about the long-term damage to an entire generation of youth, the article goes deep describing the struggles of one specific 13-year-old girl. She slipped from an A/B student to failing several classes. Death of her grandfather in Argentina before the holidays led her mother to spend six weeks there to care for grandma. Her dad was so grief stricken he withdrew inside himself. Christmas had none of the usual routines – no big meals, no piles of presents. After several more months her grades slipped further.

My ongoing question: Why have we done this to an entire generation of youth? Having known this damage was taking place for the last, oh, eight or 10 months, why did educators, politicians, and the public health sector willfully allow this to continue?

Issues children faced and still face include social isolation, destruction of routines, increased anxiety, school closures, remote learning then opening up then back to remote learning, hybrid learning where teachers give half their attention to in-class students and half attention to online, parent’s job losses, and family financial turmoil.

Article says the more traumas kids experience the greater the compound effect.

Researchers at Harvard found about two-thirds of kids they been following are showing “clinically significant symptoms” of depression and anxiety and about the same proportion have behavior issues. That is an acceleration to about 66% compared to pre-pandemic rates of 30% for depression and anxiety and only 20% for behavioral problems.

Another survey found the biggest factor for how kids are doing is how well the parents are doing. Parental stress, anxiety, income stress, job losses (all driven through the roof because of the pandemic and government imposed economic shutdown) naturally carry over to the children.

The children’s hospital conducting that survey reports a 14% increase of visits to their psychiatric department. Cited emergencies include psychosis, aggression, and suicidal ideation. That is a one- seventh increase in severe psychological emergencies.

Three paragraphs explain a concept called Adverse Childhood Experiences. These are major issues in life, such as substance abuse, neglect, or mental illness in the lives of those around them. Distressing thing for me to read is this can change how the brain processes events later in life. Increased number of ACE events a child experiences is associated with increased health problems for them later on, to include substance abuse, heart disease, and depression.

Article then cites more research reports, statistics, and multiple specific individuals who illustrate the devastation visiting young people over the last year.

The last 32 paragraphs the article are too depressing to pull out anymore illustrations.

Again, why has our leadership done this to our kids? Why did we let them?


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