Coronavirus / Government Watch / Health & Wellness

America’s Children Continue to Suffer Fallout from Pandemic Lockdowns

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

More than two years removed from the first pandemic lockdowns, the devastating effect of prolonged social isolation on children in the United States and throughout the world is only becoming clearer. As studies and data continue to show, school closures and a sudden loss of contact with friends and peers not only led to dramatic learning loss, but also a persistent shadow pandemic of depression and anxiety among young people that has continued to this day. Many Americans are now asking what could have been done differently to avert this burgeoning mental health crisis and calling for accountability from those responsible for prolonging the lockdowns and closures.

According to a new report from CBS News released earlier this month, “In 2022, fifteen percent of kids ages 12 to 17 reported experiencing at least one major depressive episode.” That figure represents an increase of 306,000 cases from 2021, a trend line that is troubling health experts. One family therapy center in Florida told CBS that before the pandemic, they were treating around 70 children per week. Now, that number has more than doubled to 185.

Tragically, this rise in mental health conditions for American youth has also coincided with a sharp uptick in suicide and suicide attempts. According to one study of 14 states published earlier this year, the pandemic saw a marked increase in the proportion of adolescent suicides relative to suicides by people of all ages – even as youth suicide had already seen sharp increases before the pandemic. The CDC has also found that one in five American teenagers say they have contemplated suicide, while four in ten say they feel “persistently sad or hopeless.”  

While there are likely a number of factors contributing to this spike in suicide and mental health disorders, experts have specifically pointed to a relationship between excessive screen time – a problem that has existed for years but was drastically worsened during the pandemic – and health deterioration. Perhaps unsurprisingly, multiple studies have shown that extended screen time is directly correlated to obesity in young people, and that obesity often leads to other serious mental and physical health issues. Additionally, extended use of social media has been directly linked to an uptick in depression and suicide attempts in young people – disproportionately young girls.

Despite acknowledging these risks, in April of 2020, the Office of Global Insight and Policy for UNICEF – the United Nations organization dedicated to helping children – actually encouraged parents to let their children play more video games and use more social media. Their rationale was that it would keep kids connected with friends throughout the quarantine and make feelings of isolation easier during the lockdown. They encouraged parents to “revisit” beliefs about the dangers of too much screen time, dismissing such concerns as “fear of the unknown.”

Notably, these assurances came with no corroborating data that suggested digital human connection was an adequate substitute for real-world human connection.

A year later, however, UNICEF released an updated report that explicitly contradicted their earlier assertions. The new findings said that “social isolation and loneliness during lockdowns contributed to a range of outcomes including depression, irritability, anxiety, stress, alcohol use, and sedentary behaviours.” Unsurprisingly, they also found that “children and adolescents who spent more time on physical activities and maintaining routines were better protected from depressive symptoms.”

Prolonged school closures are another major factor that is likely contributing to the spike in mental health issues for young people. As former President Trump repeatedly warned when schools began shutting down in 2020, “the cure cannot be worse than the disease” – predicting that the dangers to adolescents of school closures would be far greater than the danger posed to students by COVID-19.

Yet liberal governments and America’s health establishment – led by Dr. Anthony Fauci – were tireless advocates for school closures from the earliest days of the pandemic. Many schools in blue states like California and New York remained closed through all of 2021 – even as vaccines became widely available.

The American people learned the truth only after the worst of the school lockdown measures were rescinded. According to researchers from Harvard University, even schools that only shut down for the spring of 2020 saw 7 to 10 weeks’ worth of learning loss. By November 2021, researchers from several top universities and pediatric hospitals had linked school closures to “a rise in pediatric emergency room visits for mental health and substance use issues.” In June of this year, the World Health Organization finally admitted that COVID-related school closures have had a “deep impact” on the “global mental health crisis” in young people.

While millions of American families are already witnessing the tragic effects of this crisis, the full scope of it likely won’t be seen for years, if not decades. An entire generation of young people had their lives turned upside down and their development stunted, all for a virus that posed little to no threat to them. Republicans have already promised to launch full investigations of figures like Dr. Fauci should the GOP retake Congress this fall, demanding answers for what U.S. health leaders knew about the potential negative downstream effects of long-term lockdowns and closures.

For people affected by this crisis, however, punishing those responsible will only be of so much comfort. To protect future generations, America’s leaders should establish safeguards to ensure that such draconian measures are never again allowed to wreak havoc on the health and wellbeing of the country’s most vulnerable and valuable treasures – our children.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.


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Stephen Russell
3 months ago

NO More lockdowns OK end this
Prosecute Fauci

ArmyVet
3 months ago

Most lockdowns were ordered by Republican – in my state Trump backed Republican – governors. Dr. Fauci had zero authority to force any governor to lockdown their state. Our children are just as hurt in Republican states and it’s no ones fault. Stop with this partisan crap. Our Republic is burning while you and yours continue these lies. Lies = burning flags x 1,000,000.

Jon Donson
3 months ago
Reply to  ArmyVet

You’re just wrong. You accuse people of lying and being partisan but you should look at yourself in the mirror. The statistics are everywhere. You saying that blue states didn’t overwhelmingly lock down is akin to leftists spewing the lie that Dems didn’t support defund police. Spewing a lie over and over doesn’t make it true my friend.

Jeanette
3 months ago

Our government with “Dr” Fauci and the National Teachers Union have hurt these children; with many who are harmed for some time to come. I still stand by my opinion that the release of Covid was specifically intended to reduce the population of the world. Further…China’s leaders are never to be trusted.

ArmyVet
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeanette

I’m an old Republican who witnessed the party and it’s elected officials wholeheartedly support globalization and unfettered free trade. In fact you still hate all unions b/c of the Republican party and their support of free trade. You want to blame China? Blame the GOP. The Republican party gave them the keys to our nation and handed them all of our ideas.

Bruce P
3 months ago

A Full investigation into the handling of Covid should be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what needs to be really investigated, going back several years. The democrats have about 7-8 years at least of grevious crimes that have gone unanswered for. Immoral, unethical, unpatriotic crooks that have blocked all serious investigations into their crimes.

Eileen
3 months ago

In 1985 a fire caused me to become isolated from society and I was given only 6 months to live. It is amazing what happens when you press into God and make Him your center and not social interaction. Isolation turns into solitude. The mental health issues cannot all be blamed on the pandemic, but on the structure of our spiritual reliance for our souls. If it is not on the rock of our salvation, it is on faulty ground. Testimonies of POW’s who relied on God to get them through isolation and tribulation is a testament to God’s sustaining power. Godly fellowship does not look like what we think. Being in home schooling for years we see families thrive and their children, in spite of their remote locations and lack of so called socialization. Their children learn self reliance and not social dependency, reliance on God not on man. Godly fellowship promote the ability to be social in ways that promote common sense society and the preservation of a family, social systems and a nation, not social Marxism. Being schooled in the 50’s and 60’s even then, looking back I could see the decline in education. It was told that after America help win WWII, some nations realized the only way to bring America down was to destroy her from within. Even after WWI, some of those nations realized it had to first come through the educational system, so they started to change our educational system in the 30’s, slowly by a thousand cuts. You see the results today, it worked.

ArmyVet
3 months ago
Reply to  Eileen

As a deeply spiritual person, your comments resonated with me until you got to the “social Marxism” comment. Never let a partisan talking point interfere with your true understanding. You were given free will and compelled to always listen to the heart God gave you. Never believe anyone who tells you otherwise. Then you would realize that Jesus was a socialist. He and his disciples lived in a commune who shared their possessions and food and his Word was one of love.

Eileen
3 months ago
Reply to  ArmyVet

“Jesus was a socialist” is a political statement, so you contradict your own statement

Patricia A Arsenault
3 months ago

We owe it to our next generation(s)…but for heaven’s sake, without all this spending it will leave them in much-accrued debt!!!

Celticwoman
3 months ago

Why they used the numbers from Florida I have no clue. Florida did not lock down like other states, their children were back in school quickly and mask mandates were limited if at all. The real numbers should come from states where contact with others was not only not permitted it was considered illegal and people were being arrested for being the only family in a park.

My grandchildren in Texas were back in school full time in September of 2020, sadly with COVID protocols but the school year starting in 2021 they were back in school with no COVID protocols and mask wearing was optional and basically the parents’ preference. How many other states can say this? Not many, but Florida was even better than Texas. In some states the teacher’s unions are still trying to keep the schools closed and the children masked. Those are the states I want to see the numbers from. That’s where we’re going to see the true devastation heaped upon our innocent children.

It was always strange to me that during H1N1 in 2008 when our children really did seem to be in the crosshairs of the disease, we didn’t even think of closing the schools for longer than a few days if necessary to disinfect the schools. And then only when cases were many in number and then only that school. There’s no way I can be convinced that this all hasn’t been political and our children used as pawns. If the Left can’t destroy our children before they’re born they’re sure going to turn themselves inside out trying to do it after. The Left hates children and the sooner parents figure that out and stand up to them the better for our children and our Country.

Bruce P
3 months ago
Reply to  Celticwoman

They target the things and people that will incite the most outrage. Children, teachers, police, firemen, military, veterans, etc. Always first in budget cuts. They make great political pawns.

ArmyVet
3 months ago
Reply to  Bruce P

You are absolutely right. Look at how they go after our daughters’ free will, teacher’s unions’ right to gather, Capitol police lives on January 6th, veterans’ health coverage for burnpits. Constant onslaught of hatred and greed.

Tim Toroian
3 months ago

They will forever, it will be virtually impossible to recoup that which has been lost. Smith below gets it. Monkey Pox won’ be treated as it should be because it is sexually transmitted, by men. I wonder if they will make a law that doctors or health departments won’t be able to tell partners their mate has it. They could be told about every other rinky STD except about the worst and most deadly one.

Barrett Smith
3 months ago

And now comes Monkey Pox.

Phyl
3 months ago

I’ve read where the government may try something again to shut down the economy and schools. If they do, we, the people, should tell them no. We can stop this tyrannical government, but it will take willing people to say NO.

Rik
3 months ago

And soon you can add the fallout of entire families as the “Lyin” Biden economic recession BECOMES an economic depression due to loss of jobs, less income, repossessed cars and housing, etc., etc. . . . As example: I had a recent hospitalization due to a kidney infection that caused me mental disorientation when driving where I ended up 70 miles away from my home. When stopped by the police and hospitalized, they impounded my car. As was diagnosed, I had infected kidneys. After 4 days, I should have been released and given a prescription but they continued to keep me convalescent. Why? Because I filled a bed and my insurance paid for it. THEY MAKE NO $$ WITH AN UNFILLED BED! . . . I saw they didn’t care to cut my finger or toe nails, didn’t offer to shave me, considered 2 slices of bread, a slice of tomato, a little bit of lettuce and 1 slice each of cheese and ham a full sandwich. They even humiliated me by sticking a catheter in me and put me in a diaper which forced me to be bed ridden, I knew they planned on keeping me till my insurance ran out, in which case they prepared an offer to live in one of their homes for $1k / month. I then realized that if I didn’t get myself out of there that I would die in there. After 23 days, I did! On the day that I awaited my ride , they finally offered to shower me. While hospitalized, I had no way to pay my bills and While my best friend covered all but my car payment, the finance company never tried calling, texting or emailing me. Instead the activated the GPS system and repossessed the car in only 19 days late payment. And now I’m going through more misery to get my personal belongings back. So you see, even the finance company didn’t care because the car had been impounded and by California law, the impound company could auction off the car after 30 days! So after 3 years of never missing a car payment, my car is repossessed and my credit effected I’m sure. All because of the greed of a convalescent hospital my life is upside down but I won’t allow it to depress me though how many other people would succumb to depression? . . . I fear that America is about to find out as Biden destroys our economy and many lives as a result!

Barrett Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Rik

Sorry, but you are in the way of the 187 million illegal immigrants that bidum wants to install in America.

anna hubert
3 months ago

What pandemic are we talking about? There is no credibility to be had anywhere We have waves of people coming in from every hell hole on earth with not even a whisper about potential hazards but we close the schools business etc for our own safety.Could it get more I can’t come up with the word

Nobody’s Business
3 months ago

Covid was done on purpose to dumb down our kids, to bankrupt businesses, to get people use to socialism by seeing how much we would put up with government intrusion in our lives, and to steal an election. And it worked with the dim witted Democrats.

Jeb
3 months ago

Retired teacher here…these children will never catch up. There is a hole in their education which is not recoverable. Some children will suffer for decades, translation, culture and society will suffer for decade as well. Damage is done.

anna hubert
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeb

There is no more what can be called education only experimentation and indoctrination

Philip Hammersley
3 months ago

ZOOM classes are NOTHING like real school classes! The health “experts” and corrupt teachers’ unions cost all students at least a year of real education. The only good that came from it was when parents found out the propagandistic excrement being foisted on their kids!

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