Saturday, November 27, 2021

Covid Restrictions Hurt Children

Surely, it remains one of the most important stories coming out of the pandemic. We have occasionally addressed it on this blog, and we note that more and more researchers are also addressing it. The story involves the damage done to schoolchildren by school closings and mask mandates. One recalls the images of school board meetings where suburban mothers expressed their hostility to such impositions,

Now, in a story reported by the Daily Mail, based on serious academic research, we learn that school closings and mask mandates have had a markedly deleterious impact on childhood development. (via Maggie's Farm)

Anyway, here is the story, based first on research done at Brown University:

Social distancing measures including face masks are suspected of causing young children's development to have drop by up to 23 per cent during the COVID pandemic, according to a new study. 

Brown University scientists Sean CL Deoni, Jennifer Beauchemin, Alexandra Volpe, and Viren D’Sa, penned the review, in conjunction with the global consulting firm Resonance, collecting data from 1,600 children - and their caregivers - who have been enrolled in the study between the ages of 0 and 5 on a rolling basis. 

The probe analyzed the cognitive development of the youngsters through infancy, childhood and adolescence, and looked at how average development scores in three key areas had been affected during the COVID era - with shocking results. 

This is very bad news indeed:

Results showed the early learning composite mean result dropped by a whopping 23 per cent, from a high of just under 100 in 2019, to around 80 in 2020, and finally 77 in 2021.

Meanwhile, the verbal development quotient also dropped dramatically, from an average of 100 in 2018 to just below 90 in 2020, and around 70 in 2021.

The non-verbal development quotient also experienced a similar dip, from a mean score of around 105 in 2019, to 100 in 2020 and around 80 in 2021.

What other damage have mask mandates caused:

'In addition,' the report adds, 'masks worn in public settings and in school or daycare settings may impact a range of early developing skills, such as attachment, facial processing, and socioemotional processing.'    

As happens, the impact was diverse. Children, especially boys from poor families were hurt the most:

The authors said that boys from poor backgrounds were most at risk of a drop in cognitive testing scores, with richer parents better able to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

They explained: 'Comparing yearly mean scores since 2011, controlling for age, gender, demographic, and socioeconomic indicators, we find striking evidence of declining overall cognitive functioning in children beginning in 2020 and continuing through 2021. 

'We find that males appear significantly more impacted than females, and that higher socioeconomic status (SES, as measured by maternal education) helps buffer against this negative impact. 

'On a more individual level, we examined longitudinal pre and during-pandemic trends in the same children from 2018 to 2021, again finding declines in ability in 2020 and 2021.'

Obviously, parents have known about this. After all, who knows their children better:

The study's findings come as parents across the globe grapple with the idea that wearing masks may interfere with the natural learning experiences and communication skills of their young children.

A researcher at the University of Wisconsin has drawn similar conclusions:

'There are sensitive periods in early childhood development in which language development and emotional development are really rapidly developing for the first few years of life,' Ashley Ruba, a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Child Emotion Lab, told CNN in August.

The doctor added that developing children need to see others' subtle verbal or facial cues to accurately discern how someone is feeling - a skill that proves paramount as the youngster age.  

It shows the importance of face, of seeing faces, of reading faces, of gaining a sense of other people’s emotions by looking at them face-to-face. 

What's more, not being able to see someone's face also inhibits kids from picking up whether something or a situation is safe or dangerous, Ruba further asserted.

Of course, replacing schools with Zoom learning has also had a negative impact on children:

With that said, masks may not be [the only] thing spurring the drastic reduction in kids' cognitive abilities, the study states, adding that there are likely a range of pandemic-related factors that can be blamed for the dip - specifically the lack of social interactions between the still-developing youths. 

That came after schools were closed for in-person learning, with many experts blaming the lack of social contact for a boom in mental health issues among children, and some areas seeing a spike in youth suicides.

As for risk of infection among children, the story remains the same:


COVID infections tend to be harmless for younger children, with just 731 confirmed COVID deaths recorded for youngsters aged between 0 and 18 from March 2020 to November 24 2021, according to CDC figures.

That has seen many parents call for most restrictions to be lifted for children, particularly as children aged five and up can now get vaccinated.

The information is out there. The conclusions seem increasingly unambiguous. Shutting down schools and forcing children to mask up has caused many American children to suffer cognitively, emotionally and socially. 

The only remaining question is whether and to what extent they will recover.


BobJustBob said...

Was out the other day and saw a family that had the parents unmasked and their children masked. The sad part was when any unmasked person came near the children the flinched back. So much damage being done by this.

markedup2 said...

And yet we are supposed to hand our children over to these experts in child development at ever earlier ages because parents are not up to the task of raising their own children.

It's getting to the point where I think letting wolves raise children is better than letting the government raise them.

The absolute worst part of it is that no one will be held accountable.

Sam L. said...

Could masking boys eventually cause some of them become bank robbers? Stick-up men? Just a thought...