One of the awful ironies of the pandemic lockdowns is that the people least at risk from Covid were among those whom the lockdowns hurt the most. We refer, of course, to the restrictions placed on children. Parks, zoos, and swimming pools were shut down. Little League seasons were canceled. In many states schools went remote for over a year. The evidence shows that these disruptions have had a substantial impact on children’s learning, their expected lifetime incomes, their life expectancies, and their mental health. The kids are not alright.
This is from Ryan Sullivan and David R. Henderson, “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” AIER, March 21, 2022.
Once these earning losses take hold, they lead to lower life expectancies. This connection was highlighted most prominently in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that analyzed data on school shutdowns early in the pandemic. The authors found that missed instruction in the United States could be associated with an estimated 13.8 million years of life lost.
What makes these outcomes even more tragic is that they were experienced by children who, as was known early on, never had a significant risk of dying from COVID-19. As of the first week of March 2022, out of the nearly 950,000 Covid-19 deaths, only 865 were children under the age of 18. That amounts to about 433 children annually. This is comparable to a bad flu season in the US. For example, the CDC estimates that the actual number of flu deaths for children in the 2017-18 flu season was about 600.
Ryan is especially passionate about this. He lives in California and has 2 young children whose lives were incredible disrupted for 2 years.
Read the whole thing.