Members of a CBS News “Face the Nation” panel sat in silence on Sunday when one panelist explained that the most “underreported” story of 2021 is how restrictive COVID policies devastatingly impacted children.
While reviewing the year’s top stories with foremost CBS News reporters, chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford silenced her colleagues for more than 90 seconds as she explained why the “crushing impact” of COVID policies on children is the most underreported story of 2021.
Crawford cited the low vulnerability of young people to severe COVID infections, the mental health crisis happening among teenagers because of lockdowns, and the fact that the adverse impact of COVID policies has essentially been an “afterthought” to those with power.
“It’s the crushing impact that our COVID policies have had on young kids and children,” Crawford began. “By far, the least serious risk for serious illness, but — I mean, even teenagers, you know, a healthy teenager has a one in 1,000,000 chance of getting and dying from COVID, which is way lower than dying in a car wreck on a road trip.”
“But they have suffered and sacrificed the most, especially kids in underrepresented and at-risk communities. And now we have the surgeon general saying there’s a mental health crisis among our kids,” she continued. “The risk of suicide attempts among girls now up 51% this year. Black kids nearly twice as likely as white kids to die by suicide.”
Highlighting “school closures, lockdowns, [and the] cancellation of sports,” Crawford noted that during the height of the pandemic, children in Washington, D.C., could not even use playgrounds “without cops scurrying, shooing the kids off.”
“Tremendous negative impact on kids, and it’s been an afterthought. It’s hurt their dreams, their future, learning loss, risk of abuse, their mental health,” Crawford lamented. “And now, with our knowledge, our vaccines, if our policies don’t reflect a more measured and reasonable approach for our children, they will be paying for our generation’s decisions the rest of their lives.”
Any additional context?
Data shows that, as Crawford explained, suicide rates among teenagers have soared during the pandemic. Equally problematic is how education took a back seat to a commonsense approach to the pandemic.
For example, one survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered that about 40% of parents believe their children fell behind during the pandemic because of school lockdowns and remote learning, which does not provide the same educational experience as in-person learning. School lockdowns impacted not only education, but social and emotional development in children and drove an increase of mental health and behavioral problems, the survey found.
In fact, the lack of attention such problems have received may be another reason behind Republican Glenn Youngkin’s surprise victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election.
After the election in November, CNN interviewed a panel of suburban moms, all of whom agreed they supported Youngkin in part because he proposed ways to address the problems for young people caused by pandemic-related policies.
“I just feel they’re really tone-deaf, they’re really dismissive,” one mom said of Democrats.
“They weren’t looking at the concerns on the ground,” another mom explained. “And the concerns on the ground were we were really concerned about our kids’ education, and the Democrats were not listening to that.”
“Glenn, he listened to us. He met with us. He sent his wife to meet with special education parents,” another mom told CNN. “They spent a lot of one-on-one time with parents.”