NYT senior writer details how COVID policies failed America’s children, who ‘are starting 2022 in crisis’

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David Leonhardt, senior writer for the New York Times, described the crisis facing American youth as the result of COVID-19 mitigation attempts, detailing the effects in a hard-hitting Twitter thread.

“American children are starting 2022 in crisis. I’m not sure that many people fully grasp the depth of it,” he tweeted, accompanying an article titled “No way to grow up” from his outlet.

“1. Children fell far behind in school during the first year of the pandemic and have not come close to catching up. The shortfalls are largest for Black and Hispanic students, as well as students in schools with high poverty rates,” he explained.

“‘We haven’t seen this kind of academic achievement crisis in living memory,’ [Michael Petrilli] of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute said.” He then noted the concerning spike of mental health problems among young people.

“2. Many children and teenagers are experiencing mental health problems. Three medical groups recently declared a national state of emergency in children’s mental health. They cited ‘dramatic increases in emergency department visits for all mental health emergencies.'” Leonhardt tweeted.

“3. Suicide attempts have risen, slightly among adolescent boys and sharply among adolescent girls. The number of E.R. visits for suspected suicide attempts by 12- to 17-year-old girls rose by 51 percent from early 2019 to early 2021, according to the CDC,” he explained.

But self-inflicted violence isn’t the only thing that has shot up since the pandemic started. School shootings are also tragically on the rise, a trend that runs alongside a general rise in crime in large cities across the United States.

Leonhardt noted that while many aspects of life have returned to normal, or near-normal, schools have been one of the holdouts, which denies young children in critical development stages academic and social activities.

A rise in behavioral problems among students has also been noted.

As the Omicron variant runs rampant and causes politicians to re-institute restrictions, many children will return to remote learning, despite having more difficulty retaining information than they would in a classroom setting.

“Bottom line: For the past two years, large parts of American society have decided harming children was an unavoidable side effect of Covid. And that was probably true in the spring of 2020, when nearly all of society shut down. It’s been less defensible since then,” Leonhardt explained, going on to say that continuing school shutdowns may not be based in science.

Ultimately, Leonhardt explains, America has accepted harm to children as a necessary evil in order to fight against COVID-19.


Sierra Marlee


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