OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
According to Dr. Mark McDonald, a clinical psychiatrist for children and adolescents on NTD’s The Nation Speaks, the country’s recent lockdown policies will lead to a generation of children with lower IQs and signs of social brain damage.
McDonald referred to a study published by Brown University (pdf) on Aug. 11, which found that “children born during the pandemic have significantly lower verbal, motor, and cognitive functioning compared to those born before the pandemic.”
The masks, “zoom schools,” and lockdown mandates lead to “deprivation overall, of social contact, [of] not being able to see faces, being stuck at home all day long, has actually caused brain damage to the youngsters,” said McDonald.
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, argued in his interview that time-limited pandemic restrictions and the “fears we instill in children” have exacerbated psychological problems in children.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Heneghan cited an analysis of his Oct. 2 study that claimed eight out of ten children and adolescents experienced worsening behavior, psychological symptoms, or negativity.
“School closures contributed to increased anxiety, loneliness and stress; negative feelings due to COVID-19 increased with the duration of school closures,” the study reported. “Deteriorating mental health was found to be worse in females and older adolescents.”
Heneghan also found that adolescents aged 13 and older did worse than children aged 12 and under because teens are also more aware of global messages that are being delivered, as well as peer pressure and social pressure.
“The first thing is to de-escalate any fear and anxiety around COVID for children,” Heneghan said, adding that “for children, [COVID] is actually a very safe disease” and that children should not be worried about the impact of COVID “on themselves, or their future health.”
Additionally, he stated that closing schools was a mistake because keeping them open is good for education, “social connectedness,” and well-being.
“We should really prioritize education and those interventions that are in children’s best interest,” Heneghan stated.
A study published by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) on December 20 also found that mental health-related visits in 2020, when pandemic restrictions first were implemented, increased by 24 percent for those aged 5-11 and by 31 percent for those aged 12-17 compared to 2019.
According to Dr. Mark McDonald, he has witnessed children who “refuse to make eye contact, wet their pants or wet the bed at night, are unable to go to sleepovers, and are not comfortable with being away from their mothers for long periods of time.”
Teenagers, however, come out of lockdown restrictions “so engrossed in social media and phones, they don’t even want to go out anymore,” McDonald said.
“Behavioral conditioning” is a program where children are put in “irrational, ridiculous” situations such as eating outside on a 40-degree day, running marathons with masks on, or playing sports with masks on. McDonald called out the government and media corporations for their roles in this program.
According to the COVID-plan on the White House website, by Dec. 27 children who are not vaccinated should be in close contact with vaccinated people and wearing masks in public indoor spaces, including schools.
“For those adolescents aged 12 and above who are eligible for vaccination, the most important step parents can take is to get them vaccinated,” the COVID-plan stated.
According to the plan, as of Dec. 27, “over half of the nation’s adolescents have been vaccinated.”