Here’s a bit of news that won’t be surprising to very many parents. Locking kids indoors for a couple of years, preventing them from seeing their friends, and forbidding them from playing outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air is bad for their immune systems. Who knew?
And there’s science to back this up. In yet another “unforeseen consequence” that the adults in charge should have seen, the immune systems of kids have been crushed by the lockdown policies we forced on them. And this was despite the fact that children never faced any sort of appreciable risk from COVID-19 in the first place.
In a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week, new findings indicate that record numbers of kids are now being hospitalized with upper respiratory infections. And it’s not COVID that’s hospitalizing them. It’s the common cold and the flu.
The CDC collected samples from pediatric hospitals in Texas, Ohio, New York and Washington state to measure how prevalent respiratory viruses are this year. The agency found that record-high numbers of kids under 18 were catching the common cold in August of 2021. Nearly 700 kids were hospitalized in the seven pediatric wards the CDC studied for that August.
By December of 2021, about 60% of all children hospitalized by respiratory viruses tested positive for respiratory syncytial virus. In a typical year, only 30% of kids hospitalized will test positive for that.
The CDC is also issuing a warning for hospitals to be on the lookout for large increases in the respiratory virus that causes acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). That’s scary, because AFM is a neurological disorder that attacks the gray matter in the spinal cord. It causes permanent muscle weakening, and young kids that contract AFM often end up spending the rest of their lives in a wheelchair.
Another report issued by the CDC shows record numbers of toddlers being hospitalized with respiratory infections. In case it’s unclear, none of these kids are being hospitalized by COVID. They’re being hospitalized by the common cold and the flu. A record-high 4.7% of all kids under age 5 in the US suffered from breathing difficulties last month (September 2022).
Why are so many more kids than normal suddenly being hospitalized with respiratory illnesses? It’s no mystery to Yale University’s medical director, Dr. Scott Roberts. He says the COVID lockdowns harmed kids’ immune systems.
“There are two implications to this. First, the gap gives time for the viruses to mutate even further to cause more severe disease. Second, whatever immunity was built up to those viruses, it will have waned making the immune response now much less potent.”
Locking kids away for almost two years, forcing them to social distance, meant that kids caught the regular colds and flus a lot less often. If you have kids in school, then you know they’re frequently getting sick (and usually bringing it home and sharing it with their parents). But without that regular circulation of these viruses, they mutated faster than kids’ immune systems could adjust to them, according to Dr. Roberts.
Playing with each other, especially outdoors, is how kids build up their immune systems. They have to roll around in the dirt and pick up toads and throw snowballs at each other and get sunburns, like we all used to do when we were kids. Preventing them from doing all that fun stuff – and catching colds in the process – has crushed many kids’ immune systems. They’re getting sicker as a result, which is yet another outcome of the lockdowns that nobody in charge thought through very well.
This comes on the heels of the reports earlier this year that young children especially were now struggling with developmental and speech issues. Many speech therapists have reported 300% increases in the number of kids they’re seeing who don’t learn how to talk properly – because they’re wearing masks all the time. Joe Biden still requires kids as young as 2 in federal Head Start programs to mask up. That’s insane, but probably not too surprising. Joe Biden doesn’t seem to be an expert on child-rearing. Kids need to be able to see people’s faces, especially their mouths, to learn how to speak and communicate.
It’s going to take years to recover from the response to the Chinese coronavirus – because that response was much more harmful than the disease itself.