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Vote for Antony Antoniou

Antony Antoniou – Reform UK Northampton North
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate
(PPC) 2024 General Election


The Overlooked Toll – Children and the Unspoken Consequences of Lockdowns

In the wake of the pandemic, discussions on lockdowns have predominantly revolved around their effects on the economy, mental health, and the healthcare system. However, there’s a topic that often gets pushed aside, despite its significance: the profound impact of lockdowns on children. As the world grappled with the spread of Covid-19, it became evident that the assumptions guiding shutdown decisions were flawed and disproportionately affected our youngest generation.

At the heart of the lockdown dilemma lies a fundamental conceptual error – the assumption that measures aimed at shielding vulnerable individuals from severe Covid could be equally effective in halting the spread of the virus. While it’s true that strict isolation could have prevented transmission, and complete normalcy could have led to rampant infections, the reality is more complex than this binary scenario.

The initial enthusiasm for measures like social distancing and school closures was propelled by overly simplistic models, which failed to capture the intricate dynamics of a respiratory virus. Unfortunately, real-world experiences have proven these assumptions wrong. Rather than curbing the spread effectively, these measures led to unintended consequences that hit the most vulnerable group the hardest: children.

Among these young victims, the toll was particularly evident due to their unique vulnerabilities and the societal responsibility to protect them. Even if school closures had the potential to curb transmission, the damage caused to children’s education, mental well-being, and overall development far outweighed any potential benefits. Yet, we hesitated to explore this aspect fully and are even more reluctant to confront it now.

Children in lower socio-economic strata bore a heavier burden, with the impact felt most acutely in low to middle-income countries (LMICs). Shockingly, only 8 percent of rural Indian children could access online classes, and 37 percent had no access to any form of learning. This “technology poverty” wasn’t exclusive to LMICs, as illustrated by the image of California children sitting outside Taco Bell for internet access.

A common argument was that children are resilient and could recover quickly from the disruption. However, this argument neglected the multifaceted role of schools. Beyond education, schools provide nourishment, safety, and a nurturing environment. Lockdowns inadvertently exacerbated child abuse, disrupted vital school programs like vaccinations and sexual health education, and even led to a rise in child marriages where regulations were lax.

Lockdowns also inflicted psychological wounds on children across all backgrounds. Isolation, virtual life, and arbitrary rules bred confusion and instability, putting tender minds at risk. Worst of all, children were unjustly burdened with guilt for merely being part of a society in which infectious diseases spread. This guilt-tripping narrative contradicted the shared responsibility that typically comes with living collectively.

Denying children a normal life became particularly perplexing when the imposed rules failed to achieve their intended outcomes. This prompts ethical questions about imposing such measures on children when their efficacy is questionable. While protecting vulnerable family members by limiting children’s interactions might seem reasonable, it’s an imperfect solution. Alternate ideas, like evacuating vulnerable members during a pandemic, warrant more discussion.

Inexplicably, the Covid Inquiry has not given due attention to understanding the impact of lockdowns on children, even though they’re the ones who’ve paid the highest price. It’s crucial that we acknowledge this discrepancy and ensure that our children never suffer needlessly again. Let’s learn from the lockdown scandal that went unnoticed and place our children’s well-being at the forefront of any future decisions. After all, they deserve a normal childhood, even in the face of crises.

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