By Kevin Roche
I got a comment from a physician on Thursday that everyone should read, as it is personal testimony to the enormous damage we are doing to children by blocking them from getting a normal school experience. I spend a lot of time on this because I had three children and have three grandchildren, one of whom is supposed to be in kindergarten. How are these poor children supposed to make sense of what we are doing to them? How can they not be anxious and depressed and miss the company of playmates and the attention of teachers? And if they are older, how do they not fall into despair? Here is what the physician had to say:
“As a busy private practice pediatrician, I don’t have the time or energy to do the exhaustive research you are doing and I greatly appreciate the medical literature you are bringing forward and especially appreciate your commentary. And you make me laugh, which I really need given the situation we’re in. One of the few good things that the Academy of Pediatrics has done in the last few months is to to rightfully insist that children are being harmed immeasurably by lack of in-person schooling. The harm they are suffering is not being adequately reported on in any of the main stream media, and any mention of the parochial school experience in Minnesota is completely ignored by the Governor and the MDH. What better case study do the school districts need than the private schools in their own districts? I take care of kids who attend private (mostly Catholic) and public schools and the difference in the happiness level of the children and their parents is astounding, with the private school kids of course being the happy ones. The level of sadness, worry and downright despair I am seeing EVERY day in my clinic is appalling and something I have never seen before in my 30 plus years of practice. Any help you can give me (or all of us) in finding more papers supporting children being in school rather than in the disastrous “distance learning” would be most appreciated.”
The Minnesota Governor loves to trot out CV patients to talk about the disease and health care executives and providers to talk about how hard their jobs are right now, and they are, but as the physician points out, we see nothing about the thousands, tens of thousands, of lives literally being irreparably damaged. In pursuit of every extreme action to save the lives of frail 80 and 90 year-olds, we are doing immeasurable harm to children, especially minority and low-income children. This is unconscionable and a social disgrace. When I talk about the primary thing that drives me to keep doing the blog, it is the completely unbalanced and irrational response to the epidemic, exemplified by the unilateral, and they are unilateral, actions of our Governor. Government is supposed be a vehicle by which we, the citizens, attempt to do that which creates the greatest overall benefit for our society. The epidemic response so far has been a shortsighted, monomania obsessed with preventing a few years of life lost, while ignoring what the impact is on everyone else.