Final report: Fatal health and social consequences of the pandemic policy for children

Masks, school closures, lockdowns: As was to be expected, the pandemic policy, which was implemented in Germany in coordination between the federal and state governments from March 2020, had a serious impact on the mental and physical health of children and young people.

The Interministerial Working Group (IMA) “Health Effects on Children and Adolescents from Corona” has presented its final report. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus (Bündnis90/Die Grünen) presented the results of the report at a press conference after consultation with the cabinet.

Corona policy: German school closures in the focus of the European Court of Human Rights

Corona policy: German school closures in the focus of the European Court of Human Rights

Foreseeable problems have arrived

Based on six studies that the IMA used for its advice, it was found that poor families suffered particularly from the pandemic measures. Loneliness and high media consumption led to severe psychological stress among children and young people. Symptoms of depression were up to 75 percent more common. Disabled children suffered particularly badly.

The ban on exercising together led to more obesity, particularly among those under 13. Constant living in confined spaces during lockdown increased pressure within families and led to more arguments. Eating disorders among young women increased by up to 54 percent.

In young children, there were delays in the areas of language, motor skills and social development. Last but not least, the reduced learning and working hours of many students due to “distance learning” contributed to learning deficits.

Concealment by language rules

It is striking that the title of the report already mentions “Corona” as the cause of the damage – although it should really be called “Corona Policy”. This is not surprising, as one remains true to the previous terminology. Although it was clear that viruses would not act and decide on lockdowns, people would.

Even Minister of Health Lauterbach recently had to admit that “children and young people were unjustly the main victims of the reduction in contact”. An identical admission was found in the IMA report, however, in vain. Instead, it was pointed out that the problems faced by children and young people today existed before the pandemic.

German politics: without seeing the big picture, things can only go downhill

Opinion

German politics: without seeing the big picture, things can only go downhill

The solution: more state, more money

The measures proposed by the IMA in their report are intended to prevent long-term consequences for the mental health and educational opportunities of children and young people. Above all, the allocation of additional funds to existing aid and support projects of the municipalities and countries. There is also talk of the “connection to control systems”, which means something like offering pastoral care or support directly in schools. And child day care is also to be expanded and improved accordingly.

Reference is made, for example, to the federal program “Catching up after Corona for children and young people”, which provides two billion euros for funding offers at schools, and the KiTa quality law, which provides around four billion euros for the years 2023 and 2024.

It is no coincidence that the IMA report addresses the continuing serious shortage of skilled workers in the German education sector. Because most of the measures proposed by the IMA require the large-scale use of therapists, pedagogues and related professions, which, however, cannot be conjured up with money. As a further solution, the IMA therefore calls “substantive synergy effects”, which presumably means that the existing staff has to do work for which they are not trained. According to the IMA, an “overall strategy to secure the need for skilled workers” is also necessary.

Conclusion

First, the IMA report describes what was already known in 2020: that the pandemic policies would cause physical and psychological harm, especially among children. You didn’t need a study to know that. For this reason it is simply cynical when the IMA finally writes:

“It takes an entire country to enable all children and young people to grow up healthy and have a good future, even in times of crisis. A joint effort by the federal, state and local governments in close cooperation with the healthcare system and science is necessary. The IMA has shown : It is possible.”

Apparently, the self-praise at the end was not to be missed, as if the IMA had already done half the work with its report. But where was the “common effort” for the children of 2020 and 2021? Experts and politicians apparently did not notice how they were sawing the chair legs of their obese system with their pandemic policy, which is particularly harmful to children.

Secondly, the measures required by the IMA are unrealistic. It is indeed conceivable at this point in time that this is the case monitoring, which will observe how the damage left by the pandemic policy develops in the future. The “accompanying committee” of politicians and experts will then meet once a year and, like the townsfolk in their dark town hall, will ask themselves why it hasn’t gotten any lighter since the last time.

more on the subject – dr Bodo Schiffmann: “It was already clear at the beginning of the pandemic that the masks would not protect”

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