Officials imposed COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns without regard to how their impact. Now the results have become painfully clear.
A new study found that children born in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic have deficits in communication including speech, Breitbart reported. Researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in part blamed pandemic mitigation measures.
The study published Wednesday examined babies born during the early months of the 2020 pandemic. They found delays in early speech, waving "bye-bye," and pointing among the 350 Irish babies studied compared with babies born before the pandemic.
This same troubling trend has emerged in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. Experts now believe that social isolation brought on by the pandemic is to blame.
One area where these babies did excel was in crawling earlier, but even that came from a sad reality. "Our research showed that [lockdown] babies were more likely to be crawling at the age of 12 months than their [baseline] counterparts, which might be because they were more likely to have spent more time at home and on the ground, with siblings home from school and parents working from home or isolating, rather than out of the home in cars and strollers," Professor Jonathan Hourihane, who was instrumental in the research, hypothesized.
"However, lockdown measures may have impacted the scope of language heard and sight of unmasked faces speaking to them, while also curtailing opportunities to encounter new items of interest which might prompt pointing, and the frequency of social contacts to enable them to learn to wave," he admitted. Unfortunately, it isn't just young children who suffered setbacks.
Research has also indicated that lockdowns crippled childhood literacy around the world. Organizations need to "rebuild children’s mental and physical health, social development and nutrition," UNICEF’s Chief of Education, Robert Jenkins, said.
The lockdowns and mask mandates were damaging. The extent to which that is true will only be learned in years to come, however.