Save the Children

By November 20, 2020Commentary

I am constantly amazed at the quality of people who read the blog.  Just some tremendous and dedicated workers and citizens.  I got a comment from a physician yesterday 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 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.

Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • Brenda says:

    As a parent of 3, THIS is what I’ve been saying too! We are sacrificing our children & im powerless to do anything! I feel like such a failure to them. Our kids get to do everything they normally would do, no restrictions since May(when we realized what was happening) but honestly with everything closing again that doesn’t leave much left!

  • Chuck says:

    Kevin:

    You repeatedly thank and are humbled by the readers of your blog. I am so glad to have found you as you keep me sane. Keep another thing in mind, Gov Walz and/or his extended team are reading this blog. They have made comments about “internet blogs”. Please keep this up! Somebody from his staff is charged with reading your blog. You are handing them “science and data” every day. Hopefully, it will sink in! Thank you Kevin!!!!!!

  • Sarah says:

    When I talk to the people of my south east asian community, majority are supporting what the governor is doing. They do not analyse if the decisions are based on science or not. They just blindly support. And I belive this exist in all races in mn as well as in whole USA. How do we educate them? I heard covid has become an oppurtunity for political gain and new economic reset is coming. Government will have more control over people.

  • researching says:

    Thank you for being a voice of sanity. In addition to your readers, I hope and suspect there are many who share the same thoughts about the present situation – or who *would* share the same sentiments if they were made aware of more than what the governor and local media spoon feed them. Local media, or the higher-ups who give marching orders, have failed to even try to give the public a sense of perspective. As much as this is a government power-grab opportunity, it seems the same for media, since constant panic is a way to keep eyeballs glued.

  • Lee says:

    that comment from a physician brought tears to my eyes. It is so-so sad to see these children with masks and all the distance learning. One of my grandchildren is way to scared of the virus. It seems the millennial group is more scared of the virus than the older folks.

  • R Alanko MD says:

    I fault the public health doctors the most, who have neglected first principles and should know better. As we all learned in Med School, any proposed treatment has potential effects, side effects and complications. The non-economic complications of lockdowns have been disregarded, even Increased morbidity and mortality for non-CoVid conditions,

    Politicians bear responsibility for this fiasco also, but I expect most of them rely on or are enabled by advice from medical ‘experts”

  • Ricard says:

    Parents are mobilizing about this. In Minnesota school district SD11 (Anoka-Hennepin) A group called ‘Let Them Be…’ has started up with 5700 member and I was able to hear their leader give a speech last night. They have a facebook page that can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/476623116631099/

  • Chuck says:

    Thank you Dr. Alanko! So glad to hear you say this about the “medical experts”.

  • Glenn L Martin says:

    Kevin, You are the lifeline to a balanced order of logic. This is serious of course but from the very early days of this I thought about how they do not follow the data they collect. And now, I feel joined with your sane approach. I remember the time we worked together long ago and want to encourage you to keep on trucking!!

    Also, I have been asking why is our government talking numbers of positivity when it is the positivity rate they are looking for. The only answer I can come up with is that we are all just a bunch of 7th grade level boneheads and need to be hit over the head with a number, which we know is not even a real point in time number!!

  • R J says:

    As a school psychologist in a public school I have beat the drum about this to my colleagues since March. Children and young adults NEED (this is not a luxury) the social, academic, and emotional development that school provides. All I have heard is how ‘we are doing our best’ or ‘we don’t want to kill someone’s grandmother’ or, my favorite, ‘we have to be safe.’ Who is safe now?

  • Kevin Roche says:

    thank you for all your work with children. I am shocked at the inability to assess all the impacts of the epidemic responses, and to basically ignore the effect on children. There have been and will be suicides, and these are young people losing their entire life.

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