COVID Compliance and Killing Kids

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As Andrew Bostom points out, Rhode Islanders have nation-leading compliance with mask mandates, which likely correlates very high compliance with lockdown rules (despite the previous governor’s constant blame-shifting complaints).  And yet, the Ocean State still had a summer lull followed by an autumn spike in cases.

Although the bureaucratic experts who continue to suppress our lives (and the journalists who enable them) might believe differently, this isn’t some interesting abstract datapoint on a page.  It’s a deadly imposition that is killing large numbers of an American generation.  Micha Gartz draws attention to a wide variety of worrying bits of evidence from across the country, leading her to conclude that our COVID response “sacrificed others without a second thought,” particularly kids and young adults:

Between March and August the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine reported a 65% increase in calls and emails. The Trevor Project — which targets suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth — saw double its usual call volume. The jump in helpline calls hadn’t let up by the end of 2020: in November Crisis Text Line received 180,000 calls — its highest volume ever, and an increase of 30,000 from the previous month. Over 90% of those were from people under 35. …

In August 2020, FAIR Health found a 334% spike in intentional self-harm claims among 13–18 year olds in the Northeast compared to the same month in 2019. Nationally self-harm medical claim lines nearly doubled for this group in both March and April, while claim lines for overdoses as a percentage of all medical claim lines increased 95% and 119% percent respectively.

Indeed, during the first eight months of 2020, suicides in Los Alamos (NM) tripled while Fresno (CA) numbers jumped 70% in June 2020 compared to the same month the previous year. Even the CDC acknowledges a 31% increase in the proportion of mental health-related ER visits for 12 to 17 year olds between March and October last year compared to the previous year.

Total deaths among Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 were up 33% from the prior year, with even our inflated COVID-death numbers accounting for only about 1% of the total.  With around 43 million Americans in this group, that’s an additional 9,700 young adults.  The additional death toll for everybody under 25 was 26,125.

Note that this isn’t over.  The country still isn’t back to normal, and the public health decisions of our government over the past year will probably continue to have negative consequences throughout these kids’ lives.

Also note that we can almost certainly skew these numbers toward populations that were already vulnerable.

The first action we should take for the sake of our children is to put this episode behind us immediately.  The second is to figure out what went wrong and how to avoid it in the future.  The third is to hold people of authority accountable for bad decisions.

Unfortunately, judging by the state of our civic society these days, if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll be able to take the first action sometime within 2021.  As for the rest, we’re going to need a lot more Americans to open their eyes.