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Tipsheet

New Studies Show Another Way the CDC Royally Screwed Up Our Pandemic Response

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

A recent report revealed that babies and toddlers in the past two years are “falling behind” in several areas after years of stress and isolation created by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of the pandemic, many Republican lawmakers voiced concern over the impact lockdowns, masking and isolating would have on young childrens' development. They were ignored by health "experts" and the Centers for Disease Control.

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USA Today pointed to several studies now showing the negative impact masking and isolation made on this age group. Many toddlers are not as good at interacting with one another and are walking and talking less than babies born before the pandemic.

Emerging evidence reveals an uptick in developmental delays and challenging behaviors in children belonging to the “COVID generation.” Born during or shortly before the pandemic, many of these children are talking, walking and interacting later and less frequently. They're more prone to certain behaviors, such as outbursts, physical aggression and separation anxiety. 

It's unclear how much the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout are to blame. Experts note many children have had uneven access to health and child care and relatively little exposure to the outside world…Many early childhood experts say more children are not as good at playing with one another, or at any activities that involve sharing or paying attention.

The outlet highlighted a 4-year-old girl named CJ, who is “struggling.” CJ lacks personal space boundaries, doesn’t speak much and “screams at a pitch that pierces the ears” when she is uncomfortable. Her mother said that CJ “doesn’t know how to work through her emotions.”

"As she transitioned from baby to toddler, she didn't behave like a child her age should," USA Today noted.

CJ is not alone. Studies are showing that more “pandemic babies” are hitting developmental milestones slower than pre-pandemic babies.

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 According to a handful of small studies published within the past few months, children born during the pandemic score lower on average on tests of gross motor, fine motor, social and problem-solving skills compared with those born before COVID-19. For instance, a 6-month-old pandemic baby is less likely than a previous 6-month-old to get into a crawling position or smile at herself in the mirror – both of which are milestones for that age group. 

Two other studies from Rhode Island Hospital and the nonprofit LENA Foundation found that pandemic babies engage in verbal interactions less than pre-pandemic babies. In addition, mask mandates hindered their ability to watch adults’ mouths to learn how speak.

Some experts point to increased screen time; other research suggested that mask wearing is a factor. Babies and toddlers watch the way adults’ mouths move as they learn how to form the sounds of letters. Children pick up on facial expressions, which are restricted when half the face is covered by a mask.

During the pandemic, many Republicans in Congress voiced concerns about the lasting effects mask mandates and other measures would have on babies and toddlers. 

In January, House Republicans sent a six-page letter to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky urging her to roll back COVID-19 guidelines for children for the sake of their health and development.

The CDC has consistently failed to consider the crushing impact its COVID-19 policies have had on our nation’s children. We have long known transmission among children is low and symptoms are mild for most of them. Yet, the CDC has refused to follow the science. Rather, it has blindly tried to prevent infection at all costs—sacrificing our children’s mental, physical, and emotional health.

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The lawmakers included studies showing that forcing young children to mask will create problems with language development.

We have evidence of significant problems with requiring young children to wear masks all day. Practically speaking, children who need glasses have difficulty seeing when the mask fogs their lenses, masks cause severe acne and other skin problems, and they can be a distraction for children trying to learn. More importantly, studies show that reading lips is a crucial part of language development for children starting around 8 months of age—even more so for bilingual children. Studies show 4- to 6-year-old bilingual children lip-read more when they are confronted with speech in an unfamiliar language.

The letter was signed by Reps. Steve Scalise (LA), James Comer (KY), Jim Jordan (OH), Mark Green (TN), Nicole Malliotakis (NY) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa. The members are on the Committee of Oversight and Reform and the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Green and Miller-Meeks are both medical doctors.

Republicans on the Committee have been sounding the alarm on the negative impacts these policies are having on our children for nearly two years. America’s children are paying—and will continue to pay—the price for the CDC’s decisions for years to come.

In May, several Senators pushed legislation to put a stop to mask mandates for children under age 5. 

“Some of our children will never recover,” Sen. Ron Johnson said of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mandates.

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Throughout the pandemic, liberals attacked Republicans for being “anti-science” for not supporting COVID-19 mask mandates and vaccine mandates, specifically for children. But new reports are showing the lasting impact the COVID-19 mandates had on children.

Interviews with dozens of parents and educators support what the data is starting to reveal: Children born in the past few years are more likely to be stunted developmentally – especially on social and emotional measures.

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