From mental health to drug overdoses, some of the most apparent unintended consequences from COVID-19 lockdowns and pandemic restrictions have finally garnered mainstream attention. However, the global fallout from lockdown orders on the world’s poorest has flown somewhat under the radar—and will make the aforementioned dire consequences look mild in comparison.
A research organization dedicated to documenting the consequences of government pandemic interventions, Collateral Global, released a May analysis reviewing the research on how lockdowns will affect childrens’ prospects. The results are astounding.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictive mitigation policies have forced millions of children worldwide into poverty, with devastating effects on their access to education, nutrition, shelter, sanitation, and overall likelihood of survival,” the Collateral Global research team reports.
They find that:
- Global child poverty has increased 15% to hit 1.2 billion children living on less than $2/day
- Disruptions to access to healthcare, vaccinations, nutrition, etc. could mean that up to 1.2 million additional children die before their fifth birthday
- A whopping 7 to 9.7 million children who missed school during the pandemic will never return
- Up to 100 million children will never reach basic reading proficiency
Of course, some of this fallout couldn’t have been avoided given the pandemic. But—especially for children at extremely minimal risk of death from COVID-19—much of it surely traces back directly to government restrictions that closed schools, limited healthcare access, and closed economies.
We must weigh these dire costs against the fact that studies have shown lockdown orders have little to no impact on the spread of COVID-19 and the fact that the virus largely spreads at home. If the global population does this cost-benefit analysis in earnest, policymakers will have much to answer for.
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