Young Conservative Terms Covid Lockdowns ‘Generational Theft’

‘It was immoral and it was wrong when we decided to deliberately hurt the younger generation to try to protect the older generation.’

File photo of Charlie Kirk, 2018. Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Speaking to an audience at CPAC whose members appeared to be mainly in their mid-60s, one of the leaders of the younger conservative movement, Charlie Kirk, this week made a passionate argument that vaccine mandates and Covid lockdowns are “generational theft.”

“Now, some people in this audience don’t want to hear this,” the radio talk show host said, “but it was immoral and it was wrong when we decided to deliberately hurt the younger generation to try to protect the older generation. It was a tragedy this country and our leaders need to talk about.”

Mr. Kirk’s comments come at a time when mask mandates, especially for children, are a hot topic of debate; parents are revolting against school boards around the country for the toll the last two years have taken on their children, and a caravan of truckers is heading to Washington, D.C., from California to demand an end to all lockdown measures.

Centers for Disease Control data do show stark generational differences when it comes to Covid. 

Of the 935,215 Americans who have died due to Covid as of February 19, 25.7 percent were over 85 years old and 74.4 percent were over 65; overall, just 4.2 percent were younger than 45. Of those, a tiny 0.62 percent were ages 18-29 and the numbers are even lower among younger ages, with just 0.09 percent of deaths coming among those under 17 and 0.01 percent among children ages 1-4. 

While Covid has been a health crisis for the elderly, it’s been a life crisis for children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a “National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.”

“This worsening crisis in child and adolescent mental health is inextricably tied to the stress brought on by COVID-19 and the ongoing struggle for racial justice,” they wrote, “and represents an acceleration of trends observed prior to 2020. Rates of childhood mental health concerns and suicide rose steadily between 2010 and 2020, and by 2018 suicide was the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24. The pandemic has intensified this crisis: across the country we have witnessed dramatic increases in Emergency Department visits for all mental health emergencies including suspected suicide attempts.”

Meanwhile, a McKinsey analysis from July 2021 attempted to quantify the loss of learning related to the pandemic.

It found that “students testing in 2021 were about ten points behind in math and nine points behind in reading, compared with matched students in previous years.” This is the equivalent of five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading.

The study also showed that “more first and second graders have ended this year two or more grade levels below expectations than in any previous year.” This is “of particular concern,” McKinsey said, “given the major strides children at this age typically make in mastering reading, and the critical importance of early reading for later academic success.”

The McKinsey study, not surprisingly, showed that the pandemic hit “historically disadvantaged students hardest. In math, students in majority Black schools ended the year with six months of unfinished learning, students in low-income schools with seven.” 

Moreover, “high schoolers have become more likely to drop out of school, and high school seniors, especially those from low-income families, are less likely to go on to postsecondary education.”

Perhaps the young Mr. Kirk is on to something.

The New York Sun

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