With nearly 100 million confirmed cases and more than 2 million deaths, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 was the biggest since the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. The virus has relatively little impact on children with severe morbidity or mortality but is more adversely affected by government intervention through drastic social control measures. Effects of lockdown, More than 1.5 billion children were out of school on the first peak, with several potential adverse effects on economic insecurity affecting the most vulnerable. Governments across the world responded to the pandemic in different ways. A survey on the impact of school closures in the overall population of SARS-CoV-2 has predicted that school closures alone would only prevent 2-4% of deaths, far below other interventions that distance them from society. 4 On the other hand, the cost to people in all communities associated with interrupted education, low nutrition, childcare gaps, an unintended strain on healthcare systems, an increased drop-out in schools, and social isolation are high in school closures and economic costs, among other consequences.
Also Read: 7 steps to fight coronavirus
While the COVID-19 pandemic has no precedent in terms of economic and social consequences, schools have previously been closed. Large-scale outbreaks of other diseases, teacher strikes, natural disasters, and violent conflicts, for example, have all forced schools to close in the past. Researchers and international organizations studied the effects of school closures on students’ learning and discovered a measurable loss in basic skill acquisition, particularly among the most disadvantaged children. The current pandemic is very likely to have a significant long-term impact on students’ competencies and to exacerbate existing educational inequalities. Despite the fact that it has only been a few months since schools in many countries around the world were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, research on the educational effects of that closure has already been abundant. Obviously, the majority of these studies have only looked at the short-term effects of the lockdown. It is far too early to tell whether these effects are indicative of a learning loss or simply a temporary effect of disuse that can be easily remedied with practice.
In the current phase of the pandemic, the current data on the effect of the pandemic on child health must be summarised and compiled given the actions taken. The purpose of the narrative review is to study the impact on the health and well-being of children and adolescents of COVID-19 locking measures and school closures. Research questions (a) What is the effect on children’s health and well-being of lock-outs and closures of schools? (b) how much are social inequalities in the health of children increased by the effects of confines? Five studies addressed mental health, three looked at physical activity and obesity, three looked at diabetes mellitus, eight looked at changes in access and use of healthcare services, and three looked at data on child abuse and violence. It leads to lower academic achievement, gaps in skill development, abilities, and behavior required for educational success, and an increased likelihood of dropping out of school. Absence has been linked to risky behaviors such as smoking, juvenile delinquency, alcoholism, and drug use, as well as other effects in adulthood (e.g., unemployment, alcoholism) that limit life opportunities for young absentees.
Also Read: TEA Or COFFEE Which One Should You Choose
Mental Health During school closures and lockdowns, one Australian study found a significant increase in depressive symptoms and anxiety, as well as a significant decrease in life satisfaction, primarily in females. According to parent-proxy responses, a Spanish study found a lower total difficulty score on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. A study of Chinese children and adolescents found that during the lockdown, all indicators of depressive symptoms such as nonsuicidal self-injury, suicidal ideation, a suicide plan, and a suicide attempt deteriorated significantly.
Physical activity, obesity In the Croatian children’s cohort, a reduction in the level of physical activity (PAL) was found (2,97 to 2,63; p<0,01). There were significant differences between urban and rural teenagers. A study from Bosnia-Herzegovina found that 50% of young people achieved sufficient PAL at baseline and 24% at lock-down follow-up, and the paternal level was also associated with PAL at lock-down. The Italian obese teenage follow-up revealed an increase in food consumption and sedentary behavior while locked down, and also poorly healthy food consumption.
Diabetes There have been no changes or improvements to glucose indicators in three studies of children with type 1 diabetes mellitus of Israel, Greece, and Italy. However, the lock-down period has in some cases been accompanied by a poorer age and socio-economic status of the family.
Use of health services
There were no differences between the observation and the control groups in the Chinese study in the proportion of cesarean deliveries. In addition, during the lockdown, birth weight was greater in the observation group than in the control group for infants born>34 weeks gestational.
Violence, infant abuse
Clinical data collected routinely from Birmingham, UK regarding children’s protection medical examinations showed a substantial 39% decrease in CPME referrals during 2020 over past years, mostly associated with decreased referral of school staff. The US study showed a rise in the number of physical child abuse trauma children and in Florida the number of child abuse allegations compared to the same two months in 2019 was 27% lower.
The results show an effect mainly in the adolescent population on mental health and physical activity. These factors, however, have probably also affected younger kids, which must be assessed in future studies. Another review of the impact of COVID-19 on families and children revealed an increase in parental stress, particularly in previously unstructured homes, in parental stress, in the interruption of the work in class, social insulating measures, nutrition risks, child exposure to toxic stress and the lack of physical activity. Some intersectional reports found important differences in home learning and potential long-term implications for the unparalleled effects of households of various socioeconomic status. This research aimed to provide the best available evidence of the impact on the health of children and adolescents from pandemic-related restrictive measures. The findings call for decision-makers to take the risks and benefits to the health of children into consideration when taking public health action. Policymakers and researchers should examine other social distancing measures which are much less disruptive because lock-in measures affect children significantly and have a greater negative effect than short-term and probably long-term advantages. As other experts on public health are calling for a comprehensive approach to public health, with special emphasis on children, in response to this pandemic. Social determinants and medical needs, with equity and human rights as general principles, should be addressed simultaneously.