Illogical Mandates Lead to Bad Health Outcomes for Kids

Senator Scott Martin – Op-ED

You know that Jim Collins Quote “Bad decisions made with good intentions are still bad decisions.”?

The COVID-19 policies pursued by Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration – not to mention President Joe Biden’s administration – have exemplified this axiom.

In fact, even The Philadelphia Inquirer, which hasn’t been very critical of the current governor or president, has reported about the negative unintended consequences of those policies, even as Wolf and others continue to pat themselves on the back for imposing them.

A story written within the past week by the Inquirer found that while beds are in short supply at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), fewer than a dozen patients within the 585-bed facility are there because they have the COVID-19 virus.

However, as the story notes, CHOP is overflowing with patients because of the pandemic.

Though the story didn’t go a step further, it could have: CHOP is filled to overflowing because of the policies imposed by certain elected officials.

The health care facility is dealing with a surge of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which CHOP’s chief medical officer Ron Keren told the Inquirer is due to “immunity debt.”

Children are normally exposed to RSV – and lots of other things – on a regular basis, helping most to develop immunity to those things.

But because they were cooped up for the better part of two years, with most not in school classrooms or being with other kids outside of school, they are far more vulnerable to these other viruses.

And just like the RSV situation, locking down our kids has made them targets for something that is hands-down more deadly to children than COVID-19: the seasonal flu.

The good news is children as young as 6-months-old can get a flu shot, but that doesn’t change the fact that many parents don’t get their kids vaccinated for the flu, and health care professionals like Keren are expressing concern about this year’s flu season.

Our elected officials claimed – and still claim – their data support their policies, that they did what was best for the kids by keeping them shut in their homes as schools were closed and normal childhood and adolescent interactions were vilified as “superspreader events.”

Keren told the Inquirer that CHOP is coping with a surge in hospitalizations of adolescents and younger children struggling with severe anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Children with conditions such as autism are likewise experiencing problems caused by the disruptions, and isolation during the pandemic, Keren said.

What’s infuriating about the situation at CHOP, which is occurring at health care facilities around the nation, is that plenty of people warned of these consequences as the policies were being forced on all of us.

But people like the governor and the president said they knew better, that dissenting voices did not care about protecting lives, and that their policies were necessary to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus – even though the past 20 months in this state and around the world have shown the virus spreads regardless of the policies implemented, with only the timing of the virus’ impact different.

Sadly, those who questioned if those policies could accomplish the goals set by elected officials were silenced by portions of the political establishment.

At least someone is now drawing attention to the consequences of the actions taken in response to COVID-19, even if it should have come far sooner.

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