New Year – New Day?

Just when I think we’ve turned the corner, I come across another news item that prompts a groan. Beware flurona! Flurona? Surely, it’s not what I think it is.

Yes, it is. The twindemic is here. People in the United States, Israel, Brazil, and a few other countries are suffering from both Covid and the flu. And, yes, the experts are recommending vaccines and a flu shot. Ok, according to the New York Times 39 million American adults have yet to be vaccinated. Will they get flu shots, even though they’ll probably never get vaccinated? Don’t even want to go there.

Other numbers of note: on January 4th, America set a record. One million Americans came down with Covid, according to NBC News. The Washington Post reported that 103,000 Americans were in the hospital being treated for Covid. More children are becoming infected and affected, leading to long term damages.

A doctor I know recently suggested that I write about guns in schools. She’s right that is a critical problem. More on that in another blog. There are other issues directly related to the pandemic that are hurting our kids, also, according to the New York Times. Let’s take a look.

While school officials debate whether to return to class or utilize remote instruction, researchers have discovered that among third through eighth graders, math and reading levels were lower than normal this past fall.

Even schools that are open and teaching in classrooms have not returned to normal, which is adding to the learning loss and social isolation problems for many students. Lunch time, extracurricular activities, assemblies, school trips, parent-teacher conferences, and reliable bus schedules have been changed, or, in some cases, eliminated. While some schools are open, there’s no guarantee that they will remain open. One parent described it as chaos, an impossible situation for children seeking stability.

Many children and teenagers have behavioral problems. Some are obvious: trashing the bathroom, fighting over social media posts, or running out of the classrooms. But in some instances, troubled students just refuse to talk. Are they experiencing mental health problems? They very well could be. Those problems have been worsened by the isolation and disruption created by the pandemic. Suicide attempts have risen, especially among 12- to 17-year-old girls.

What to do? President Biden told America on January 4th that he believes the schools should remain open. Many experts argue that shutting the schools down has not done a thing to slow the pandemic. The President also blamed non-vaccinated people for making it more difficult to get control over the pandemic. Get a vaccine, said he. Will the blamed and shamed do so? Doubtful.

It appears that we’ll be living with problems created by the pandemic for a long, long time. What we’re doing to our kids is an inhumane example.

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