This crisis will weigh heavily for years

This crisis will weigh heavily for years. By Adam Creighton.

A few years back the brilliant American economist Raj Chetty discovered most of the generation born in the 1980s would earn less than their parents, the first time that had occurred in centuries.

The next generation, if not even poorer compared with their parents, almost certainly will be unhappier as the pressure of social media takes its toll and the impact of two years of missed opportunities play out.

In what won’t be a surprise to many parents, students’ test scores in English and maths collapsed by six and 14 percentage points, respectively, at schools across the US where learning shifted to online only — about 90 per cent of the nation’s schools. Online learning has been a disaster for the vast bulk of kids, another cost of our response to the pandemic that doesn’t show up readily yet will cast a long shadow. …

About one-third of adult Americans said they had become more depressed since Covid emerged, according to the AEI survey, including almost 40 per cent for singles with no children.

More than 40 per cent of Americans said they gained an average of 13kg in weight during the pandemic, according to the American Psychological Association; the number of children aged five to 11 who were overweight or obese surged from 36 per cent to 46 per cent, another study found.

Alcohol consumption ratcheted up 39 per cent by November last year compared with February, the month before the pandemic, according to an RTI International research institute study. …

More than 100,000 Americans overdosed in the 12 months to April, which was 28 per cent higher than a year earlier and a record. …

During the past two years we have witnessed the most significant peacetime disruption of society by governments, probably ever. Although we can only guess at some of them, the unintended consequences will be profound and play out across many years, long after Covid-19 ceases to be a concern. Psychological and physical decline, hard-to-rid addictions and poorer educational outcomes are just some of them.

All because some scientists wanted to mess around with gain of function on corona viruses and the bureaucracies in the West and in China paid them to do it. How utterly stupid.