Young people and children are at risk of becoming a ‘lost generation’ because of the UK government’s response to Covid-19, members of SAGE warned today.
Generation Z – those between the ages of seven and 24 – have largely avoided the direct effects of the coronavirus on their health.
But the disruption to education, massive public debt and rising unemployment rates will all have a “catastrophic” impact on their future, the experts warned.
More than 10 million UK school children had closed their schools in March to flatten the coronavirus curve. The move was successful, but it is feared that inequality has worsened and that children from the poorest families will remain behind their classmates for at least a year.
Numerous studies and reports have also warned of a ‘ticking time bomb’ of future mental and physical health problems – including anxiety, depression and obesity – as a result of young people being locked indoors for most of six months.
And there are fears that pre-Covid-19 problems could get worse. Thirty percent of children were already living in poverty before the pandemic, a figure that is expected to skyrocket as a result of the economic impact of the crisis.
Official data shows that 16-24 year olds accounted for nearly two thirds of those unemployed since March. While employment for young people has also more than tripled to its highest level in three decades.
Generation Z – those ages 7 to 24 – have largely avoided the direct consequences of the coronavirus for their health. But the disruption to education, massive public debt and rising unemployment rates will all have a “catastrophic” impact on their futures, experts have warned.
Professor Russell Viner, chair of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, who is part of SAGE’s task for children and completing the task force, told the Guardian: ‘This is a generation that is under threat.
It will be catastrophically, disproportionately hit and harmed by the loss of economic and social opportunities as a direct result of the pandemic.
‘We have taken money out of our children’s future by building up this enormous national debt.
“We have to face the fact that not only have we taken away the protective net that we throw around our children by closing schools and redeploying the children’s health workers, but we have also pledged their future to the current reality.”
Nearly 8 million Britons and HALF under-25s hit by ‘lockdown loneliness’, official data suggests
The well-being of nearly 8 million Britons has been affected by loneliness caused by the government’s blocking of the coronavirus, official data suggests.
A survey by the Office for National Statistics of more than 5,500 people suggested that 14.3 percent of the population – or 7.4 million people – experienced loneliness in the past seven days.
Statisticians revealed that this group of people, referred to as the ‘lockdown lonely’, are generally young, single or divorced and are renting out.
According to the survey, half of 16 to 24 year olds suffered from ‘lockdown loneliness’, compared to just a quarter of those over 60.
Separate findings from the same survey, conducted among 5,000 Britons, revealed that 5 percent were ‘chronically lonely’ and admitted to feeling lonely ‘often or always’.
The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey data was collected from April 3 to May 3 and covered 5,260 adults.
Everyone in the study was asked “How often do you feel lonely?”. Five percent of them said they suffered from chronic loneliness, which means that they are lonely ‘often or always’ and not just in the past seven days.
This equates to 2.6 million people across Britain.
Professor Viner’s words were echoed by another SAGE member, Professor Chris Bonell of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
He said that even those who got through lockdown without their mental or physical health taking a hit would be affected by the financial fallout from the crisis, describing it as “ the most dramatic disruption ” every generation has in modern times. experienced ‘.
He told the newspaper, “These setbacks will happen throughout their lives: Scars like this don’t just wash away – it’s permanent.”
Professor Bonell said the government has not thought about the impact on Generation Z when making policy decisions.
He said experts advising ministers had expressed concern about the threat of some lockdown measures against youth, but fell on deaf ears.
Professor Bonell claimed that number 10 received “empirical evidence” of the increased risk for young people, but it was “pushed aside.”
An example was the call to ministers to issue a full national curriculum rather than leaving it to individual schools during the first wave.
It comes after the Resolution Foundation predicted that the youth unemployment rate could reach 1.3 million next year, more than tripling from its current level of 408,000.
It is estimated that about 800,000 people between the ages of 18 and 24 will drop out of education this year.
As unemployment is expected to rise this year as struggling companies cut costs, the think tank warns that the “ 2020 corona class ” could face years of lower wages and limited job opportunities.
The Resolution Foundation said past recessions show that young people who have just left full-time education are hit harder than other age groups.
It also pointed out that those who have recently left education are more likely to work in sectors most affected by the blockade.
Over the past ten years, one in three undergraduates and one in five graduates has gained their first work experience after training in sectors such as retail, hospitality, travel and leisure.
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Cambridge have warned that lockdown later in life can lead to numerous mental health problems in teens.
Personal social interaction is vital for brain development and for building a sense of self between the ages of 10 and 24.
Cambridge academics warn that depriving young people can lead to a host of mental health, behavioral and cognitive problems later in life.
In a July editorial in The Lancet, neuroscientists from the prestigious university said adolescence – defined by the scientists as between the ages of 10 and 24 – is a vulnerable stage in a person’s development.
In addition to major hormonal changes and puberty, this is the point where people want to spend more time with their friends than with their family.
It is also the period in their life when they are most likely to develop psychological problems.
Previous studies have suggested that high-quality relationships with people seem to protect against mental health problems and strengthen their resilience.