BREMEN. The 126th German Medical Day focused on the effects of the corona pandemic on the youngest in society. Especially children and young people suffered, which the doctors found out in their daily work. Therefore, their well-being must be in focus in the fight against the pandemic. What doctors’ representatives understand by this, however, is more differentiated than their top officials sometimes state publicly. Day care and school closures are rejected, but at the same time protection measures are called for.
“Today we know what enormous damage school and daycare closures are, these months of isolation caused by the contact restrictions for children and adolescents,” said medical president Dr. medical Claus Reinhardt. He referred to fear of the future, increased performance pressure and loneliness. The Prime Minister’s Conference on 2 June will set the course for the safe operation of schools and day care institutions. Anyone who reads Doctor’s Day’s decision, however, will find a more differentiated stance than the one Reinhardt represents, who in the past has repeatedly polemized against protective measures in schools – especially the duty to wear masks (“mask requirements”). .
“The understanding of day care institutions and schools as places for social learning and meetings must be taken into account”
The newspaper says: Looking back, it can be seen that the corona protection measures for children and young people primarily served to protect the older generation and certain vulnerable groups. “In the future, pandemic-related nationwide closures of day care centers and schools should be avoided and should only be considered in extreme crisis situations. The understanding of day care institutions and schools as places for social learning and meeting must be taken into account. ”
At the same time, however, doctors also emphasize: “The hygiene and protection measures for places in the education system must be maintained to the extent necessary even after the pandemic and further developed for future challenges.”
Studies have now shown that COVID-19 disease in children and adolescents without relevant previous illnesses due to SARS-CoV-2 infection is mostly mild. “Nevertheless, the primary disease burden of COVID-19 disease, albeit to a lesser extent than in other age groups, is also significant for younger age groups. In addition to the acute COVID-19 disease, a severe generalized disease with high inflammatory response (PIMS) is rarely observed. “where some patients require intensive care. Attention should be paid to other potentially serious concomitant or secondary diseases that will only become apparent as the pandemic progresses and may specifically affect the group of children and adolescents.”
Therefore, doctors demand: “The rising generation must therefore also be protected against infections in the future. In addition to the adaptation and further development of protection and hygiene measures, there is an urgent need for a needs-based adaptation of care costs in the inpatient area of pediatric and adolescent medicine. The scientific analyzes of complications and abnormalities in children and adolescents caused by the pandemic are not yet complete. The research processes must be further promoted and funded permanently and adequately. ”
The psychological strain on many children and young people, which has arisen from protective measures but also from the direct consequences of the pandemic, is emphasized. “We had a lack of face-to-face teaching for several months, homeschooling, a reduction or ban on sports and leisure activities and the consequent excessive media consumption, changes in diet and exercise behavior, dealing with relatives’ death and illness, but also job loss and existential fear. on the part of parents and has a strong negative impact on the development of young people.Studies already show a significant increase in mental health problems and diseases in this age group (cf. KOPSY study ).These include fear, depressive symptoms and even suicidality, eating disorders, addiction problems and various developmental deficiencies and delays (linguistic, cognitive, physical).
Children from socially disadvantaged families tend to be more affected. “The burdens on children and young people as a result of this overall complex are also more or less pronounced depending on their socio-economic status and can further increase social inequalities. Deficits that already existed before the pandemic, especially in terms of protection against violence (child abuse, neglect, domestic violence), combating child poverty and access to education for all children, intensified during the pandemic and the various problem areas became clearly visible .
“Better human and financial resources for education and Leisure facilities for children and young people are required ”
“Day care centers and schools, which always also serve as important early detection centers for children and young people’s social concerns, were no longer accessible during the closure measures. In addition to the factors mentioned, dealing with illness, death and existential fear at an early age can also lead to strong emotional insecurity. For the reasons mentioned, the range of child and adolescent psychiatric and psychotherapeutic counseling and treatment must also be significantly expanded, with the involvement of parents and guardians, taking into account regional conditions. “
The requirement from the Medical Day to be deduced from this: “The complex consequences must also be absorbed by a similarly complex package of measures at federal, state and municipal level, including medical expertise, and fully and sustainably funded by the state. From the medical profession’s point of view, it is also urgent. It is necessary for those responsible in politics to pay special attention to children and young people from socially disadvantaged families in order to mitigate unwanted social development and a further increase in social inequalities. “
From the point of view of the medical profession, this means specifically for day care institutions and schools: “Better human and financial resources for education and Leisure facilities for children and young people are required. Especially schools in Hot spot districts need a strong and well-qualified workforce and Resources to the detriment of socio-economic conditions balance.”
Spicy: Doctors do not resist an excavation at the Standing Vaccination Commission. In the case of children and adolescents, they explicitly emphasize in their decision: “The staffing and financial strengthening of the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) in order to ensure timely treatment of the current state of medical knowledge and to adapt and further develop the nationwide vaccination strategy for Germany in accordingly “. Background: Stiko hesitated for a long time to issue general vaccination recommendations to children and adolescents. For elementary school students, it only happened last week. The result: To date, the majority of school children in Germany have not been fully vaccinated. News4teachers / with material from dpa
The full minutes of the decision can be found here.
Psychologists and doctors sound the alarm: Face-to-face teaching at all costs is a massive burden for children