Dr. Katie Musgrave has claimed that lockdowns have increased isolation and loneliness in society.
In her regular column in today’s Daily Telegraph, the GP said that working from home, cancelling meals out and reducing social gatherings, we have, as a nation, retreated into ourselves.
Dr. Musgrave said she receives regular calls from parents who are concerned about the wellbeing of their children:
In my work as a general practitioner, I have observed a disturbing trend towards greater isolation in my patients of all ages.
Nearly every week I receive calls from distressed parents, concerned for the wellbeing of their children.
Families frequently report difficulties getting their teenagers to go to school, get dressed, eat meals, or even leave their bedrooms.
Some of these young people are brought into my surgery unwashed, refusing to speak, look up, or make eye contact. Make no mistake, this is a damaged generation: there are many thousands of young people with these sorts of difficulties.
Data from the Department for Education suggests that between September and December 2020, over 93,000 British children were recorded as being severely absent from schools.
It’s not just children suffering. According to the Office for National Statistics, 5 per cent of adults reported feeling often or always lonely between 3 April and 3 May 2020.
While we might have expected an improvement after the pandemic, the latest data from December 2022 show a staggering 8 per cent of adults now reporting chronic loneliness.
She goes on to say that it is critical, even though many people would prefer to forget Covid-19 and move on, that we examine how and why we got here:
Remembering the footage of Boris Johnson – flanked by Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance – at daily Downing Street press briefings, one wonders how broad-minded our leaders at the time were.
Was this group simply oblivious to the carnage that lockdowns and increased social isolation could cause..?
We must reflect that our leaders were badly misguided if they thought they could simply lock down society for a few months, before lifting restrictions, with no long term consequences.
It was never going to be that simple.