Ontario doctors say some children and teenagers are suffering from “social malnutrition” due to the pandemic. They are physically isolated from their peers due to provincial restrictions. Financial stress in families has led to housing and food insecurity among children. Children in dysfunctional families have suffered neglect and abuse.
The pandemic has negatively affected the mental health of children and teens, OMA doctors said Wednesday. They expressed concern that the effects could last for years after the province emerges from the Pandemic. Dr. Saba Merchant said she has seen a “skyrocketing” number of cases involving anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, inattention, obesity, eating disorders, obsessions and compulsions in children, she said. “I must say that what we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said at a news briefing.
The majority of injuries, including from cycling and tobogganing crashes, were minor in nature. Children are not yet eligible to receive any COVID-19 vaccines in Canada. Data comes from OHIP billings by Ontario’s doctors between April 2019 and December 2020. For adults, the drop was 35 per cent compared to the same month in 2019, while for children it was 55 per cent in 2020.
In April 2020, there was a huge drop in doctor visits for adults and children, the OMA said. The goal is to get emergency approval quickly and to begin vaccinations in the fall, doctors say. The number of emergency visits has dropped significantly since the start of the pandemic, but the number of injuries did not decrease last year.