While COVID deaths can be counted, it is more difficult to measure the job, economic, and educational losses that accrue from a prolonged shutdown A rapidly expanding debt, along with increases in substance use disorder and related fatalities, domestic violence, child abuse, depression, and other mental illnesses also make the toll of extended shutdowns more difficult to quantify. I have worked extensively with mental health organizations fighting opioid abuse and addiction, which has worsened during COVID. In some places, particularly where increasing opioid overdoses have outpaced COVID deaths, its curve is worse than that of the virus.
COVID has also taken a toll on the education of our children. It is currently estimated that children will lose 70% of what they learned in the last school year. The longer kids go without classroom instruction, the less they will learn in the long run. This has even more dramatic consequences for weaker school districts, where, even in ideal times, learning opportunities are fewer. Sadly, many less affluent homes do not have adequate access to computers, internet, teacher, or parental support. I will fight for expanding charter schools and recognizing homeschooling as a valuable and viable educational option.