U.S. researchers have released concerning preliminary findings about children born during the coronavirus pandemic.
These findings suggest children born during the COVID-19 pandemic show lower IQ scores than those who were born before January 2020, Fox News reports.
“The study of pre-pandemic babies shows that they had an IQ ranging from 98.5 to 107.3,” the reports says. “But the IQs of babies born during the pandemic sharply fell 27 to 37 points.”
The underlying causes are still unknown.
MedRxiv reported the findings ahead of a peer review on Aug. 11th. Roughly 605 children were part of the study in Rhode Island. Most of the children were reportedly white. 39 of the children were born in 2018 and 2019.
What is causing this issue?
The report speculates that it may be due to the first 1,000 days of a child’s life being the most crucial to development.
The environment can alter the child’s development. Important factors include maternal mental and physical health, nutrition, stimulation and supportive caregiving.
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The study attributed lockdown policies aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 such as economic shutdowns, mask-wearing, school disruptions, social distancing and stay-at-home orders.
Because of this, children born after January 2020 from lower socio-economic backgrounds who were hit the hardest during the pandemic (mostly Black and Brown children) had a steeper dip in IQ scores than White children did on average.
“While socio-economic factors appear to mitigate against the negative consequences of the pandemic, the primary factors underlying our observed trends remain unknown,” study authors wrote.
However, they suggested potential factors could include shuttered child care and changing workplace environments in influencing children’s cognitive development.
Children of mothers with collegiate and post-graduate degrees were less likely to suffer the negative impact of being born during the pandemic.
Research suggests that this could be due to family or social support that can contribute to maternal well-being, which can affect infant temperament, behavior and cognitive development.