Dr. Phil, 'The View' co-hosts debate impact of COVID-19 lockdowns: Kids were 'abandoned to their abusers'

Dr. Phil McGraw on the set of 'The View' on February 26, 2024.
Dr. Phil McGraw on the set of "The View" on February 26, 2024. | Screengrab/The View/YouTube

Dr. Phil McGraw drew the ire of “The View” co-hosts during a recent appearance on the show after he highlighted the negative impact COVID-19 lockdowns had on schoolchildren, arguing that this particular demographic suffered more from “mismanagement” during the pandemic than the actual virus. 

McGraw, 73, appeared on “The View” Monday to discuss his new book, We’ve Got Issues. The psychologist and television personality noted a correlation between the advent of smartphones around 2008 and a spike in mental health issues among children. 

“And then Covid hits 10 years later, and the same agencies that knew that are the agencies that shut down the schools for two years,” McGraw said. “Who does that? Who takes away the support system for these children? Who takes it away and shuts it down?” 

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The television personality also raised concerns about the lockdowns preventing mandatory reporters from having the opportunity to assess a child’s situation and determine if the child is in an abusive environment. 

"In fact, [the children were] sent home and abandoned to their abusers ... and referrals went down 50 to 60 percent," he exclaimed. 

Co-host Sunny Hostin pushed back against McGraw, arguing that the purpose of shutting down schools during COVID-19 was to “save [students'] lives. Hostin’s fellow host, Whoopi Goldberg, also chimed in, stating, “We know a lot of folks died during this.” 

“Not school children,” McGraw replied, which prompted Ana Navarro to ask the author whether he was saying that no schoolchildren died during COVID-19. 

“I’m saying it was the safer group. They were the less vulnerable group, and they suffered and will suffer more from the mismanagement of Covid than they will from the exposure to Covid, and that’s not an opinion,” McGraw said. “That’s a fact.”

This is not the first time the psychologist has raised concerns about the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on mental health, as McGraw previously did so during a 2020 interview with Fox News opinion host Laura Ingraham. During the Fox News interview, McGraw warned about a potential “tipping point” the longer the lockdowns continued. 

“There’s a point at which people start having enough problems in lockdown that it will actually create more destruction and actually more death across time than the actual virus will itself. Two-hundred-and-fifty people a year die from poverty,” the television personality said. “And the poverty line is getting such that more and more people are going to fall below that because the economy is crashing around us, and they’re doing that because people are dying from the coronavirus, I get that.”

McGraw further questioned the COVID-19 lockdowns by noting that 45,000 people die from car accidents annually and about 480,000 die from cigarette smoking, wondering why the economy was never shuttered for these reasons. As The Daily Wire noted at the time, McGraw incorrectly stated that around 360,000 people die per year by drowning in swimming pools when the actual number was around 3,500 per year. 

A few years after the pandemic-related lockdowns, which resulted in school closures throughout the country, multiple studies have assessed the impact this had on students. 

In the summer of 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, released a study that found a majority of public schools reported negative increases in student behavior. The study gathered data from 846 schools as part of an analysis of the pandemic’s impact on K-12 institutions. 

According to the report, 87% of the public schools reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted students' socio-emotional development for the 2021-2022 school year, and 83% of public schools agree that students' behavioral development has been negatively affected. 

Another report released in April 2022 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than four in 10 teenagers felt "sad or hopeless" during the pandemic lockdowns, and one in five contemplated taking their own lives.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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