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New study suggests pandemic is affecting infant development

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An alarming new study shows babies’ rate of growth is slower than in years past. Scientists say it may be tied to COVID-19’s arrival. 

Columbia University researchers assessed 255 infants born between March and December 2020. They compared the cohort’s mental and physical progress at six months to 62 infants – also 6 months – born before the coronavirus hit. 

It turns out that the babies born during the pandemic showed slightly lower development rates than those before the pandemic in three key areas.

“The three areas that these results showed up in were the lower gross motor skills…meaning how their lower extremities are with their strength,” Dr. Shaun Grannis, vice president of data and analytics at the Regenstrief Institute, told News 8. “Are they able to crawl, push up with their lower legs? The next one was fine motor skills and that’s holding things and grasping things. And the final one was personal social interactions.” 

In a news release, lead study author, Dr. Dani Dumitriu said: “We want parents to know that the findings in our small study do not necessarily mean that this generation will be impaired later in life.”

She goes on to say six months is a very early stage of mental and physical growth leaving ample opportunity for intervention to get babies on the right developmental trajectory.