The U.S.'s top pediatricians have updated the checklist of developmental milestones for infants and young children for the first time in decades. This checklist helps identify delays that could indicate signs of autism or other social-communication disabilities. But critics are pointing out that mask mandates are causing the delays in childhood development.

According to the Washington Post, the updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were made with the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA). These updates included the increase of percentage of children who typically meet certain milestones from 50% to 75%, which they claim is "an important adjustment signifying that instead of just half, now the majority of children are capable of certain behaviors and achievements at specified ages."

Such development markers have not been updated since they were first released in 2004. The new milestones were published in Pediatrics this week, which indicates how the CDC quietly admits mask mandates are delaying childhood development. The new milestones were developed by Paul Lipkin, a pediatrician and director of medical outpatient services at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore and 12 other developmental experts and pediatricians.

"We wanted to take a close look at all the data and milestones through multiple sources to come up with what we think is an accurate reflection of a child's development," Lipkin explained.

But The Gateway Pundit reported that according to the AAP, 67.7% of the changes to early childhood milestones were moved to older ages in the recent study commissioned by the CDC. Twitter user Bow Tied Ranger reported that the CDC "just quietly lowered the standards for speech in early childhood development."

"Now children should know 50 words at 30 months rather than 24 months," the Twitter user reported. "Instead of highlighting the harmful effects [of masks and] lockdowns have had on children, the CDC just lowered the bar for milestones."

In the study titled "Evidence-Informed Milestones for Developmental Surveillance Tools" published in Pediatrics on February 8, researchers wrote that the revisions were based on a database of normative data for individual milestones, as well as common screening and evaluation tools.

"Application of the criteria established by the AAP working group and adding milestones for the 15- and 30-month health supervision visits resulted in a 26.4% reduction and 40.9% replacement of previous CDC milestones," the study authors wrote.

Researchers added, "One third of the retained milestones were transferred to different ages; 67.7% of those transferred were moved to older ages."

Study authors said that the goal was to identify evidence-informed milestones to include in the CDC checklist, as well as "clarify when most children can be expected to reach a milestone (to discourage a wait-and-see approach), and support clinical judgment regarding screening between recommended ages."

The CDC this week said it will review its mask guidance and will shift its focus to COVID hospitalizations as a measure to determine whether safety protocols must be heightened, CNBC reported. CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. said on Wednesday, "We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen."