Coronavirus Chronicles — The Research Realms

The whole peer review process is in disarray because of the need for additional experts to look at which scholarly articles will achieve publication. A process that customarily has taken months has been accelerated as much as possible, congruent with preserving accuracy and the highest professional standards. Meanwhile, we face the sad truth: Relative to how much there is to know about COVID-19, very little is known.

Experts are needed, who are qualified to vet all the new research. Where can they be found? In their labs and offices, doing their own work, which qualifies them as competent authorities. Possibly their schedules are already filled by promises to study and comment on some of the thousands of other research papers currently being generated.

But first, why is Childhood Obesity News even concerned with this topic? What discoveries have already made an impact?

1. The earlier in a human life obesity begins, and the longer obesity holds sway over that life, the more difficult it will eventually be to dislodge. Obese kids grow up to be obese adults, more and more of them every year.

2. Obese children are more likely than others to catch COVID-19. When they do, treating them is more difficult for logistical reasons, and their hospital experiences are more miserable.

3. Apparently, once the disease gets into the body, it aims straight for the fat cells as if they were five-star hotels. The virus loves fat cells, and fat cells seem to love the virus.

Writer Nicholas Feenie says,

[…] obesity compromises the immune system and its ability to fight viral respiratory infections.

4. And now, medical institutions are treating Pediatric Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome, or PMIS, a horrible thing children get, that seems to be related to the coronavirus.

For Contemporary Health, Feenie refreshed readers’ memories with the information that the COVID-19 risk factors are advanced age, maleness, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and respiratory diseases. There is mechanical obstruction. Feenie writes,

Individuals with obesity often have respiratory dysfunction due to the presence of large fat deposits around the chest and upper abdomen. This is characterised by altered respiratory mechanisms, increased airway resistance, impaired gas exchange and low lung volume and muscle strength. As a result, obesity increases the risk of contracting respiratory tract infections including influenza and pneumonia.

Also, the immune system, to put it non-technically, goes haywire, and the Natural Killer cells lose their mojo. Next thing you know, there is a cytokine storm.

In other words,

The low-grade, chronic inflammation caused by excess visceral adipose tissue surrounding vital organs in the abdominal cavity, which is implicated in cardiometabolic complications of obesity, has also been highlighted as a possible cause of the over-exaggerated immune response seen in many Covid-19 fatalities.

Not only do fat cells lay down the virtual “Welcome” mat at the door, they apparently offer the invaders free storage space:

It has also been suggested that visceral adipose tissue may act as a ‘reservoir’ for Covid-19. [I]t is feasible the virus could infect visceral adipose tissue which then becomes a reservoir for more extensive viral spread, increased viral shedding, immune activation, cytokine amplification and systemic tissue damage…

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Covid-19: One of the many Obesity related co-morbidities?,”, 05/15/20
Image by Randy Cline via Flickr

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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