Coronavirus Chronicles — If We Only Knew

Science is often a “two steps forward, one step back” sort of process. Discoveries turn out to be not quite what they originally seemed. Answers transmogrify back into questions. Childhood Obesity News described one of the ideas about how COVID-19 affects some victims, by triggering a cytokine storm, in which extreme inflammation takes place in the whole body because of immune system overreaction. Cytokines are good in moderation, but too many of them can cause multiple organ failure and death.

In the case of an obese patient, a connection is hypothesized with the inflammation that is already present because of the actions of fat cells. Complications like blood clots, heart problems, and neurological symptoms seemed to fit with this theory too, because they have been known to occur in other respiratory illnesses.

Related mysteries

For The New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Pam Belluck described
Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C (also known as Pediatric Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome), which…

[…] has shaken widespread confidence that children were largely spared from the pandemic. Instead of targeting lungs as the primary coronavirus infection does, it causes inflammation throughout the body and can cripple the heart. The syndrome often appears weeks after infection in children who did not experience first-phase coronavirus symptoms.

Meanwhile, medical professionals have been disappointed by their inability to save numerous patients even with ventilators. By means of those highly-regarded and very costly machines, air is unequivocally introduced into the lungs. So, what’s the problem? Journalist Dana G. Smith, who covers health, science, and wellness, describes it:

Moving air into the lungs, which ventilators help with, is only one part of the equation. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood is just as important to provide the rest of the body with oxygen, and that process relies on functioning blood vessels in the lungs.

Coronavirus seems determined to defy any attempts at pattern recognition that could help defeat it, and experts have more than once used the word “bizarre” to describe its habits and effects. There is a need for a Unified Field Theory of COVID-19. Smith traces the various bits of information that scientists are piecing together in an attempt to figure out such questions as why some children don’t even get symptoms, while others get heart attacks.

For a clear explanation, the writer interviewed Mandeep Mehra, M.D., medical director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and published an article titled “Coronavirus May Be a Blood Vessel Disease, Which Explains Everything.” Without providing all the spoilers, we will say here that it contains such terminology as endothelial dysfunction, vasculotropic virus, ACE inhibitors, plaque rupture, and myocardial infarction.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “‘Straight-Up Fire’ in His Veins: Teen Battles New Covid Syndrome,”, 05/17/20
Source: “Coronavirus May Be a Blood Vessel Disease, Which Explains Everything,”, 05/28/20
Image by muffinn/CC BY 2.0

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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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