Coronavirus Chronicles — Kids, Schools, and Transmission

Coronavirus is still with us, and this blog has been looking at transmission and how to stop it, especially relative to schooling. As things stand, it seems that everyone is being shortchanged. Children, parents, teachers, taxpayers, government agencies, medical experts… Nobody is happy about the very confused and confusing condition that the American education system is in during this period.

Even amongst all the problems and potential problems caused by the virus and the seemingly unreachable goal of its elimination, many experts find the time and energy to issue warnings about obesity. Also, as Childhood Obesity News has mentioned, obesity and the virus enjoy a troublingly close relationship. Shamelessly, they aid and abet one another.

Let’s keep moving!

Growing children need a plethora of physical activity, not only to burn calories and resist fat, but to keep all of the body’s systems alert and functioning. And yet, in any setting where physical activity can take place, there is almost certain to be a risk of contagion. School, home, neighborhood, park — nowhere can be guaranteed safe, and there are logistical problems for overextended parents who are asked to put in time as park play monitors, on top of everything else.

As Indiana University’s academic year began, students gathered “in large groups without masks or practicing social distancing.” The administration ordered masking and distancing, and good luck to them, with enforcing compliance in this age bracket. On August 25 a headline proclaimed that the University of Alabama had confirmed more than 500 new cases of COVID-19, in addition to the 311 already discovered during re-entry testing. (A couple days later the campus total was up to 1,000.)

In Iowa, Des Moines Public Schools, (32,000 students, 5,000 employees) wanted 100% online learning. The state said no, there must be at least 50% in-person instruction. The district announced that it would sue the state. In Detroit, the teachers’ union agreed on the possibility of a safety strike, calling for distance teaching only. In Topeka, Kansas, the state’s biggest school district put middle schools and high schools into remote mode.

Not good news

Very recently, John Anderer reported on a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics that seems to confirm “a potential worst case scenario.” Children, it appears, are excellent “silent spreaders,” more capable than adults of distributing the contagion. Just because they don’t have as many immune receptors for SARS-CoV2, or as many symptoms, it does not mean they carry lower viral loads. Anderer writes,

The study, led by doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General Hospital for Children, suggests that kids likely play a much larger part in the spread of COVID-19 than originally thought… Identifying coronavirus-infected children is difficult because most don’t exhibit symptoms. Even the ones that do often develop symptoms that can be confused for influenza or the common cold. With all this in mind, there’s no telling just how many young “silent spreaders” are unknowingly infecting others.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Latest: S. Korea orders nationwide pandemic restrictions,”, 08/21/20
Source: “University of Alabama reports more than 500 confirmed COVID-19 cases,”, 08/25
Source: “Coronavirus more contagious among children,”, 08/20/20
Image by Patrick Emerson/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

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.

Food & Health Resources