Coronavirus Chronicles — No Youth Pass

Elizabeth De wrote for Quora about the physical and mental devastation she and a young relative, both struck by COVID-19, have experienced. This aspect is disturbing:

Immediately after the infection we thought we had recovered. We hiked, cycled, started rebuilding our fitness. And then the relapses hit.

De goes on to enumerate the various sequelae, and their significances and consequences:

Recovered doesn’t mean healthy, a return to your previous pre-covid condition. It means that you have been kicked out of hospital because you didn’t die. We managed to avoid hospital and are described as “mild.” […] Mild means you are in line to die from a blood clot…

Out of necessity, they educated themselves:

And then to our horror we learn that young people and others imagine that they won’t be affected.

A lot of people still think that children and teens don’t get the novel coronavirus, or don’t get it very bad, which is simply wrong, and gets wronger every day. Just catching it, at any age, can be a recipe for disaster. Also, there has not been wide recognition of the problem over time. Of the known victims of COVID-19, only a very small percent die soon, as a very direct and easily observable result.

But a much larger percentage are still a mess months later, stuck in a debilitating cycle of never being able to feel the confidence of getting better. There are dimensions and nuances that cannot be addressed by the graphs on TV news shows. A lot of people don’t get better, and an increased risk of becoming obese is the least of their problems. Serious breakdowns happen in different systems, and even if a problem is not life-threatening, it can seriously affect the quality of life.

One of the apparent results is hair loss, a surprise that often shows up after a patient is supposedly “over it.” Here is Robert Roy Britt, describing one study of this bizarre aftereffect:

Among 1,567 people who report “long haul” Covid-19 effects, 423 report hair loss, according to a new survey led by Natalie Lambert, PhD, from Indiana University.

That’s hair loss among more than a quarter of the patients, almost one-third of them in fact. It’s worse for females than for males. But wait, is it? For, Michael Freeman looked at other scientific studies and wrote,

COVID-19 serious enough to take people to hospital also seems to be more common in people with male-pattern baldness. One study found up to 79% of hospital admissions for COVID-19 were balding men.

An increased level of the hormone dihydrotestosterone is thought to increase the numbers of ACE2 receptors, which is how the virus enters the body. In other words, male-pattern baldness may predispose people to more severe disease.

And also, the disease may predispose people to baldness, just as it makes them more vulnerable to developing obesity. What if it does? The vital question here is, what will be the effect on children and teens who have the virus now? The answer can literally not be known, because the disease has not been around for very long.

Who knows, the novel coronavirus might leave behind a legacy not only of enervated, obese young people but of hairless young people as well. It is possible that the kids of the future might have not just (what is seen as) an unacceptably large body size to worry about, but (what is seen as) an unacceptably bare head also.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Quora post,”, 08/20/20
Source: “Hair Loss Reports Grow Among Covid-19 ‘Long Haul’ Survivors,”, 08/12/20
Source: “Covid toes, rashes, hair loss: Eight ways coronavirus can affect your skin,”, 08/21/20
Image by Mike Burns/CC BY-SA 2.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

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