Coronavirus Chronicles — Going Into Year Two

The topic is difficult to disengage from because the synergy between obesity and coronavirus makes them probably the most destructive supervillain alliance on the planet at this moment in time.

COVID-19 and obesity are like two humans deep in the psychological quicksand of codependency. Both can function on their own, but joining forces is what brings them true happiness — no matter how twisted the relationship might appear to outsiders.

UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate in bioengineering candidate Jennifer Hu writes about a concept called “risk compensation.” It has to do with ways of thinking and coping that lead to instability, and it makes everything more complicated. We hear something from an expert. People are careless about confirming facts before sharing them, and facts can change as new information is found. The second, third, and subsequent things we hear from experts may not match up with the first thing we heard, and we get confused and start casting blame.

Cut them some slack

Scientists may be equally confused, but they react by deciding to look further into the matter, while the public often reacts by declaring some or all scientists to be liars. And government officials, whose reputations for truth-telling may already be tarnished, might look even less trustworthy. Various publications disagree, or are perceived to “change their stories.” Confusion can do a lot of harm. Believing that children do not contract or transmit COVID-19 is a pretty outdated misconception by now, but a lot of people still cling to it. This is why it is important to be aware of concepts like those discussed by Wu.

About a year ago, all kinds of misconceptions took root, and some became dangerous. In a time of crisis, some things are prioritized over others. Somebody has to figure out what resources will be needed, and from there on, it’s an endless cascade of ever more complicated questions. Meanwhile, even the most capable and dedicated scientists are unable to keep track of every detail of the pandemic and all the implications, every minute.

Don’t know means don’t know

In the field of collecting and cataloging statistics, it is difficult for the various municipalities, counties, and states to “get on the same page,” as the saying goes. They are using different software, different hardware, and sometimes even varying definitions of words and interpretations of rules. What with crowded hospitals and multiple controversies, the authorities had a lot on their plate, and still do.

All kinds of statistics and reports come in from all kinds of places, and making sense of them is the full-time job of many experts. Currently, several things appear to be happening at the same time. Awareness of statistics has improved, along with the technical ability to curate them. Testing has increased, so there is more awareness of who gets sick, whether or not they show symptoms.

Also, infections among kids are increasing alarmingly. But a certain number of Americans still believe that children don’t catch COVID-19; or if they do, they are not very sick; or if they are very sick, they get better and live happily ever after. A lot of different ideas are in circulation, and some are not healthy to believe.

Childhood Obesity News has mentioned that the co-morbidity status shared by obesity and the virus is kind of a big deal. Aside from the direct effects of the disease on the obese and the fit alike, it has messed up the education system horrendously. Many parents have had to take on the job of homeschooling, even though it might be the furthest thing from their wishes. Next time, we consider more of the implications.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “What is it that they don’t want to tell us about the COVID-19 vaccine?,”, 03/08/21
Image by Scott McLeod/CC BY 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.

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