Coronavirus Chronicles — Are the Kids All Right?

The young are very much in the coronavirus news lately. Hopefully, by now, most people realize that COVID-19 is real, and that children and young people can catch it, and also transmit it. A well-informed citizen also understands that the virus attacks different populations disproportionately.

It’s a race thing, and an economic inequality thing, and also a big risk for people who are overweight or obese. Extra body fat, in and of itself, seems to be very attractive to the virus, which also specializes in victimizing people affected by diabetes and other co-morbidities linked with obesity. Last August it was reported that although the United States contains only about 4% of the world’s people, it had up to that point been the site of around 25%, or one-quarter, of the world’s coronavirus deaths.

So, things are much better now, right? Wrong. Things are just very slightly better. According to researchers from Johns Hopkins, in a news item less than a week old,

The United States has suffered nearly one-fifth of the world’s covid-19 deaths […] even as it accounts for just over 4 percent of the world’s population. Twenty-three percent of the world’s recorded coronavirus cases have occurred among Americans.

In September, as schools tried to reopen, Ed Yong wrote in The Atlantic,

Thanks to magical thinking and misplaced moralism, the U.S. already has at least 51,000 confirmed infections in more than 1,000 colleges across every state. These (underestimated) numbers will grow, because only 20 percent of colleges are doing regular testing, while almost half are not testing at all.

The Centers for Disease Control released a report destined to ruffle the complacency of Americans by stating that “the percentage increase in excess deaths so far this year compared to other years is highest among people age 25 to 44, at 26%.” In other words, any notion that COVID-19 only went after the elderly, the infirm, and the out-of-shape, would have to be revised.

Try, try again

In the schools that did regain some semblance of normalcy, by December it was obvious that academic ground had been lost. Most kids were not doing well, and children affected by racism and poverty were doing worse than most. A study determined that “the shift to remote school in the spring set White students back by one to three months in math, while students of color lost three to five months.” Students were not applying for college like before — at least, not the ones from the lower socio-economic stratum.

Millions of children still coped with remote learning, and journalists Laura Meckler and Hannah Natanson wrote,

This setup privileges children who have quiet places to work, parents at home to help and reliable Internet service. Many of those who don’t have those advantages continue to struggle, and even some families with resources find it difficult to keep children engaged online and emotionally healthy.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The U.S. has 4% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases,”, 8/19/20
Source: “The Health 202: Here’s how the U.S. compares to other countries on the coronavirus pandemic,”, 04/12/21
Source: “America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral,”, 09/09/20
Source: “Increase in Death Rate Highest Among People Age 25 to 44,”, 10/21/20
Source: “‘A lost generation’: Surge of research reveals students sliding backward, most vulnerable worst affected,”, 12/06/20
Image by Elvert Barnes/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.

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