Coronavirus Chronicles — Kids, the Virus, and the Ripple Effect

When humans first began philosophizing, surely one of the earliest natural phenomena to stir deep thought was the ripple effect. If a rock is thrown into a body of still water, it initiates a series of reactive movement that reaches all the way to the edge. Watching this very simple chain of causation cannot help but inspire comparison with other events in life.

Today, there is concern over the fact that children and teens can both catch and transmit COVID-19; and at the same time, from some quarters, there is also a continuous and ongoing denial of this reality. One nuance is that merely counting cases among the young does not tell the whole story. There is a school of thought that refuses to fuss about older people getting sick and dying. As long as the child numbers stay beneath their comfort level, no worries.

Everything connects

But children and teens are taken care of by adults, and many adults who become incapacitated by illness lose the ability to provide the necessities of life — both material and emotional — for the children in their charge. Parents die, or stay in the hospital, or need home care. They can’t work, or lose their jobs. They get “brain fog” and can’t cope with the simplest tasks. The grandparents who had volunteered to fill in for working parents get sick or die.

Sickness and death among adults affect children profoundly! To feel reassured because in certain demographics the numbers and the severity don’t seem too bad is to delude oneself. When the numbers go up in any age group, children cannot help but be affected. The overall horror of people continuing to die casts a heavy shadow over matters that used to seem very important — like preventing children from becoming obese.

As for the deniers…

Virus researcher Mitchell Tsai identifies some of the many factions that compete for attention:

[…] pro-mask, anti-mask, pro-lockdown, anti-lockdown, pro-aerosol, anti-aerosol, anti-reinfection, pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine, Covid doesn’t exist, Covid is a conspiracy, anti-New-York-Times, anti-Guardian, anti-Daily-Mail, anti-Wall-Street-Journal, pro-lab-leak, anti-lab-leak, pro-China, anti-China, pro-India…

Tsai, incidentally, is very aware of online platforms where COVID-denying trolls are likely to block important discourse between active COVID virologists, epidemiologists, and infectious disease specialists. To the astonishment of social media critics, he recommends Twitter as the social medium most amenable to serious discussions among experts.

Breakthrough cases

There is much talk about a term that journalist Rich Mendez explains:

Breakthrough cases are Covid-19 infections that bypass vaccine protection. They are very rare and many are asymptomatic. The vaccines are highly effective but don’t block every infection. The CDC doesn’t count every breakthrough case. It stopped counting all breakthrough cases May 1 and now only tallies those that lead to hospitalization or death…

Mendez also brings up the point that the Centers for Disease Control’s number of total active cases must necessarily be inaccurate because, for COVID victims who are not hospitalized or deceased, “data relies on passive and voluntary reporting.”

Not long ago, Childhood Obesity News mentioned some highly speculative yet potentially worrisome news about the relationship between COVID-19 and toxoplasmosis. Scientists from Utrecht University in the Netherlands have observed that people with coronavirus often have cats and dogs who test positive for the disease. Although not currently a top-level cause for concern, this is regarded as something to keep an eye on:

While cases of owners passing on Covid-19 to their pets are considered to be of negligible risk to public health, the scientists say there is a potential risk that domestic animals could act as a “reservoir” for coronavirus and reintroduce it to humans.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Censorship,”, undated
Source: “CDC says roughly 4,100 people have been hospitalized or died with Covid breakthrough infections after vaccination,”, 06/25/21
Source: “Pet owners urged to avoid their cats and dogs if they have Covid,”, 07/01/21
Image by Paul Eisenberg/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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