Coronavirus Chronicles — Who Catches Covid-19? (Encore)

Some people still believe that COVID-19 only pursues elderly, obese, diabetic, chronically ill, or otherwise previously debilitated people. But no. We have already looked at three stories about healthy, active, above-averagely fit men in their early 40s, and here is another — this time, an elementary school coach.

Terry Greear and his wife were planning to be vaccinated as soon as their age group became eligible. Before that could happen, Terry spiked a fever and had trouble breathing, and his fingers turned blue. He was rushed to the Emergency Room and admitted to the ICU. He doesn’t remember much about the next 72 days because he spent most of them hooked up to a ventilator, in the obligatory induced coma. His lungs collapsed twice, and a lung bypass machine joined the crew.

Eventually, things turned around, and he was discharged, with a portable oxygen tank and a walker, to an intensive rehab program. Back home, he struggled with the walk from the front door to the mailbox. Eventually, he could even make it around the block, or play a bit of basketball. Following the now-familiar course, the patient had lost 50 pounds and could not put on his own socks. Greear says,

There was no way in the world I could do that. My brain is saying: This is what you’re supposed to do. But my body is saying: No, you can’t.

The focus is where?

But isn’t Childhood Obesity News supposed to be about, you know… childhood obesity? The connection is obvious. The couple’s two sons came close to being left fatherless in their crucial teen years, with a mother working one or more jobs to pay the bills.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, an estimated 1.5 million children, worldwide, have been orphaned by the loss of parents, grandparents, and other adults who were responsible for their care and wellbeing. According to a study published by The Lancet, almost 114,00 of those children live in the United States, which ranks fourth in COVID-orphaned kids (only Mexico, Brazil and India have more bereaved children.) Katie Camero reported for the Miami Herald,

[A]s data has shown throughout the pandemic, more men have died from the disease than women in nearly every country. Because of this, up to five times more kids have lost their fathers than their mothers… [E]very 12 seconds a child under the age of 18 loses their caregiver to COVID-19.

It is relevant to consult the long list of what might be termed obesity villains, some of which have been extensively covered in previous posts:

  • Adversity trauma
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Food insecurity
  • Living in crime-prone areas
  • Living with grandparents
  • Loneliness
  • Low levels of physical activity
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Maltreatment
  • Maternal employment
  • Mental health problems
  • Parental emotional distress
  • Parental work hours
  • Poor emotional coping
  • Reliance on a fast-food diet
  • Residential density
  • Single motherhood
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress
  • Suicide
  • Teen pregnancy

All these factors could potentially contribute to childhood obesity, and any of them could affect the children of adults lost to COVID. What is more, says co-lead author Dr. Juliette Unwin,

Our study establishes minimum estimates — lower bounds — for the numbers of children who lost parents and /or grandparents. Tragically, many demographic, epidemiological and healthcare factors suggest that the true numbers affected could be orders of magnitude larger.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Meet the Florida coach who fought hard to beat Covid and now has a message for anyone who hasn’t gotten the vaccine,”, 08/10/21
Source: “US No. 4 in the world with most orphaned children by COVID,”, 07/21/21
Image by Image Catalog/Public Domain

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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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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