Coronavirus Chronicles — Two Mutually-Empowering Crises

The coronavirus epidemic and the obesity epidemic continue to assist one another with cooperation so perfect, if it were practiced by humans, both those epidemics would long ago have scuttled away with their tails between their legs. Instead, as we saw from the previous post, their numbers continue to go nowhere but up.

Let’s call them Covie and Obie for short — although in their private moments the two bosom buddies no doubt have much more adorable pet names for each other. What a partnership! They have so much in common, starting with the simple matter of credibility.

There are still plenty of folks who think childhood obesity is no big deal. “Kids are running around all the time, burning off calories. They’ll lose their baby fat. Why do schools waste money on fitness instead of the Three R’s?” Likewise, there are still scads of people who don’t believe that children catch, spread, or die from the virus. People who barely even acknowledge the existence of either Obie or Covie are hardly going to get all excited about the collusion of the two.

All kinds of ugly confrontations

For AP News, David Pitt reported,

The rise of the delta variant and beginning of the school year have dramatically increased the risks children face during the coronavirus pandemic… The group said the prevalence of pediatric COVID-19 has skyrocketed since the school year began, with 20% of all child cases since the beginning of the pandemic diagnosed between Aug. 13 and Sept. 16.

This alarming information comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and specifically from that organization’s Iowa chapter. A lawsuit is happening because the state’s governor signed a law prohibiting school boards from requiring COVID-prevention masks in schools. The governor and many of the state’s citizens believe that parents should decide on an individual basis.

Other parents are very unhappy, and so is a disability rights group called The Arc of Iowa. As of mid-September, with the epidemic in effect for not even two full years, 5.5 million American children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 — and that doesn’t even include the undeterminable number of undiagnosed cases. The state itself has chalked up more than 56,000 known cases in children since the beginning. (Only three Iowan children have died from it, as compared to, for instance, Texas, with 79 child deaths total.)


The governor and her backers claim that masks interfere with breathing. They say that nose and mouth coverings prevent children from developing language skills and social skills, and are harmful especially to children with anxiety issues. The other side says that kids with weakened immune systems, lung and heart conditions, Down’s syndrome, and other chronic problems go to school too, and should not be put at risk.

There are many reasons why parents want in-person school, and obesity is one of them. Nobody wants America’s youth sitting around all day watching TV and eating snacks. School imposes at least a moderate bit of energy-burning exercise. There is a case to be made for the idea that school with masks is better than no school, but some folks don’t see it that way.

Meanwhile, Obie and Covie remain the best of friends, wreaking havoc wherever they go. Until October 11, school districts can declare mask mandates in Iowa. After that, who knows?

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Pediatricians group warns of COVID-19 spread among children,”, 09/30/21
Images by annabellaphoto and loic somb/CC BY-ND 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