Coronavirus Chronicles — The Sicker Quicker Phase

For a long time, COVID-19 was believed to exclusively haunt older people, especially if they were overweight. Last summer, around 97% of all COVID-hospitalized patients were unvaxxed, and large segments of society were acting as if the danger had passed and everything should be wide open. Then, “youngification” began to set in.

In early August of 2021, the death of a 28-year-old was noteworthy. The ICU admission of an 18-year-old was news. A 33-year-old bodybuilder was astonished to learn that he was infected. The spotlight turned on the diagnosed young, especially if they were unvaccinated. In all fairness, older and more vulnerable people had been prioritized for shots. It was not until months later that personal responsibility became such a factor.

As “younger, sicker, quicker” became a slogan among medical personnel, the Delta variant was blamed. Some professionals were saying it felt like an entirely different disease. Health care institutions, colleges, and some other places started to get serious about requiring that participants be immunized. Now, with the notorious Omicron strain active, those days seem quaintly old-fashioned.

Summer of disbelief

In early August, yet another super-fit man in his early 40s posthumously made the news. Indeed, this was becoming a common occurrence. John Eyers, described as “an Ironman and keen mountain climber,” refused vaccination and died after being ill with COVID for a month. The wrinkle is, his twin sister, who was vaccinated, remained healthy and lived to mourn him. She told the press, “The only pre-existing health condition he had was the belief in his own immortality. He thought if he contracted COVID he would be OK.” Before being placed on a ventilator, Eyers did say that he wished he had taken the shots.

Another patient put into a medically induced coma and hooked up to a ventilator was the Denver Broncos’ formerly healthy, active coach for fitness and nutrition, Bill Phillips. He had not expected to catch the virus twice. A few months earlier, at 56, he went through a bout of COVID, and assumed that he would be immune, and not need vaccination. Phillips told reporter James Crump that the mistake had nearly cost his life:

When you come this close to death, your entire being deteriorates on every level… you don’t just wake up and go on living your life. I have to rebuild my body, mind, and entire life from the ground up.

This act of standing for a couple seconds, with a lot of support, was definitely harder than a 600 lbs squat and more painful than I can ever describe.

The point is, healthy people catch the disease. Young people catch it. It is caught by people who are both young and healthy. Nobody can afford to take anything for granted. The financial aspect alone is horrifying. If we thought student loan debt was onerous, wait till we see the bills for youthful coronavirus.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Is the Delta Variant Making Younger Adults ‘Sicker, Quicker’?,”, 08/03/21
Source: “‘Super fit’ twin dies of COVID aged 42 in UK after refusing vaccine…,”, 08/05/21
Source: “Former Broncos Coach Lost 70 Pounds, Made ‘Mistake’ Not Getting Vaccinated,”, 08/25/21
Image by UNDP Ukraine/CC BY-ND 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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