Coronavirus Chronicles — Not Looking Good for Kids

All the comforting stories that people used to tell themselves about COVID-19 having a low impact on children have fallen apart. Kids are in terrible shape. The basic dilemma is that childhood obesity, already at an all-time high when the pandemic struck, is a prominent risk factor for catching the virus.

Although people are likely to lose weight when acutely ill, the effects of “long COVID” are totally designed to create more obesity in the future. When people suffer from circulatory and lung aftereffects, and are so physically depleted that a walk across the room is too much exercise, those who are unable to recover full function will not stay thin for long. The sedentary lifestyle forced onto people who are too weak to meet the demands of daily existence cannot help but lead to another wave of increased obesity.

Scary stories

Meanwhile, journalists report on individual cases that personalize the situation. Michael Daly wrote about a 16-year-old South Carolina boy who lost his appetite and vomited frequently, which are not typical COVID symptoms. He was taken to an urgent care facility and tested negative for COVID and positive for the flu. But over the next week, he just got sicker and was admitted to the hospital — still testing negative for COVID. Then he was airlifted to another hospital, where he tested negative once more — but was diagnosed with MIS-C. Daly writes,

They explained that the condition is a delayed inflammatory response to COVID that can come as if from nowhere weeks or even months after an infection — even an asymptomatic one… The syndrome had simultaneously attacked Branson’s heart, kidneys, and liver.

This led to five days on a ventilator and a 24-hour dialysis treatment. The young patient pulled through and was ultimately discharged from the hospital with eight different prescription medications. Incidentally, a study was in progress at the same time which ultimately pointed to the conclusion that MIS-C is preventable by vaccination against COVID-19.

Professionals and Social Media

Childhood Obesity News has mentioned several times how doctors and nurses are using informal channels like Twitter to quickly spread and collect information about what is going on in emergency rooms, intensive care units, hospital wards, and primary care practices, all over the country and the world.

Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, for instance, notes that during a two-week period in Utah, 140 children were hospitalized with COVID. At the same time, in Britain, the hospital admissions for children ages 6-17 hit record totals, and the same thing has been happening in South Africa.

Especially for younger children, the notion that the Omicron variant is “mild” begins to appear ludicrous. Little kids struggle to breathe through massive secretions and need supplementary oxygen. A doctor’s wife wrote about a patient of her husband’s, 20 years old and otherwise completely healthy, on ECMO (the machine that does the work of the heart and lungs — in other words, total life-support).

One lung has just about disintegrated. Waiting on transplant but the other lung is going to be gone soon. STOP CALLING IT MILD.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Terrifying Post-COVID Syndrome Makes Comeback in South Carolina Kids,” TheDailyBeast.com,01/22/22
Source: “CDC: Vaccination effective against MIS-C,” musc.edu, 01/11/22
Source: Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing), Twitter, 01/22/22
Image by Eden, Janine and Jim/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:

Presentations

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