Kids, COVID, and Numbers

For the longest time, a lot of people got away with saying that children don’t catch COVID-19, or if they do catch it, they don’t get very sick or don’t stay sick for very long. In some minds, those inaccuracies are still held as truths.

A year ago in the USA and the world, conditions were sporadically and randomly loosening up. At the same time when more deadly new virus variants appeared in Montana, the state’s governor rescinded all mask mandates. In America at the time, there had been at least 600,000 COVID fatalities, but only 113 of them had been children younger than five years.

Meanwhile in Brazil, the new strains were killing babies and young children at an unprecedented rate. In June two doctors voiced their concerns to The New York Times. They are Dr. Peter J. Hotez, professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology, and Dr. Albert I. Ko, whose area of expertise is the epidemiology of microbial diseases. They pointed out that in Brazil, more than 2,200 children younger than 10 had died of COVID, and that total included more than 900 kids under five.

At the same time, word came from Israel that most of their recent cases were the new and greatly feared Delta variant — and half of those fresh victims were children:

Israel’s Health Ministry recommended […] that the country vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds, following the outbreaks of the Delta variant of coronavirus in the country. However, only about four percent of children in this age group have been vaccinated against the virus.

In late summer, Great Britain experienced a “third wave” of COVID and paradoxically decided to loosen preventive restrictions to the point of almost abandoning them altogether. The Lancet reported on five big objections to that policy:

First, unmitigated transmission will disproportionately affect unvaccinated children and young people who have already suffered greatly.

Second, high rates of transmission in schools and in children will lead to significant educational disruption…

Third, […] the government’s strategy provides fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants.

Fourth, […] significant impact on health services and exhausted health-care staff.

Fifth, […] these policies will continue to disproportionately affect the most vulnerable and marginalised, deepening inequalities.

These are all strong arguments that seemingly should stand up anywhere. Childhood Obesity News will continue to look at the tug-of-war between COVID-19 restriction loosening and restriction tightening as it has continued to play out over the past months.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Brazil, India COVID-19 variants reported in Montana,”, 05/08/21
Source: “Why Are So Many Children in Brazil Dying From Covid-19?,”, June 4, 2021
Source: “PM Bennett: Israel Facing ‘New Coronavirus Outbreak’,”, 06/22/21
Source: “Mass infection is not an option: we must do more to protect our young,”, 07/07/21
Image by Jernej Furman/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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