Better late to the party than never for CNN. In a timid article, the apple people finally decided to give COVID advice that anyone paying attention has known for at least a year. Obesity has been a known risk factor for so long that researchers reviewed several studies in 2021 that other scientists completed in 2020. Yet, for some reason, CNN is positioning this as a revelation:
People who are overweight or obese are at a much higher risk of much more severe disease and even death from Covid-19, and one new study suggests that losing weight can reduce that risk.
The obesity epidemic has been a threat to Americans’ health for years. It’s the second leading cause of preventable death, after smoking. With Covid-19, it becomes even more dangerous. One study found that 30% of Covid-19 hospitalizations were in people with obesity.
If you know that obesity puts an individual at higher risk for severe illness, isn’t losing weight the only way to reduce the risk? How is this news or even something worth studying? The CDC has an entire page on obesity and COVID. Once again, many of the studies the agency cites go back to 2020. Some predate the pandemic and note that excess weight can impair the immune response to any pathogen.
In fact, the research community was so tuned in to the connection between severe COVID and obesity that by November of 2021, scientists had several studies demonstrating why it exists. One group found that obese patients did not make sufficient neutralizing antibodies to SARS-Cov-2. Another found a host of immune system cells and chemicals, particularly one called interleukin-6 overreacted. This overreaction, also called a cytokine storm, can be deadly. Still, another paper found obesity seemed to impact disease severity in patients under 40 more than in patients over 40.
Why this message wasn’t on the lips of every public health leader during every television appearance as soon as researchers made the connection remains a mystery. In addition to bolstering the immune system with vitamin and mineral supplements, losing weight was the one thing Americans could have done to take control of their health and improve their family’s health. As it turns out, outdoors was one of the safest places to be, even during a surge in transmission. Yet, lunatic politicians implemented lockdowns, closed fitness facilities, and filled in skate parks with sand.
As a result, 39% of Americans gained weight during the pandemic, according to a Harvard study. The news for children and teens is even worse. The percentage of children between the ages of two and 19 considered obese increased from 19% to 22% by the end of November 2020. The average amount of weight the children gained also increased during the pandemic. The CDC offered a bunch of government programs to reverse the trend. A simple one is to let them go out and play and never lock them down again. Apparently, Chicago did not learn that lesson. The city’s teachers just voted to return to distance learning, again disrupting children’s physical activity and play routines.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Dr. Debora Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci had advised this in March 2020. Here was my assessment on March 7, 2020:
I am going to the gym when I finish this article. I will wipe down the equipment before and after I use it and keep several machines between myself and other members. I will also make liberal use of the complimentary hand sanitizer and wash my hands thoroughly before I leave.
My family all works with the public or travels for work regularly. They are all on mandatory doses of vitamin C and D3. Because the NBC article noted common colds can be caused by a version of coronavirus, we will probably add zinc and have Zicam handy in case anyone develops cold symptoms. It may not help, but it can’t hurt. Plenty of fluids, good sleep and regular exercise round it out for now. Maintaining personal health seems like something positive you can do and may actually help keep COVID-19 at bay.
As it turns out, America went nearly two years with no outpatient treatments endorsed by the diminutive mastermind of the pandemic response. Fauci had to give the nod to monoclonal antibodies after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis demonstrated that they were broadly successful during the summer 2021 delta wave. However, until then, the health bureaucracy had doctors tell symptomatic Americans to go home until their lips were blue.
This lack of care for common symptoms of an upper respiratory virus was not just unprecedented. It created panic, fear, and helplessness. Even amid omicron, a reportedly milder variant, you can see the lingering fear in the percentage of the population that bought into Covidstan. Imagine if our leaders had told Americans they had some control over the severity of the disease they may suffer. Lose a few pounds and keep moving. Moderate weight loss could also lower blood sugar in type II diabetes and lower blood pressure, two other COVID risk factors.
So, let’s welcome CNN to the party. Letting people know that a healthy weight can improve their health is not fat-shaming. It is a well-documented medical fact that media and public health leaders should have been talking about for over a year. As it turns out, Americans have a significant amount of control over their personal health and susceptibility to infections like COVID. Maybe if we concentrated more on wellness, there wouldn’t be an industry built on sick care.