The United States has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. More than 40% of American adults are obese, which means they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Almost 10% of American adults qualify as severely obese, defined as having a BMI of 40 or more. Of those with extreme obesity — defined as a BMI of 40 or more —the risk of death from COVID-19 is 17 times higher.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses inherent in an underfunded public health system, a monopolized hospital, and a fractured medical supply chain.
A great deal of medicine can be boiled down to basic pattern recognition. Advance knowledge enables one to be better prepared—forewarned is forearmed. Supportive interventions instituted at home, the hospital or even the intensive care unit, could improve patient survival. After learning more about this research, the fact I had “flu-like” symptoms without a fever, was oddly reassuring. Hopefully, readers will find this information as comforting as I did. Thankfully, my test came back negative. And I will never take smelling my gardenias for granted again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the face of education in America; however, we must minimize the profoundly adverse social, developmental, and health costs to our children. Research shows by implementing new protocols, schools can be re-opened safely and effectively.
Wearing a face mask to reduce spread of Covid-19 and touting condom use to diminish transmission of HIV and other STDs are essentially the same thing. Masking up should not be a question of politics, gender, or education. It is no more “negative” emotionally to cover our face and protect our neighbor than it is to wrap our naughty bits with latex and protect our sexual partner.
As a pediatrician, I am even more concerned about those students who are homeless, food insecure, or being exposed to violence more regularly at home as a result of school closure. School is the one place where children can feel safe, fed, and supported. Children with disabilities—who receive speech, language, and other therapies—have been unable to continue their specialized services at school, which are essential to foster learning and development.
We already know it is the responsibility of every one of us in Kitsap County to slow the spread of Covid-19. In this second column on the subject, I want to focus on the next steps for our community. The most effective nonpharmacological intervention within our reach is to close schools proactively for a lengthy time period. And in the next 800 words, I hope to convince our educators and the public.
To be honest, our lives will not be saved by the government. And lives will not be saved by elected officials or large institutions. Lives will not be saved by a miracle vaccine this year either. Lives will be saved by everyday decisions made by responsible citizens in Washington State and the rest of the nation.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we’ve got to keep attention on that.” Yes. Let’s keep our attention on the members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and especially the nurses who are fighting for our very lives.
Piper was the first and the only patient in nearly 20 years of practice for whom I have signed the birth certificate and the death certificate. 100 years ago, country doctors did that sort of thing frequently, but today, it is rare. It remains one of the hardest things I have ever done as a physician.