One of the most infuriating aspects of a year replete with illogical, short-sighted public health mandates has been the utter failure of those within the public health profession to adequately address the role that poor diet and lack of exercise have played in exacerbating the coronavirus crisis. In fact, many of the decrees ostensibly issued in the name of public health have had the effect only of aggravating the underlying problem.
A recent global study found that obesity is a “driving factor in COVID-19 deaths,” and that Covid-19 death rates are an astonishing ten times higher in countries where most adults are overweight. Although advanced age is the strongest indicator of a severe outcome from a coronavirus infection, “being overweight comes a close second,” the report determined. The CEO of the World Obesity Federation went so far as to blame the “failure to address the root causes of obesity over many decades . . . for hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths.” While the study makes evident the degree to which poor underlying health is a driving force in coronavirus deaths, we have known almost since the beginning that being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of a severe outcome.
Given this information, the Anthony Faucis and Eric Feigl-Dings of the world should focus on alerting people to the dangers of being overweight and obese, and expending significant efforts to encourage exercise and healthy diet. Instead, they have spent the past twelve months urging people to “stay home, save lives” and to wear two masks, if not three or four, a measure not shown to have mitigated coronavirus deaths at all.
In a similar vein, governors around the country have ordered gyms closed, along with countless other businesses. In New York, gyms have been open since this past summer, but patrons must wear a mask at all times, even while exercising. Due to the extreme discomfort of exercising while masked, I (Jenin) quit my gym months ago for the first time in two decades and began relying solely on outdoor forms of exercise to stay in shape. I doubt I am the only one to have done so for similar reasons.
Thus, equally counterproductive are outdoor mask mandates in states like Massachusetts, which have the pernicious effect of discouraging outdoor as well as indoor exercise. All this, despite the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) advised against wearing a mask while exercising, pointing to research demonstrating that wearing them even during mild to moderate physical activity can “lead to significant negative cardiovascular and pulmonary effects in both healthy people and those with underlying respiratory diseases.” (Of course, these findings contradicted the religion of face-coverings that has overtaken our society, so were automatically discounted, not on the merits but because they did not fit within the dominant narrative)….[ ]