The Health Ramifications of Lockdowns By Mrs Vera West
Lockdowns across the West during the Covid-1984 freak-out were allegedly to flatten the curve. But, no sooner are Covid cases discovered than the country or state closes its borders, in shutdown mode. Businesses fail, jobs are lost.
But, there are health consequences of the lockdowns, maybe far worse than the disease itself! Consider:
“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).
Likewise, especially at the beginning of the crisis, governors around the nation closed playgrounds, national parks, and hiking trails, another policy choice that simply deprived people of the opportunity to engage in healthy outdoor activities. Mercifully, many of these orders have been reversed following significant pushback from the public, although never with an admission on the part of government officials that such measures were detrimental to public health.
While exercise is vital for overall health, significant research suggests that those who are struggling with obesity require dietary changes in order to lose weight. Predictably, the shutdown strategy, which entailed people working from homemuch more often or exclusively, led to a sharp increase in unhealthy eating habits. People began snacking on processed foods in much greater quantities, in large part to ease stress, giving Mondelez International — the manufacturer of Oreos — and other unhealthy, processed snacks cause to celebrate.
The exhortations of the “stay home” crowd, as well as the implementation of measures such as gym and park closures have had the expected impact, which is that 42 percent of adults in the United States reported undesired weight gain during the past year, with an average of twenty-nine pounds. Millennials as a group fared the absolute worst, with 48 percent reporting unwanted weight gain, at an average of forty-one pounds. Suffice it to say, a significant portion of adults who in March of 2020 were not at substantial risk of a severe outcome from coronavirus now can be categorized as in an elevated risk group.”