12 May Woodstock and a Pandemic
An interesting article was circulated last week regarding how Woodstock occurred in the middle of a pandemic. The author notes that despite a pandemic that killed over 100,000 and mostly over the age of 65, that life in the U.S. went on as usual without government interference. The author gives some suggestions as to why things evolved as they did, and at minimum, it lends to a fascinating question. Why was the handling of the Hong Kong flu different?
I’m no expert but a couple things come immediately to mind when comparing the Hong Kong flu to COVID-19. Influenza affects primarily the respiratory system. The majority of the population over 65 in 1968 smoked, which probably hastened their demise. In the younger population tobacco didn’t influence one’s health as dramatically. The younger population had low rates of obesity and diabetes compared to 2019, and therefore were relatively more healthy.
Obesity and diabetes have been at epidemic levels for years in this country. Much interest has been generated regarding the role of adipocytes (fat cells) in the severity of COVID-19 infections. This may explain why obesity and diabetes are potential comorbidities for COVID-19 infections.
Review of the CDC trends in obesity are staggering. The trends noted here show how the rate of obesity (BMI >30) have risen since the 1990’s. With no vaccine in the immediate future, people can take an active role to help avoid contracting the disease by living a healthy life style. Exercise, fruits and vegetables, elimination of processed foods are a simple beginning to combat COVID-19. We are all anxious for the development of a vaccine, but until that happens, start walking, start eating better, and who knows, you might just feel better.