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Pick a pandemic: why is COVID the only one that matters?

Suppose you had a pandemic where people’s lifestyles and everyday behaviours were so detrimental to their health that you had to take drastic action. Like maybe enforced quarantines and lockdowns, and a complete ban on certain social activities – such as going to pubs and restaurants?

Let’s also say that this pandemic kills 2.8 million people a year worldwide. And that it kills more than 30,000 people a year in the UK, is directly responsible for 11,117 hospital admissions a year in the UK (we could call them “cases”) and, say 876,000 admissions where it was a factor.

What if this pandemic was also a PREVENTABLE background risk factor causing heart disease, diabetes and cancer?

Do you think we would have a public health problem that might even more serious than COVID?

You’d be right, of course. And I bet many of you have already guessed I’m talking about obesity.

The actual death toll from obesity in the UK is unknown. Our Office of National Statistics says that obesity is rarely documented on death certificates. “Therefore, the number of deaths with an underlying cause, or mention of obesity on the death certificate is likely to be an underestimate of the true number of deaths where obesity was a contributing factor”, says the ONS.

This pandemic has been rolling on for YEARS. So where’s the lockdown? Where’s the ban on obese people going to fast food chains? Where’s the enforced “distancing” from junk food? Why aren’t “at risk” people being quarantined with their food supply controlled?

In response to a recent anti wasting food campaign in China, one restaurant asked diners to weigh themselves and enter measurements into an app that then recommended appropriate menu items. I thought that was a great idea.

Does that all sound a bit much? But we’re putting up with it for SARS/COVID. So isn’t it about time that “public health” authorities did something equally drastic for the pandemics already among us? (And obesity is just one of them.)

But the real question may be why are we listening to “public health” idiots at all? How can anyone specialising in public health dare show their face? These unelected authority figures seen pontificating and predicting all over the media, deferred to by governments, have a track record of failure. They’ve shown us they have no answers for obesity, nor for heart disease and cancer. They have NO IDEA what to do about the UK’s leading cause of death: Alzheimer’s and dementia…and yet we let them tell us what to do about COVID.

Ironically, obesity is a major risk factor for severe COVID disease. Obese people expel more virus particles, and for longer, when they are infected. They are less likely to respond to vaccines. The UK has the largest number of obese people in Europe. The UK has had more COVID deaths per million than any other country in Europe (apart from Belgium, which has a unique recording/reporting system). Let’s hear it for public health!

Goodbye Public Health England!

Turns out we weren’t the only ones concluding that PHE was not fit for purpose. Government has scrapped it. PHE’s failures include the “Eatwell Guide” that told the public to base all their meals on potatoes, bread, rice and pasta, recommended switching to unsaturated vegetable oils, and included fruit juices for hydration. More recently we called out PHE for failing to bring nutrition into the COVID-19 discussion – it ignored or fudged evidence on vitamin C, D and zinc, and, obviously, it has been completely ineffective on obesity and our other pandemics.

About these masks…

In mid-August, ONS statistics showed flu had killed more people than coronavirus in the UK for eight straight weeks. When flu and pneumonia are combined, they are killing almost seven times as many. Incidence of flu may be down compared to this time last year, but why aren’t masks and social distancing stopping flu completely, if – as we’re told – they are so effective against SARS-Cov-2?

Simon Martin

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