COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in 2020, well behind heart disease and cancer.
A 2021 report from the World Obesity Federation found, "Globally, at the end of 2020, COVID-19 mortality rates were more than ten times higher in countries where overweight prevalence exceeds 50% of adults (weighted average 66.8 deaths per 100,000 adults) compared with countries where overweight prevalence is below 50% of adults (weighted average of 4.5 deaths per 100,000 adults)."
According to the CDC, nearly 74% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over are overweight, including obesity.
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A 2020 report by the marine conservation group OceansAsia estimates that 1.56 billion masks entered the oceans in 2020, "amounting to between 4,680 and 6,240 metric tonnes of plastic pollution."
According to the report, "These masks will take as long as 450 years to break down and all the while serve as a source of micro plastic and negatively impact marine wildlife and ecosystems."
An article published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2021 examined COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts public school districts with "different physical distancing requirements."
The authors found that student case rates were “similar in the 242 districts with ≥3 feet versus ≥6 feet of physical distancing between students.”
“Cases among school staff in districts with ≥3 feet versus ≥6 feet of physical distancing were also similar,” they added.
"Lower physical distancing policies can be adopted in school settings with masking mandates without negatively impacting student or staff safety,” the study concluded.
Using "SARS-CoV-2 infection data from the Austrian epidemiological reporting system," a paper published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2021 "aimed to evaluate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 re-infections in the general population in Austria."
The paper concluded, "Protection against SARS‐CoV‐2 after natural infection is comparable with the highest available estimates on vaccine efficacies.”
"In the first 9 weeks of in-person instruction in North Carolina schools," an article published in Pediatrics in 2021 found "extremely limited within-school secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2, as determined by contact tracing."
A 2021 research letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine says, "Despite Sweden’s having kept schools and preschools open, we found a low incidence of severe Covid-19 among schoolchildren and children of preschool age during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Among the 1.95 million children who were 1 to 16 years of age, 15 children had Covid-19, MIS-C, or both conditions and were admitted to an ICU, which is equal to 1 child in 130,000."
A cross-sectional study of U.S. COVID-19 data, published in the JAMA Pediatrics in 2021, concluded, "In light of the harm to children of closing schools, these findings suggest that policy makers should consider better leveraging the public’s willingness to protect itself through voluntary behavioral change."
Research led by University of Warwick epidemiologists examined data on school absences in the U.K. and concluded that "there is not significant evidence to suggest that schools are playing a significant role in driving spread in the community."
Forbes et al. (2020) found, “Among 2,567,671 adults >65 years there was no association between living with children and outcomes related to SARS-CoV-2. We observed no consistent changes in risk following school closure.”
An article published in Eurosurveillance found, "Among the 234 child contacts that were tested for SARS-CoV-2, two primary cases (0.9%) and no secondary cases were identified, and among the 58 adult contacts one primary case (1.7%) and no secondary cases were detected."
Analyzing data from "234,132 persons tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection in 1,594 New York City public schools during October 9–December 18, 2020," an article published in Pediatrics found that "in-person learning in New York City public schools was not associated with increased prevalence or incidence overall of COVID-19 infection compared with the general community."
An April 2021 report published by the University of Chicago compared COVID-19 cases within schools in North Carolina and Wisconsin to other places "frequented by students and staff when not in school."
"On an hourly basis, the schools studied were more than four times as safe as the places frequented by students and staff when not in school," the report found.