If you’re under sixty, you have a much higher risk of dying from Covid if you’re obese. That’s an inconvenience truth that gets little publicity in our easily offended age. From Alex Berenson at alexberenson.substack.com:
Hint: not because the risks are similar.
In 1981, doctors in New York and Los Angeles saw healthy young men sicken and die within months, their immune systems apparently destroyed.
The deaths set off a frantic search for the culprit. By 1983 virologists had identified a novel pathogen they would call Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
Over the next decade, scientists learned much more about HIV, which early on had a fatality rate close to 100 percent, worse even than Ebola or smallpox. Ultimately they tamed it – perhaps the greatest success for scientific and medical research in the late 20th century.
But the political story of AIDS is much trickier. Scientists realized quickly that gay men and intravenous drug users were at far higher risk of contracting HIV than the general public. But they feared people might not support funding for AIDS research – and stigmatize those groups further – if they explained that reality openly.
So they didn’t.
As Smithsonian Magazine reported in 2013:
“Federally-funded campaigns sought to address a large number of people from all backgrounds–male, female, homosexual or heterosexual. The America Responds to AIDS campaign, created by the CDC, ran from 1987 to 1996 and became a central part of the “everyone is at risk” message…”
The deception probably increased the public’s willingness to fund research. But it came with serious side effects. Smithsonian went on to explain:
“Some AIDS organizations, especially those providing service to communities at the highest risk for contracting HIV, saw the campaign as diverting money and attention away from the communities that needed it the most.”
It also caused needless fear in people at vanishingly low risk, especially heterosexual women.
Perhaps most important, it was fundamentally untrue.