Get rid of exercise in the name of public health (Sweden did okay, though)

What’s the best strategy for dealing with a virus that attacks the obese and out of shape? Stay home for three months right next to the fridge.

“In Fight Against COVID-19, Physical Activity Falls Off a Cliff — Drastic change in worldwide daily step counts since March” (MedPage Today):

In the first 10 days after the World Health Organization’s March 11 declaration that COVID-19 was officially a global pandemic, smartphone users worldwide showed a 5.5% decrease in mean daily steps (287 fewer steps).

In the first 30 days, mean daily steps dropped 27.3% (1,432 fewer steps), reported the group led by Geoffrey Tison, MD, MPH, of the University of California San Francisco. Their paper was published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

For example, people in Italy had a 48.7% maximal decrease in daily steps, whereas those in Sweden showed only a 6.9% maximal reduction in steps. The difference may have stemmed from government responses, as Italy issued a lockdown on March 9, whereas Sweden has yet to implement such a measure.

(I like the last part. There is still hope among the righteous for saving Swedish souls by converting them to the Church of Shutdown.)

“This is an interesting natural experiment that has health implications for global and regional populations, and especially those with underlying chronic health conditions who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality and who may depend on routine physical activity as a preventive measure,” according to Messiah.

i.e., it will be interesting for a “scientist” (named “Messiah”! As someone who evaluates coronaplague “science” from a comparative religion point of view, this is my dream fulfilled!) to watch fat people die.

From the Newport Jazz Festival, 2005 (canceled until a hardier breed of Americans can be produced?):


9 thoughts on “Get rid of exercise in the name of public health (Sweden did okay, though)

  1. The paper acknowledges, but makes no attempt to estimate, the effects of “variability in smartphone carry and use habits,” which could be substantial.

    If I’m just going for a walk in the neighborhood, I now often choose not to take my phone, simply to avoid the need to clean it when returning. In areas with strict movement controls, people may choose not to carry their phones to avoid creating evidence of non-compliance.

    • > I now often choose not to take my phone, simply to avoid the need to clean it when returning.

      Very cool, what is you protocol for re-entry? What do you clean and how?

    • > What do you clean and how?

      I remove and set aside my wallet, keys, sunglasses, and pen, which I allow to remain potentially contaminated because they are difficult to clean or not needed inside.

      I wash my hands.

      I remove my N95 respirator and set it aside for eventual re-use, or I remove my cloth face covering and put it with the soiled laundry.

      If I visited a hospital or other higher-risk location, I also remove my clothing and shoes and take a shower.

      I wash my hands again.

      I clean my phone, if carried, and eyeglasses, if touched outside, using an EPA-registered disinfecting wipe according to the label instructions, allowing enough contact time for virucidal effectiveness.

      In the same way, I clean anything else I’ve brought in, with two exceptions:

      • If the source of an item or the passage of time makes it reasonable to assume that no active virus is present within a disposable outer container, I might instead remove and discard this, if it can be done without handling the contents.

      • If I don’t expect to need an item for at least a week, I might set it aside for that time, rather than cleaning it.

      I wash my hands again.

      This is all very tedious, of course, and I hope I’ll be able to eliminate some of these steps as more becomes known about surface transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

  2. Depending on the news source, exercise went way up when people didn’t have to commute. It was concentrated in non stepping activities & shorter outdoor distances. Swedes don’t benefit from not having to commute as much as someone in US who only makes $300,000 & can’t afford to live within 50 miles of a job.

  3. Oh come on Phil the lock down has nothing to do with public health — it is like when you wear you hair shirt. You do it not because it in and of itself will do anything positive but because the discomfort will purify you. I mean that is what is going on with the 20 somethings tightly masked and gloved as they frantically pump away on their bicycles. Soul Cycle is only mildly unpleasant while this is really unpleasant.

  4. Around me there has been a noticeable increase in people walking. The strength training guys that don’t know how to workout without a gym have been hosed. I’ve heard home weight sets have been sold out since the beginning of this religion. No doubt the change in routine affected some peoples weight but I’m guessing the chronically fit have stayed relatively fit, even if they had to learn a new way to exercise, and the fat have gotten fatter.

    • GB: I have seen about 5X the walkers and 1.5X the runners in our neighborhood. But, even considering the low density of Lincoln, it is still a small percentage of the town who are out and exercising. When it rains, of course, the exercise drops off to nothing.

    • I sold my old weightlifting set at a premium in couple minutes on FB marketplace a month ago.

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