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A Year of Quarantine, and Fatphobia Rages On


This week marks one full year since most of the world went under quarantine due to the coronavirus. The lockdown was supposed to be temporary, and we tried to find ways to cope with our sudden downtime. Some of us played board games. Some of us tried out hobbies like sewing, or downloaded apps like TikTok to pass the time. But most of us just stayed home.


As COVID-19 cases were increasing, so was fatphobia. Here we are, in an actual epidemic where half a million people in the U.S. alone have died from COVID-19 and there are still rallying around “the obesity epidemic” as the top threat to our society.


Soon, we heard jokes about “the quarantine 15” as people died from COVID-19. Pelton became a coveted fitness item and was backordered for months. As lockdown continued on, a survey by the Mizzou College of Human Environmental Sciences found that more than 40 percent felt it was worse to gain weight during self-quarantine than to contract COVID-19. People who were legitimately sick were overlooked as COVID-19 patients were given preferential treatment and died.


Obese people were considered more susceptible to the coronavirus than thinner people. A recent study has shown those with a Body Mass Index of 45 and over had a higher chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19. However, when some states began offering the vaccine to those with a BMI over 30, those who were eligible had mixed feelings about it.


There are some people of the school of thought that if the vaccine is being offered to you, then take it. But then there are the naysayers who take to social media, acting as armchair doctors, who oppose that anyone considered obese will get treatment before them. Do a search on Twitter, and you’ll read countless objections to people’s BMI getting “special” treatment. But is it? When there are studies using data from hospitals with patients contracting COVID-19 with a high BMI, there is no debate. For once, the BMI is working to the advantage of a person who is 30 or above on the chart. We are worthy of the vaccine.


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