Carrying excess fat around makes it easier for coronavirus to do its virus thing.
Keep in mind that despite the obese being more at risk than healthy people, only 332 people under 45 years of age have died in the UK from coronavirus.
Just like the flu, the virus is mostly just a threat for very old people.
The reason why obese people may be more at risk of dying from coronavirus could be because their fat cells make large amounts of a protein used by the infection to infiltrate human cells.
The coronavirus – scientifically called SARS-CoV-2 – latches onto ACE-2 receptors, known as the ‘gateway’ into cells inside body.
Fat cells express ACE-2 receptors, which experts say may explain why obese people have higher odds of suffering a severe bout of COVID-19.
ACE-2 is also expressed in the fat cells of people with type 2 diabetes – another high-risk health condition driven by obesity.
Some researchers now believe diabetes drugs could be used to fight the infection – and admitted that losing weight may also have a benefit.
The scientists who posed the theory, from Germany and the US, also outlined how fat cells are linked to a lung-scarring condition called pulmonary fibrosis.
With COVID-19 added on top, the lungs would struggle to get enough oxygen to the rest of the body.
In a ‘perspective’ paper published in the journal Obesity, the researchers explained the link between obesity and COVID-19 that has emerged.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) is the entry point for the virus. Its spiky surface binds to the receptors and, from there, replicates.
Dr Ilja Kruglikov of Wellcomet GmbH in Germany, wrote ACE-2 is ‘widely expressed’ in fat cells called adipocytes in obese people and type 2 diabetics.
Fat might therefore ‘serve as a viral reservoir’, warned Dr Kruglikov and his colleague Philipp Scherer of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.
Professor Scherer said people with obesity should be extra stringent to prevent catching the coronavirus.
He said: ‘Individuals with obesity at the upper end of the spectrum fall into a high-risk category at multiple levels and should exercise additional caution not to expose themselves.’
How about individuals with obesity exercise additional caution not to expose themselves to food instead?
They’re likelier to die from heart disease than they are to die from coronavirus-related stuff.
Obesity-related diseases are what’s really threatening the obese.
Coronavirus should be the last of their concerns.