We must escape the COVID obesity trap

The belated confirmation of these two nearly self-evident observations ought to embarrass those who pushed, and continue to push, a curtailment of physical activity, both indoors and out, as a coronavirus-mitigation measure. Gyms were one of the first victims of coronavirus lockdowns, a perhaps-forgivable step this time last year, when we knew even less about the disease than we do now. Less forgivable, even at the time, was a general public-health messaging campaign discouraging even outdoor recreation. It was almost exactly a year ago that local governments across the country began removing basketball hoops from outdoor courts to prevent people from playing, that a California paddleboarder, alone in the ocean save for the creatures of the deep, was arrested for ignoring COVID-induced beach closures, and that a man was arrested in Colorado for playing catch in a virtually empty park with his daughter. I was perhaps more tolerant of aggressive lockdown measures early on than I should have been. But even at the time, such reactions seemed excessive to me, particularly when I saw caution tape wrapped around a playground in the town where I spent the first few months of the coronavirus era.