Coronavirus: When China Sneezes, the whole world gets MORE THAN a cold…
Coronavirus an intro
Surely everyone has heard the news. Outbreak of a new virus that people are dying from. The virus started in China and authorities there under reported and thus failed to contain it. Now it has begun its spread around the globe.
I want to get ahead of a lot of the questions we at Formula Wellness are about to (or have already) received. To do that I want to answer questions not in some abstract way but the way myself as a potential patient would think about it:
What is this virus and why is it different?
How likely is this going to spread and affect me or people I know?
Is there anything I can do to lower my chances of getting it?
What can I do if I do get it?
What are the other impacts (healthcare wise) I need to think about or plan for?
Before we get started (and because I write long posts) I want to put a summary right here at the top of what to do about COVID-19:
1) WASH YOUR HANDS. A LOT. Use antimicrobial gel. Consider the use of gloves during travel, or while in very populous areas. This helps remind you to not touch an object and not touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Don’t worry about wearing a mask UNLESS YOU HAVE THE VIRUS.
2) Consider travelling only if necessary, avoid large crowds
3) Tank up (judiciously) on Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Zinc, Glutathione (orally and or IV). Every Day orally. Weekly on IV.
4) Consider taking Thymosin Alpha 1 as an injectable peptide to boost your immune system.
5) Prepare your home and your finances – this may be disruptive to the economy or at least our regular supply chain for months.
What is Coronavirus and COVID-19
To understand this let’s start with what this is and what it isn’t. This Coronavirus is an RNA virus. That is important because it is not a bacterium and won’t be cured with a Z-pack or even stronger antibiotics. Those work on bacteria not viruses. It is also a very specific type of virus so other anti-viral medications that are currently on the market (things like Tamiflu for the flu virus, or medications for Herpes Virus or the HIV virus) are all for very different types of viruses so they are not effective at treating or even slowing this virus. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause human disease that range in severity from mild, common cold like, to severe, like SARS (and MERS) from a decade ago that had a near 10% mortality for infected individuals.
This Coronavirus has been technically named SARS-CoV-2 and causes an illness that has now been named COVID-19. The outbreak was begun in the Wuhan region of China in the “wet markets” – open markets where livestock were butchered onsite and other animals and reptiles run free. The virus is able to spread not just from animal to human (or insect to human) like many other viruses but has the ability to spread person to person through “droplet transmission.” This means that a sneeze or cough that aerosolizes the virus will leave it on a surface that when you touch it and then when you touch your mouth or eyes – you have inoculated yourself with virus. Nobody knows yet for certain how long it lives on untreated surfaces but the initial thought that it only lasts 30 minutes appears to be wrong.
The symptoms of being infected range from being completely asymptomatic, to a bad respiratory flu like cold, to some people progressing to severe pneumonia and death. Like the flu this virus starts with animals, goes on to person to person transmission and results in respiratory symptoms. Unlike the flu which has a fraction of a percentage death rate worldwide, this has a DEATH RATE that is probably in the 2% range.
Thus IF (and that’s a big assumption) every one of the 325 Million Americans became infected with the virus and IF (huge assumption) the death rate in our 1st world medical system (as opposed to rural china) holds at 2%, nearly 6 MILLION Americans would lose their lives – more Americans than were lost in every war we have ever been involved with in the entire US history.
Scary stuff indeed.
Pandemic and US spread
Every year the Influenza virus is observed in China (in birds/chickens/and sometimes pigs) in the summer. The CDC then isolates which strains of the virus are active and the pharma companies create a vaccine to administer in North America in the fall. Transmission from bird to human happens and humans begin to travel internationally passing it from person to person and eventually in late fall the infected humans begin spreading it in the USA. Throughout the winter months around 40% of Americans get infected and pass around the virus (would be higher without vaccination). As the months roll on, the virus typically weakens and typically dissipates with the dawn of spring.
The same initial course is happening with this virus, with a few important differences. Chinese authorities quarantined the virus too late in the first province, it spread through other provinces then to surrounding countries like Korea and Japan. Travelers also spread it to Iran and Italy as well. A Princess cruise ship in Japan with over 3700 passengers and crew became a petri dish of infection with hundreds of positive cases identified and hundreds of people released to the world to spread the virus who were not quarantined. Some of these are Americans.
Thus, if there was hope of containment, it appears in recent days that hope is lost. It has just outgrown Italy and crossed the Alps into Switzerland. Iran, like china lived in denial too long and it has begun to spread across the middle east. America has had its first reported cases including the first case of someone with no known contact with someone who had been to Japan or China. Just Saturday, America had its first death.
What makes this virus dangerous is that it is a “tweener”. Not exactly like an Avian Flu Virus which has a very high (but also) quick mortality rate so although deadly, is easy to see who is infected and then quarantine them, preventing a mass pandemic. It is also unlike the common cold or flu that can be mild or just live in a carrier status and although impossible to quarantine it has a low fatality rate. It has properties of both – too subtle to be kept quarantined but higher death rate for those that get it.
Adding to this is that the initial symptoms are like a cold – and we are in the PEAK of cold and flu season. Thus, it is natural to blow it off and go about your day, travel, go to work, head to a sporting event, thus spreading the virus.
Public health authorities are giving us the earliest signs that this has broken containment and is coming to a large portion of the world population. It is looking like it is not if but when. So, the likelihood that someone you know will eventually be infected is increasing daily. It is a matter of days to weeks until people are infected broadly.
How to Not Get COVID-19
So now that you know it’s a serious virus and although 98% of people who get it don’t die that means 2% who get it do. You wouldn’t get on an airplane if you knew out of 100 airplanes taking off that hour 2 were going to crash. So how do you stay in the uninfected group?
Like the flu it is tough to prevent. It does transfer via droplet – aerosolized particles from coughing sneezing or saliva. The infected droplets are on things you touch and then you innocently touch your mouth, nose or eyes and you just got infected.
So, prevention tip number one: Wash your hands. A lot. Often. Whenever you think about it or pass a sink. Use the topical antimicrobial gels. A lot. Often.
Secondly, I do recommend if you are in the dirtiest of areas – airports, stadiums, malls – wear gloves. Why? If you touch something with a glove and then touch your eyes you would still get it. However, the gloves keep your hands clean. When it is time to touch your eyes or eat you take off your gloves first. You are just simply less likely to rub your eyes unconsciously while wearing latex gloves.
What about masks? UNLESS YOU HAVE THE VIRUS, I don’t recommend masks. First unless it is a special mask (whose prices rose from $1 a piece on amazon to $15 in the last few days), the micron size virus can get through the small pores. Second you most likely won’t get it from breathing it in like a gas, you will get it from touching a droplet and touching a wet membrane of your body. (side note if you do have COVID-19 PLEASE wear a mask – the mask will catch the droplets, so you don’t create the infectious vectors for people to inoculate with).
Next, once there are starting to be peak outbreaks in our area, consider restricting how much you travel and go out in large populous areas. This is going to make our economy take a huge hit in terms of consumer spending. I am no economist or financial advisor, but the stock market and bond markets are clearly telling us that sales are about to go down. Soccer and hockey matches in Europe are already being cancelled next week or set to be played in empty arenas.
So, after handwashing/glove use, and crowd/travel avoidance I would say boosting your immune system is next. Boosting your immune system doesn’t prevent you getting COVID-19 it just makes it more likely you are on the 98% of planes that land safely.
Which brings us to….
What to do if I or a family member get it
First get tested. Easier said than done right now as of writing this the USA only has capacity to test 500 samples a day. For the whole country. That will change rapidly over the next few weeks but yes, we cannot even test broadly for it yet. Assuming our region is not the first, this will hopefully be resolved before we have to face it.
Second, after taking the advice of your medical doctor, add in Vitamin C, B12, Zinc and Glutathione to boost and balance your immune system. This is something pretty benign and easy and I recommend most people start the above NOW. Your vitamin C daily needs go up 2000% when you have a typical respiratory cold. This is no typical cold. Best to be tanked up. I would recommend between 1000 to 3000 mg per day orally and grab an IV weekly if you can. Vitamin C can upset your stomach so ramp it up slowly and only take as tolerated.
Third I would look into a peptide called Thymosin Alpha 1 (TA1). TA1 is a naturally occurring compound that is produced by our Thymus gland that helps balance and regulate our immune cells. It shifts the balance to the side of our immune system that is better able to respond to foreign threats like viruses. It has FDA safety studies completed and all studies showed minimal to no side effects. The only downside is it cannot be administered orally. It has to be via Subcutaneous injection – using a small insulin needle to inject it below the surface of your skin. Powerful stuff, no side effects and safe it’s a pretty great choice to make.
I have many patients (and myself and Chrissy) who use it often and I have been using it daily since Jan 1 to keep me well during cold and flu season. I was planning on stopping next month but, I will continue daily use until this threat seems to pass.
Fourth, make sure you do not tough it out and go to work or public events if you are infected.
Fifth, if you feel it is more severe and supportive treatments are not helping much there are two other peptides that I won’t go into depth here on but they are called LL-37 and Pentosan Polysulfate. I am happy to go through these more in depth with anyone one on one if they want more information on these.
What else should you do
Although this is serious and as I have stated, has the potential to kill millions worldwide, this is NOT the zombie apocalypse. We don’t need bunkers; we don’t need months of hoarding of supplies. We do need to prepare though.
First and foremost, let’s go back to the stock market and economic indicators. Again, I am no financial analyst, but Chinese factories are not at production they were at. Most everything we use daily has touched something that came from China. The construction materials used to build our house, our electronics, the plastic water bottles that hold our water, packaging…and most medications are now made in China.
A life with less processed and packaged food isn’t necessarily a terrible thing but there may be unexpected shortages in certain things that are critical to you individually.
An example – I have a patient with a history of thyroid cancer. They have no thyroid gland thus they need thyroid hormone to live. I usually call in a 90-day supply for this patient. He asked me to call in a 6-month supply. Just in case. The drug has a greater than a year shelf life so not crazy, since it is life necessary, I think prudent. Are you in a similar situation with anything in your life? Maybe take an inventory of your daily routine and see if adding a prudent amount of something (that you wouldn’t throw out because it would be beyond its perishable date) that you want to increase your personal inventory on.
Take an assessment and be mindful and make prudent choices.
This virus and COVID-19 is serious and should be taking as such. I have tried to walk the line in this email/blog between being informative and urging of precautions for something I think is far more serious than the flu, but not alarmist that everyone should hunker down and hoard things in a shelter.
My really smart Economist/Financial/Wealth Management patients have told me in the past that there is an expression in Finance – “When China sneezes the whole world gets a cold.” The expressions figurative meaning – that economic downturns in that large economy leads to economic downturns in all other countries, appears to be holding true, this time however, not just figuratively, but literally as well.