Ok, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. YES, the coronavirus is a scary illness and should be taken extremely seriously. YES, it can kill you if you’re not careful. And despite what most people seem to be saying, YES the government is doing everything they can to prevent its spread and find an effective treatment. NO, it’s not as simple as going to your doctor and getting meds or a vaccine to cure it. NO, you should not start digging your grave and buying your funeral flower arrangements if you think you might have it.
Here’s most of what you need to know about the coronavirus so you can inform your loved ones and friends on the truth, or just sound like a smarty-pants in your office.
It’s called the coronaVIRUS! It is not a bacterial infection!
This will be the longest section so stick with me! It’s important to understand WHY this virus is so hard to treat. Many healthcare clinicians have been fighting the good fight against this ignorance for years, this is nothing new. There is a big difference in the way a virus causes sickness and how a bacterium does in the body. Our bodies are like a medieval castle, strong and fortified with many defenses to protect the good people and resources inside. A bacterium is a single-celled organism that infects the body and SOMETIMES causes disease. Our body is filled with and covered by bacteria all the time, and only a select few actually make us sick. These select few are called pathogenic or “disease-causing” bacteria. Once, in the body, a bacterium has to battle its way to its destination. It is a knight trying to save the princess in the tall tower of the castle, using its tools and weapons to fight off our body’s immune system defenders on its way to the fair maiden. If it survives and arrives at its final destination, the result is the same as any good rescue story; they fall in love and multiply. Once enough little bacterial children are running around causing chaos, disrupting castle meetings, messing with the fireplaces to raise the heat, overflowing the sewage systems, the body begins to show symptoms and you are “sick”. Your doctor prescribes antibiotics. Antibiotics don’t just kill the bad bacteria; they kill mostly EVERYTHING good and bad. Real dragon fire, death from above type stuff for bacteria, and the infection is stopped. The drugs disrupt a cell’s membrane, the contents spill out, and the cell dies. The workers of the castle repair the damage, and all is well in the kingdom again after awhile.
A virus is more like a spy, an assassin that sneaks its way past your defenses and hides out in one of the empty and secluded basement rooms of your castle. It can hide out for weeks sometimes before causing any problems. This time is called the incubation period. Instead of replicating and multiplying itself in your body directly, a virus will “take over” your own cells, injecting its own genetic code into your cells and changing their job. The new cell’s only job is to create more viruses now. The spy is now brainwashing the castle staff into fighting for it now, building its own army. Once enough cells are infected with viruses, the army starts to attack from the inside. The castle defenders fight back and hold the army at bay, but they can’t seem to find the original spy. Antibiotics can do NOTHING to fight a virus. A virus is not a “cell” technically. A cell is all the components that constitute a “living thing” surrounded by a membrane to hold it all in. A virus is just a bundle to genetic code, surrounded by a protein shell. There is no membrane or life-giving contents to disrupt, so an antibiotic just ignores a virus. It’s like that dragon fire cannot reach the basement the virus is hiding in, so it continues its scheme uninterrupted. While antiviral drugs can search out and destroy the virus, it has to be SPECIFICALLY made to find this particular virus’ genetic code. The problem is, no virus is exactly the same, and this strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2) is a new virus. It’s the same reason why people get a flu vaccination every year, to fight the newest strain of the flu virus. Not enough is known about its genetic code, so no vaccine or drug has been made to fight it yet. The best thing you can do to fight back right now is to recruit more defenders for your castle; bolster your immune system and stockpile your resources by getting good nutrition and plenty of fluids.
Is the coronavirus really THAT dangerous?
Yes, the coronavirus is a serious concern and should be considered dangerous, but not for the reasons most people think. While it can cause severe illness in some people, those people tend to be malnourished, elderly, or immune-compromised in some way. Many people who get the disease already have other illnesses as well as lowering their immune defenses. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports “Approximately one-third to one-half of reported patients had underlying medical comorbidities, including diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. In another study, they state “compared to patients not admitted to an intensive care unit, critically ill patients were older (median age 66 years versus 51 years), and were more likely to have underlying co-morbid conditions (72% versus 37%).” (1)
The vast majority of people show MILD symptoms. The most common symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The problem is the majority of patients reported as “positive” with coronavirus are already hospitalized or ill and are showing severe symptoms. So how do you differentiate between mild coronavirus symptoms and the dozens of other illnesses that cause the exact same symptoms? That, my friends, is why this disease is so dangerous. With the careless nature of our society when it comes to proper quarantine and disease prevention procedures (handwashing, covering your mouth when coughing, etc) and the lack of immunity of the population to this particular virus, the rate at which the disease is spreading is concerning. People do not realize that they are infected, they go about their daily life, and are unknowingly spreading the virus via respiratory droplets (tiny fluid pockets in the air we breathe out). Eventually, these infected people with only mild symptoms will come in contact with the already ill, the elderly, or an immune-compromised person and infect them. That new person will be the one that has the severe symptoms and may be hospitalized or pass away due to the virus.
“I heard it’s only in China. Is the United States in trouble?”
While the initial reports of the virus outbreak began in Wuhan, China in early January 2020, the outbreak has now run rampant throughout much of Asia, Europe, and has made its way across seas to the US. Epidemiological studies are tracing the outbreak back to market places in China in which the patients contracted the virus from an animal source, likely snakes or bats. According to statistics from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, as of March 11, 2020, the United States is currently 8th in the world in confirmed cases with a “positive” laboratory result with 1,025 cases and 7th in the world with 28 deaths. China is still 1st with almost 81,000 confirmed cases and 3161 deaths. Italy has almost 10,150 confirmed cases and 631 deaths. (2)
So while the majority of cases are overseas, the virus has found its way to America. As we discussed, the virus tends to severely affect the chronically ill, those with heart disease and high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and immune system conditions. It is no secret that the US population has a major problem with all of these conditions, much high than the majority of the world. The2019 Report of Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics from the American Heart Association shows that the US has the following rates of chronic disease for adults ages 20 and above: obesity 36.3%, high blood pressure 46.0%, diabetes mellitus 9.8% and pre-diabetes 37.6%, and total cardiovascular diseases 48.0%. (3)
With America’s current health status and the ease and frequency of travel for the average American, it is very conceivable that the virus could start to spread rapidly in communities and across the country, causing severe illness in many that it affects. While the CDC still rates the general American public as “unlikely to be exposed” and “low risk,” the virus is here and starting to spread. So, it’s time for us to take precautions!
What can YOU do to prevent exposure and spread?
The simplest and most effective way to prevent catching the coronavirus is the same old stuff they taught you in elementary school to avoid catching any sort of illness: avoid close interactions with anyone who might be sick and stay at home away from others is YOU might be sick, cover your mouth/nose when you cough or sneeze, frequently disinfect commonly touched surfaces like your phone, desk, countertops, door handles, or anything else multiple people may touch every day, and wash your hands WITH SOAP AND WATER for Pete’s sake! Use the resources available to inform yourself and stay updated on the coronavirus. It’s not 1300’s Europe, and the virus is not a result of the planets aligning to cause bad air or ghosts in your blood. The CDC has fantastic resources for you to stay up to date on the latest, like this wonderful link below.
If you think you are sick or have come into contact with someone who is sick, contact your doctor immediately and be tested. Current research is showing that symptoms begin to appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. There is no definitive answer on how long an infected person is contagious or how long the symptoms will last, so please follow your doctor’s instructions on staying isolated and when to be retested, even if you are feeling better.
So, before you start planning your evacuation to a new planet to escape the coronavirus, do me a favor. Take a deep breath! Stress hormones lower your immune system so quit freaking out. Stay informed to see if the virus is in your area, take precaution to not be exposed or expose others, and take care of your overall health on a daily basis so you can fight off minor infections like the coronavirus and not allow it to become the monster that everyone wants it to be.
For more information about the “deadly” coronavirus, watch this video from Dr. David Seaman, DC, MS, and the author of The Deflame Diet and founder of Deflame Nutrition.
(1)Management of Patients with Confirmed 2019-NCoV.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Feb. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html.
(2)“Situation Update Worldwide, 11 March 2020.” European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 29 Feb. 2020, http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/geographical-distribution-2019-ncov-cases.
(3)Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2019 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association
Dr. Gary Cervone