‘I just want it to get back to normal’, the most talked about topic early in to 2021. 11 months ago at the start of this pandemic, the initial goal was to limit the spread not to overwhelm hospitals and keep the death count low. We acknowledged Herd Immunity, as other nations have, as the long term inevitability while protecting the most vulnerable. Yet still here we are in a prolonged state of emergency despite settling in with a 1.7% mortality (see statistics evidence below from WHO). We’ve uncovered the most vulnerable are the chronically ill and inflamed, albeit, particularly older than 65 previously. Yet even some thought to be healthy fall victim and it appears much higher in concentration in the African and latin communities. The overwhelming majority of those at risk seem to have something in common - underlying inflammation. Obesity, chronic health conditions, even poor lifestyle (nutrition) has been identified among significant risk factors*. What we know from this is that it causes underlying immune dysregulation, or imbalance of our immune cells, causing more damage to us in the process of attacking the virus. As this is the accepted mechanism for how Covid is so fatal, lifestyle modification should be the most pressing issue on the media today.
While Nearly 50% of those infected interestingly don't go on to develop a symptom over 80% of those who do, develop a mild reaction* where 5% have more than moderate response and are in highest need of early intervention. Florida has taken that very seriously by putting them first in line for vaccination in hopes this helps, encouraging protection in older communities who are known to have amongst the highest chronic diseases and fatality from this virus (>80%). To date this appears to have worked well given Florida as a state retains one of the lowest case fatality ratio (deaths among infected, the key statistic to look at) in the US despite it being the 3rd largest state by population and among the highest elderly populations. Meanwhile opposing that, states that closed aren’t looking too good.
More and more data is accumulating revealing that these lockdowns are not showing clear benefit on risk or fatality reduction*. In fact, in California, Governor Newsom shutting down restaurant dining has suggested this may have caused even more surges by encouraging more crowded and less safe private gatherings. To understand this better, let’s go back to examine states and nations that did the opposite. Sweden received a lot of flack initially for its general policy to remain open and encourage herd immunity, and still does. While it appears to have had a slightly higher case fatality in the early months, to date it is now similar to most other nations within Europe and fairing better than the UK, despite criticisms*. including along with Finland, its neighbor, who’s approach was to shut down. This implies some benefit to remaking open many are still postulating from a faster herd immunity response to benefits being outside with more vitamin D exposure, a known benefit in this disease. Perhaps its simply the lack of stressing over the fear of death, after all this increases cortisol a known factor in chronic health conditions. Meanwhile countries like Peru with the strictest lockdowns have experienced some of the highest fatality rates according to the WHO. Let’s extrapolate that within our own country and see similarities. Florida, as mentioned one of the largest states with some of the oldest population happens to rank among the lower half of states in covid death rates as we know took a more open approach.
More positive test numbers actually may indicate just that, just numbers. More people are gaining immunity (through spread and herd immunity) and is not a reflection of a problem as opposed to the aforementioned case fatality ratio that has remained stable. While doing everything possible to protect the most vulnerable we cannot afford to cause more harm in it’s wake.
Unfortunately, covid related restrictions have significant consequences. The raging economic turmoil resulting in mass unemployment is both deeply saddening but contributing to rising homelessness, trends towards obesity, and mental health issues including suicide. Mom and pop business promoting healthy lifestyle and nutrition have forcibly closed or dwindle meanwhile fast food chains and soda companies have profited heavily this year. If this continues, the ramifications in 2021 and beyond may look to be worse than the virus itself. Obesity, an alarming 60% of the population in the US, is on track to worsen and this happens to be one of the highest risk factors in itself for covid. So as a society what do we do about this? The answer may be starting right at you in the mirror.
What is now needed more than ever is to diminish the most significant reversible risk factors, the ones in our control, the one’s that cause our population the most chronic health issues besides just covid. Our individual responsibility to be well. Getting outside, exercising routinely, and an anti-inflammatory nutrition is critical even boasted by the CDC’s website. This should be broadcasted on every news station, 24 hr a day if we must so we can lower the mortality rate even further. For those who can’t or simply unwilling as there will be, at the least we are hopeful a or multiple vaccines may end up helping them in prevention. What is clear is that those healthy and young can improve long term health as well as optimize prevention of covid through good lifestyle leaving society to only have to worry about the smaller fraction of at risk. Being out in sunlight exposure and living without mandated fear is obviously the first step as these may be having some of the worst consequences on health from vitamin insufficiency to stress damage on the body.
With all the people moving out of California and New York which have shutdown to places like Florida we see the infection rates/mortality actually remains steady and may be the time to reach out to our representatives to elicit these facts in hopes of change. Amazing treatments, thanks to the advancements of medical and natural research have undoubtedly saved many lives further lowering the death count and even printing need for hospitalizations to being now a very manageable condition and support this fear minimizing strategy. With treatments that have shown to significantly decrease mortality like high dose vitamin D and Ivermectin, to IV vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which has shown to help benefit oxygenation in critically ill patients on ventilators, shorten the disease course in lesser ill and prevent complications of the disease*3 we are making great strides towards coming out stronger from this than we went in. While treatments are continuing to improve