Hope Despite the Pandemic

As concerned Americans today we are awed by the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Who would have guessed that it would have impacted us as it has? Even flu pandemics from the past haven’t done what corona has done to our lifestyle. But then, they didn’t have the media attention that this virus has had! (Any connection to a presidential election year??) The demographics of this disease are changing so fast these days that trying to quantify its impact at any given moment is fruitless.

No need to review its Chinese origin and path of destruction since. The Center for Disease Control, in Atlanta, GA report that, though the virus can affect people of any age, the more serious infections occur in persons over 65 years old, and the highest fatality rate is in those over 85 years old. Only 5% of confirmed cases are found in persons age 19 and younger.

As of March 25, 2020, the numbers look like this:

Total cases: Total deaths: Total recovered:
China 81,171 3,277 73,159
Italy 69,176 6,820 8,326
USA 54,808 775 378
Spain 42,058 2,991 3,794
Germany 32,991 159 3,290

(The balance of the cases in each country are those who still have active disease.)

Originally, symptoms were predominantly upper respiratory (fever, cough, and shortness of breath). In recent weeks we are seeing new symptoms such as diarrhea, temporary loss of taste and smell, and occasional nausea and vomiting. The incubation period is still thought to be 2-14 days, with the possibility of a victim spreading the disease before he knows he is infected.

Thus, among the typical precautions for healthy people, are:

  • Social distancing;
  • Frequent hand washing.
  • Use hand sanitizer liberally (at home and in public).
  • Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Covering a cough or sneeze.
  • Getting enough sleep. (Critical for a strong immune system!)

And, precautions for those with symptoms:

  • Self-quarantine; (That means stay home!).
  • For mild symptoms, call your healthcare provider for directions. Don’t go to clinics/hospitals without calling first.
  • Hydrate yourself (a big boost to immune system).
  • Eat a healthy diet; avoid excesses, especially in sugar.
  • Keep a positive attitude; worry and anxiety have negative effects on the immune system. You are in the best place in the world to have this disease!
  • If symptoms worsen, call your healthcare provider for instructions.

Antibiotics don’t help against viruses but recent reports suggest that an anti-malarial drug, hydroxycloroquine, may have some benefit in treating the corona virus. It’s currently being evaluated.

Several companies are working on vaccines, which are just now being tested. If they show themselves to be effective, it will likely be many weeks to months before they become generally available.

There are many myths regarding COVID-19. One is that you can be infected by eating at a Chinese restaurant or by products or mail from China. One of the most egregious myths is that COVID-19 is the most dangerous virus yet, and that contracting it is a death sentence. Absolutely not true!

We must keep perspective on this disease. We have had other viruses with a much higher death rate. Compare the 3.4 % death rate of COVID-19 to some previous virus outbreaks, such as SARS with 9.6% and MERS with a 34% death rate.

Here are some recommendations that I found for alternative treatments that have been used with other viruses, but have not been tested on the COVID-19. They may help; use at your own discretion. Dr. Charles Bens, a Ph.D. in nutrition, cites the following case studies to support the use of these supplements:

  • Vitamin C – An article from the Orthomolecular News Service cites more than 30 studies that have shown moderate to high doses of vitamin C to be effective in shortening the course of viral illnesses. Doses were 5000 mg/day and upwards.
  • Vitamin D3 – The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cited a study from 2010, in which volunteers who were treated with 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 daily had a 58% reduced risk of flu. This effect is mainly seen in people who have low vitamin D levels, which, in my experience, we all do during the winter months.
  • Zinc – has been shown to inhibit replication of the common cold virus and can shorten the illness by up to 20 percent.

Again, though these supplements help with some viruses, they haven’t been tested on the corona virus. But if you feel the need to do something more for your health, give them a try.

My parting advice: Feeling isolated can be hard on your health. Take advantage of this down-time to reconnect with yourself and with others that are important to you. Keep reminding yourself, “This too shall pass!” Use social media and your smart phone to connect, for mutual reassurance, with your loved ones. Read that book you have been waiting to get at; watch an old movie. Things will work out! Count your blessings and thank God for them!

See you on the other side of this. Be well and be happy!

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