Sensible numbers have been hard to come by to understand this whole “pandemic” situation. One thing is clear to me, as I have written before, here and here, the real pandemic is fear, and the answer is love, but that is an abstract consideration that does not seem to be helpful for it is removed from the reality on the ground, but it is certainly something to keep in mind. To some incredible degree, fear is irrational, except where purely it is at the physical level, like getting out of the way of an oncoming train. When it becomes irrational it becomes anxiety, like fear of flying. The statistics will prove to you all day long that flying is safer than driving, yet some people will have no fear of driving, but will be deathly afraid of flying. By that time it is clearly irrational and that alone should tip us off the real work is the inner work about coming to grips with those fears and their origin. But, it can still be helpful to understand the numbers, and become a more informed user of information.
They say 2/3rds of us, or 67% are likely to contract the virus eventually, but 80% of cases are light, so 54% of the total population are likely to get it in some way shape or form that is light or unnoticeable even. Only 20% of cases or 13% of the total population may have a more serious encounter. Still aside from the 33% that don’t get it in the first place, we now have 33% plus 54% = 87% who either don’t get it at all or will have a mild case.
Chances are it won’t be serious
The first step might be to realize that somewhere from 35% or possibly more of COVID-19 Infections are Asymptomatic. At this stage, I do not know if I had the virus, but I listened to a doctor who knew he’d had it, and also had one of these a-symptomatic experiences. Something vaguely flu-like, but not even a fever. That sounded a lot like what I experienced in late February, early March. so, I could have had it and just dismissed it as a particularly obnoxious flu, but I still had no fever. I just was a bit out of sorts for two weeks. Who knows.
As a whole, it seems 80% of cases are mild, which includes the asymptomatic group. Again, this warrants the conclusion that your chances are pretty good to either not get it at all, or to have a mild case, including in some cases being blissfully unaware you’ve even had it. But the symptoms vary widely and if you do catch it and it gets serious, you are likely to end up in the hospital, but again unless you have serious comorbidities, chances are you will pull through.
To continue with the math if 35% of the 67% who will get it are a symptomatic, we have 33% who don’t get it at all, and 23% who are asymptomatic, or 56% who either won’t get it or who won’t know they had it. Then there are the 45% of the 67% who are simply light cases, so we are now up to 56% plus 30% or 86% of the total population who at the worst will have the flue and we’re now down to the serious cases many or most of which will require hospitalization. Of the actual deaths most had comorbidities, but also 53% of deaths are in the 1.7% of the population who live in long term care facilities. The general population, the 98.3% accounts for 47% of deaths, as per the same research. This same report, which is based on serious research, then concludes that the deathrate for those under 75 is about 0.0010% vs 0.0006% for the normal seasonal flu. In short a little higher than the flu, and for that we threw 40 million people out of work.
Serious Cases and Comorbidities
Then comes the issue of comorbidities:
- 94% of hospitalizations in NYC had comorbidities and across the board it seems to be more like 90% – typically diabetes, obesity and hypertension, and so on, though in some cases it appears to be less.
- 86% of COVID-19 deaths in NYC had comorbidities.
The upshot is that nobody is immune unless they’ve had it, but people with comorbidities are a lot more vulnerable. The comorbidities are universally the types of chronic diseases which we now know can generally be prevented or reversed by a whole foods plant-based diet and a lifestyle medicine program, i.e. including diet, exercise, relaxation, meditation and sleep hygiene. The list starts with obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
A Comorbidity Pandemic
The upshot is, we have a comorbitity pandemic more than a viral pandemic and this is the problem that has been widely known for some time, and it has been made very, very explicit with the Global Burden of Disease studies, in which the US does not do very well. We have been sacrificing nutrition to convenience for a long, long time.
All of the comorbidities are the exact chronic diseases that can be prevented or reversed with a whole foods, plant-based diet. Needless to say, the lifestyle medicine community has been very active in churning out advice on what people should do to boost their immune system. Fortunately, it is simple. There is only one optimal human diet and it is a whole foods, plant-based diet. The same applies for all these conditions. Change occurs as quick as after one meal, and within a month, most people will feel so much better, they will not go back. Here is Dr. Greger:
Dr. Greger has produced a whole series of videos on the topic and not only that he has also produced a new book on the topic – How to Survive a Pandemic. So have at it. All the information is at your fingertips.
And now to come back to the math once again: if 90% or more of deaths involve comorbidities, and all those comorbidities are preventable with a whole foods, plant-based diet, we are surely well advised to focus on improving our diet. Sure, wear the mask, practice your social distancing as long as we have to, but understand that the real issue is a healthier lifestyle. While you are at it, become aware of just how irrational are our corona anxieties and how we have collectively blown this thing out of proportion to a degree that is almost unimaginable, for the one fact of life is, we are all going to die, but spirit lives regardless of all that. What matters when you are getting older (and I have news for you, we are all getting older) is to live a healthy lifestyle so as to minimize your need for a healthcare system that makes its money off you being sick, not healthy.
As a society, we should really question if the total shutdown was worth it in the way we did it, just as much as Sweden is questioning itself on the effectiveness of its approach. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, but the one thing we all could have done and can still do to mitigate the severity of this type of experience is to finally adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet on a larger scale, as Prof. T. Colin Campbell argued recently in several places, including an opinion piece in the Times Union in Albany, NY. Meanwhile, more and more research is piling up that animal agriculture is one of the worst risk factors in our society, as it is really a breeding place for disease. So besides the fact that animal protein is directly bad for human health, the system that breeds it is also a health threat on multiple levels.