Eric Adams is my favorite candidate for NYC Mayor. Capable of independent thought.
My congratulations with your successful run for (almost) Mayor. I know you are an asset for this city, and I wish you all the luck. NYC can use all the help it can get. I am avoiding your titles, for it gets too complicated: current Borough President of Brooklyn and probable future Mayor of NYC? In any case, when we met at the Plantstock conference on the Esselstyn farm in Claverack, NY, in 2017, you, your wife and I had a lovely talk about our shared interest in Whole Foods, Plant-Based nutrition and human health. I had no idea what your public role was until you got up on the stage and were properly introduced as the next speaker. To reminisce, I include here the video of Josh LaJaunie, who was another remarkable speaker at that event.
Of course, I have seen how you lead by example and you have already contributed to the health outlook of this city. I have no doubt you will do more, much more. It is badly needed, especially in these troubled times. By the way, you took responsibility for your own health, you have shown yourself capable of independent thought. I think there will be an opportunity to make a lot of progress in the area of healthcare and public health in the city, though a lot will depend on exactly how we manage to deal with the aftermath of the Corona panic. But a proper analysis of the issues that are raised by the Corona crisis are exactly the best reasons why the time for radical healthcare reform is here, and this city´s already existing infrastructure lends itself. Clearly the emphasis will have to be on carrots, not sticks, for the aftermath of the current mandates will sour the whole discussion for a long time to come. However, it is clear that since a whole foods plant-based diet reduces the risk of moderate to severe outcomes with Covid-19 by 73%, a healthy lifestyle is easily more important than any vaccines.
Anyone who can actually read statistics knows that we hardly have a virus problem, we have a comorbidity problem and you and I know only too well that the comorbidities are all the chronic diseases that can be prevented or reversed with a whole foods, plant-based diet. Between that, and the Global Burden of Disease, we know that diet is the number one health problem, and we know what to do about it. In these days of politicians practicing medicine without a license, we also know that undoubtedly medical procedures are the 2nd leading cause of premature death after food.
The Covid panic has brought about more obfuscation, with the usual media soundbites that prevent serious discussion, let alone policy making. Inevitably, I must first try to say something about the big picture of health both on the personal level and on the level of public health. Inevitably these days this must involve some mention of politics, but in reality it should never be a political issue for the confusion seems to be an absolutely equal opportunity phenomenon, and the struggle for the right answers is leading to interesting developments like Ron DeSantis in Florida getting a lot of democratic support – he has shown himself to be a human being first, an American second, a Floridian third, a Republican fourth, and capable of independent judgment, in service of the people of his state, regardless of political affiliation. He understands that you drop partisanship at the doorstep of public service. He seems to be nearly alone in his respect for human rights in regard to the Corona issues. The problem always comes in when you agree on one thing, but not necessarily on others. I will try to avoid partisan issues as much as possible here, and focus on the conceptual confusions that are getting in the way of solutions.
Conceptual Confusions Exposed by the Covid crisis
- The confusion of health and medicine both in the domain of personal health and healthcare as well as in public health and population medicine. This confusion ultimately goes back to the Rockefeller medicine reforms a hundred years ago. Lifestyle Medicine is the emerging alternative. Population medicine is a totalitarian concept that should have no place in a free society. Public Health is a multi-disciplinary approach, that is closer to the concept of the Gross National Happiness concept of Bhutan than to the population medicine concepts of Xi Jinping, the CCP, the WHO, the WEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Public Health needs to address all aspects of human well-being in a society.
- The analytical confusions that brought about the Covid crisis are already the subject of several books, and one thing stands out: two thirds of Covid deaths are above average life expectancy and involve 4-6 comorbidities. In younger ¨Covid-deaths¨ also, comoribidities are clearly the driver. These comorbidities are the chronic diseases which we know are preventable or reversible with a whole foods plant-based diet and generally a healthy lifestyle. So we have a comorbidity problem, more so than a virus problem.
- The confusion of immunity with vaccination is another core confusion, and needs to be urgently resolved. Rand Paul eloquently addressed Xavier Becerra on this point in the video below. The health of 100 million American is at stake, for they are already naturally immune, and have no benefit from the vaccine, only increased risk to their health in the form of higher rates of adverse reactions. Natural immunity is recognized everywhere in Europe, why not here? To put the whole issue in context, the Brownstone institute posted a great article arguing hospitals should hire, not fire nurses with natural immunity.
- This issue is the bottom-line reason why the whole business of mandates and vaxports is a house of cards. The idea of a segregated society is always a bad idea, and it is even dangerous so when it is so evidently based on nothing. Concentration Camp survivor Vera Sharav keeps reminding us of the issues. There might be situations where quarantining the sick may be warranted, but stripping 100 million people of their human rights on the basis of a medical fallacy is unheard of and will certainly not survive challenge. Since the so-called vaccines convey no immunity, nor prevent transmission, the whole notion of depriving people of their civil rights based on an entirely nonsensical distinction has as much merit as the Nazi notions of the superiority of the Aryan race, or the erstwhile American system of slavery and discrimination against blacks, or the internment of people of Japanese descent in WW2. We have arrived at the 21st Century Salem witch trials, and it is full-well a crime against humanity by any definition.
- There is complete confusion over the distinction between the assessment of the risk/benefit analysis of specific vaccines, and the vaccination strategy. A growing list of international experts who know and understand vaccination argues that we have wasted our powder with an indiscriminate mass vaccination campaign, which is making the Covid crisis worse not better. The list includes Dr. Geert vanden Bossche, Prof. Luc Montagnier, Dr. Mike Yeadon, Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi, Dr. Peter McCullough and many others. The argument over vaccination strategy is an argument over focused protection: i.e. the vaccines, if otherwise deemed safe and effective, should be directed to the high risk population. They are superfluous for most of the working population, and in fact counter productive, if applied that way.
- The safety and effectiveness of the vaccines is a chapter onto itself. This is now starting to reach the highest levels of government with the presentation of data from the UK by Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. I include that video below as well. The inevitable conclusion is again that our vaccination strategy is completely counter-productive, especially the mandates. If the vaccines could have offered any relief, it would have been by targeted application to people with high Covid risk, not indiscriminate mass vaccination of people with little or no risk. Arguably, the vaccines seem to have increased medical risk for large groups of people.
- Partisanship is the enemy. Trump embraced the vaccines, Biden embraces the vaccines and apparently neither one understands the downsides. The issue is about wise government, more so than any partisanship. Recently some NBA stars explained more in 2-minute news clips than all the talking heads and politicians combined. DeSantis and Johnson sound very presidential in they way they address the Covid issue, regardless if you disagree with them about anything else. Pres. Biden sounds like a vaccine commercial, and his willful ignorance of the facts is a liability.
- The failure in all government communication to clearly distinguish between Prevention, early treatment, and medical treatment. Far too much medical treatment was discussed publicly by people who generally did not know what they were talking about in the first place, and far too little attention was given to prevention and early treatment. As simple a thing as vitamin D supplementation could have made a huge difference. and healthier food in general – more fruits and veggies. As a result of this neglect, there is an understandable suspicion that this was about selling vaccines, and vax passports, more than it was about people´s health.
- Last, not least there is the vexing issue of the PCR-test and the rate of false positives. This is now well documented, and it calls much of the whole SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19 story in doubt. If my immune system adequately dealt with an exposure to the virus and effectively shredded it in my system, the PCR test might still detect particles. That was called a ¨case,¨ but it was no such thing.
Economic Opportunity for NYC
Better health and better health economics are a highly relevant economic issue, and in NYC we (you) may have an excellent opportunity to book major progress in this regard. The foundation has been laid, and you deserve a lot of credit for the progress to date. Aside from any other considerations, we now need to realize that these issues have a direct bearing on the economic viability of NYC. I believe that huge progress is possible, but before I try to formulate that, I want to note some significant health considerations that have been brought out by the Covid crisis.
Some health and healthcare considerations
In the Lifestyle Medicine community, including Whole Foods, Plant-Based nutrition in general, we used to focus mostly on the prevention and reversal of chronic diseases, because that is where most of our healthcare dollars go – aside from the occasional infectious disease issue. All of this has changed now, and thankfully there is very specific documentation in terms of relevant studies, to document the effectiveness of a #WFPB style diet in supporting the human immune system.
There were several major points of progress this year, one was the publication of the Covid resource page by the American Academy of Lifestyle Medicine, which laid out the general principles for what we can do for ourselves to fortify ourselves in preventing infectious diseases, and Covid specifically, or help us cope with it if we did get infected. And then there was the study that proved that a plant-based nutrition lowered the risk of moderate to severe Covid by 73%, which was so capably explained in a video by Dr. Brooke Goldner:
Evidently, by this time the vaccines cannot claim anything so profound. A 73% reduction in moderate to severe cases! The vaccines are currently claiming at best an unspecified reduction in the severity of cases, but they prevent neither infection per se, nor transmission. But, in a free society we could not mandate what people should eat, just as little as we should mandate them to take an experimental medical treatment. There are better ways.
Going even further, there is a completely drug-free Lifestyle Medicine medicine protocol that was published by SHARAN-India, and which rests on the sound principle that all respiratory infections like Covid-19 are by nature self-limiting, meaning that a healthy body is able to fight them off or overcome them. I provide the video here:
To generalize, there is an important conceptual issue, which is being routinely ignored, and that is the difference between:
- the terrain theory of disease, which would ask: Why was my immune system down, so I caught the flu? We would then max out on the things we could do for ourselves (diet, rest, lots of liquids, and so on), resorting to medicine as appropriate, but focusing on self-care.
- and the germ theory of disease, which would ask: When and where did I catch this bug, or (worse!) who gave it to me? and then sets about fighting the external enemy, without taking responsibility for our own contribution to the problem.
It should be ever so clear that allopathic medicine, which in the modern world we tend to think is the ONLY real medicine, is wedded to the pharmaceutical industry and the germ theory of disease. In this model we are victims of external causative organisms and dependent on external saviors, doctors, medicines, etc.
Lifestyle Medicine stands in the tradition of the terrain theory, by first focusing on what we can do for ourselves to improve our health condition. In this model we take responsibility for our health and where necessary ask for complementary advice, support, guidance or treatment from a doctor who needs to be educated about the self-healing process we are engaging in.
A Suggestion for a Healthier New York City
I am confident you will accomplish a lot for NYC in this area of getting healthier. In the following I want to suggest some possibilities and highlight the economic significance. I specifically also took notice of your desire to bring people back from Florida. We all know that the problem with moving to Florida is you have to live in Florida. New York City still has a lot to offer, but the current Mayor, with liberal help from our new governor is still doing a lot to destroy the economy of the city with the latest variation of lockdown measures, and now the pointless vaccine passports. I wonder how many more businesses will go bankrupt as a result of this latest assault. If the vaccines work, there is no need for a vaccine passport, and if they vaccines don´t work, there is no need for either the vaccine or the passport. The people who moved to Florida must realize such simple truths. Nor will they come back unless the regime changes materially, and a clear vision for a healthier New York City will be material. It directly could alter the economics of employment. On a national level, there cannot be any doubt that we cannot afford the healthcare system we have today, and there is no end in sight to the uncontrollable healthcare inflation. Undoubtedly there are all kinds of regulatory roadblocks, but I think we could go a long way by leveraging initiatives that already exist.
We have the existing programs in Montefiore in the Bronx (Dr. Robert Ostfeld´s Cardiac Wellness Program), and Bellevue Hospital with its Plant-based Lifestyle Medicine program. Other hospitals appear to be working in the same direction. It would seem to me that the attraction of this new approach can be helped a lot by supporting these developments with some commercial initiatives:
- One would be to encourage restaurants to become Plant Pure Communities certified, so doctors can reliably refer patients to them as part of a #WFPB diet.
- Another might be to consider broadening the financial support for NYCHH by offering the typical 10-day jumpstart programs, but not purposely opening them up to paying customers. This could help fund these programs. Ideally, you might be able to take in enough paying participants to expand the opportunities for medicaid, medicare and even uninsured customers. There could be employer incentives also, and this could include helping companies to track improvements in health issues so they can improve their negotiating position in respect of health insurance. The precedent of Medicaid support for these programs has already been set and this could be further expanded upon. The whole point is that these programs almost immediately reduce the burdens on the medical system as disease reversal manifests very quickly .
- In general, the principle should become to operate from strength, not weakness. In other words, public health should focus on health not on disease treatment. At any one time more people are healthy than are sick, and we can help them become even healthier. As I have argued elsewhere, if you consider an IFR of 0.15% for Covid-19, it should be obvious that it is easier to improve the health of the general population, including the 99.85% of survivors of the infection, than it is to attack the whole population in an attempt to reduce the IFR. A 0.01 percentage point improvement in the health of the 99.85% is a 7% reduction in the 0.15% who are now not surviving a Covid infection. And the payoff would include reductions in heart disease, diabetes, cancer and numerous other conditions.
- Eventually, in the area of private insurance or even any kind of M4A program, the lifestyle medicine component can be formalized into some sort of a mutual society with lifestyle medicine doctors. People would join it, and it could reduce their deductible, ideally to zero. It would support them in their ¨preventive maintenance,¨ and in navigating the healthcare system in case they do need special care, but it could qualify them for discounts on health insurance, and become the bridge to a drastic lowering of healthcare costs in the long run.
The Politics… It cannot be avoided…
Along with it all, we need to move from the stick to the carrot if we want to make New York City an attractive place to live. Mandates, vaxports, fines etc. should become a thing of the past. Incentives to do the right thing are much more powerful than punishment of doing the wrong thing, particularly so if it is as ill-defined as it has been with Covid. An airborne virus will not obey stop signs, be they democratic or republican. We need to turn the tide of totalitarianism, for right now we are on our way back to the fiscal crisis of the seventies, and I see both holocaust survivors such as Vera Sharav who have flashback to the Nazi occupation of Europe and former citizens of the Soviet Union, who are having flashbacks also.
Notice also this petition to the European Medicines Agency, which includes the voices of holocaust survivors. The reactions to the mandates will be with us for a long time, and they will mostly destroy public confidence in government, as this story about the hospitals shows. Another former lefty, who now speaks out on Fox news of all places, because the liberal media have become part of the suppression and censorship campaign
I sincerely hope that some of the above can be helpful. I myself grew up right after WW2 in Holland, with the stories of the German occupation all around me, and when I saw my street in the Bronx shutdown with the first Covid lockdowns, I had flashbacks to that time. I do not want to see NYC headed that way. For one thing, this city cannot be controlled by totalitarianism, but it can surely be destroyed, as is happening by the current regime. For a brief moment we had hopes that with the exit of Cuomo the petty Corona dictatorship was on the way out, but it seems to be getting worse. It needs to change. Dr. Joseph A Ladapo wrote in the Wall Street Journal on why vaccine mandates cannot work, the same logic extends to vax passes and their enforcement which are merely another attack on people´s freedoms and on venues like restaurants in what is no more than pointless kabuki theater. A recent presentation by Dr. Peter McCullough makes the point that with proper oversight, the current vaccines should have been taken off the market in February, based on the historical precedent. Oh, and, in case I forgot to mention it, the masks have to go too. They are more likely counter productive also.
The Lifestyle Medicine approach brings the focus to empowerment, to teaching people how much they can do for themselves. And that empowerment alone would improve public health, since a positive outlook and attitude immediately affects the human immune system. The opportunity ahead is all about empowering people to do the right thing for themselves, which will be a welcome way out of the present totalitarian impasse.