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    • A doctor I follow published a book about pandemics that I blew off because I thought "nutrition doc, not an infectious disease expert." The book is How to Survive a Pandemic.

      While running this morning I listened to an interview with him and Oh. My. God. The things I didn't know.

      Turns out he wrote a 5-star book on pandemics in 2006. That's his specialty, but no one wanted to buy pandemic books then so he pivoted to nutrition.

      Some things I learned from the interview:

      1. The #1 thing is distance. Masks reduce the incidence of transmission but are not as effective as distance. If masks make you feel more secure so you reduce distance, then they may do more harm than good.

      2. The #2 thing is circulation. Outdoors is where it's at. If you have to fly on a plane, turn on the vents all the way open and point all three of them at you. Yes, it's recirculated air but HEPA filtered, which is a whole lot better than the air in the rest of the plane.

      3. Still wear a mask, and consider them a sign you care about other people, but they are no substitute for distance.

      4. The strength of your immune system with coronaviruses doesn't seem to matter. Immunocompromised people with HIV or cancer have as good a chance as someone with a healthy immune system. It's because the immune system itself can overreact if it's strong and it's the reason for all the lung damage, the immune system attacking the lungs.

      5. However, taking care of yourself via sleep, stress reduction, exercise and nutrition make a huge diff because they keep high blood pressure, diabetes, heart, lung, and kidney disease at bay — which are huge risk factors.

      6. Modern animal agriculture is the source of almost all pandemics: raising animals in crowded, unhealthy, stressful conditions or in wet markets where species that would never have interacted interact.

      7. Testing and speed of response is everything. Who expected the U.S. to be the worst in the world at that?

      8. The CDC knows all these things, they've just been silenced. Instead we're listening to people with an MD or Phd behind their names who want to be viewed as experts but don't know for infectious diseases.

      9. The misinformation coming from social media, Russian trolls, religions, and the White House has reached heights no scientist or health official ever imagined was possible.

      10. This pandemic has maybe 0.4% (ish) mortality but we're watching H7N9 develop — and variants — which have 40% mortality. It's just a matter of time. 😳

    • I think that points #8 and #9 are the most important here.

      Not everybody is a pandemic expert, nobody expects everybody to be one, and we shouldn't need to be.

      What we should be able to expect, regardless of the country that we live in, is that we have a government and medical establishment that actually do contain pandemic experts, that the two can work together, implement the right rules, and disseminate facts and actionable advise based on science.

      The problem is that hasn't happened everywhere. In fact it hasn't happened perfectly anywhere, but some places have been better than others.

      Many governments have been selective on their reactions and loose or contradictory in the information they have given out.

      But nowhere, apart from Brazil, has done this as ridiculously badly as the Trump administration. It's just mistruth after confused statement after contradiction after outright lie. At times it feels like you are watching some kind of satire about a pandemic rather than a real governmental response to one.

      I'm sure the CDC is full of pandemic experts just like the Dr who wrote this book but they are not the voices or even the messages that the White House chooses to share.

    • I also think #6 is key as well. We as a global community need to do all we can to reduce the chances of a pandemic inducing virus getting created in the first place. Seems like if we can put an end to wet markets and the like, we could feel a lot more confident in pandemics no longer happening.

    • Interesting point about the masks. That kinda blows a hole in the theory that masks are all we need. Good to know that distancing is what’s most important.