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. 😳