by Jon Barron
Information sent by MJGdeA
This illustration, created at the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus,
which impart the look of a corona
surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically.
A novel coronavirus, named
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),
was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness
detected in Wuhan, China in 2019.
The illness caused by this virus has been named
coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
For those of you who don't care about details and don't want to ever
read anything longer than a Tweet, let me summarize:
The coronavirus that currently has everyone freaked out is:
Easily spread through person to person contact
Has slightly better than a 2% mortality rate
Kills primarily by initiating a cytokine storm or as a result of
Is rapidly breaking containment
There are ways to keep symptoms to a minimum and avoid complications
that may lead to a bad end
The best defense is to maintain an optimized immune system AND make
sure you have an adequate supply of natural anti-pathogens on hand.
You won't be able to prevent the virus if you're exposed to it (this
is a brand new virus, and no human being has any immunity to it),
but it is possible to keep the viral load to a minimum so that it
doesn't progress into a
cytokine storm, pneumonia, or acute
respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
If you do that, symptoms are
likely to be mild.
But, for those of you who understand that knowledge is power, here's
the underlying story.
is the Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are not a single virus, but rather, a large family of
viruses that mostly infect bats, pigs, and small mammals.
handful can infect humans and cause illness ranging from the common
cold (about 20% of all colds are the result of coronaviruses) to
more severe diseases such as
the new coronavirus.
They are named for the
'crown-like spikes' on their surface.
the fact that 20% of all colds are caused by a mere four of the many coronaviruses does not mean that the current coronavirus outbreak is
nothing more than a common cold as some have proposed.1
more confusingly, some of those same people have also theorized that
it's probably a,
"laboratory experiment that is in the process
How it's both a nothing-to-worry-about common
cold AND a weaponized virus at the same time I'll leave to brighter
minds than mine to explain.
And speaking of conspiracy theories, over two dozen scientists,
health experts and epidemiologists, in an open letter published in
The Lancet, disputed Rush's conspiracy theory that the virus is a bioweapon made in a lab near Wuhan.2
And I quote,
"We stand together
to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19
does not have a natural origin.
Scientists from multiple countries
have published and analyzed genomes of the causative agent... and they
overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife
as have so many other emerging pathogens."
Yes, they could be lying
or mistaken, but probably not.
Before COVID-19, only six coronaviruses had been known to be
responsible for human diseases.
Two are zoonoses (diseases which are
transmitted to humans from animals). These would be SARS and MERS,
both of which can be fatal.
The remaining four viruses are
widespread in human society, causing the common cold.
seventh such virus seems to borrow from both groups.
zoonotic disease, likely jumping from animals to humans in a
Chinese Seafood Wholesale Market. Very quickly, it showed a facility
to readily and rapidly spread from human to human, while still
maintaining its zoonotic ability to kill people.
The natural animal
host of COVID-19 is undetermined, but the closest animal-coronavirus
by genetic-sequence is a bat-coronavirus, and this is the likely
ultimate origin of the virus,3, 4, 5 although it seems the disease
can also be transmitted by snakes.6
So, this particular strain is brand new and has never previously
been identified in humans, which again is why no human being on the
planet has any immune system memory of it - and therefore no
It was first named the 2019 novel coronavirus.7, 8
then named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (short for
Corona Virus Disease, 2019). Around the same time, the 'Coronavirus
Study Group' of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses
(ICTV) named the virus SARS-CoV-2 (short for "Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome coronavirus 2).9, 10
At the moment, COVID-19 is ahead, but
I would guess, over time, SARS-CoV-2 will win out. It's backed by
The first cases were seen in the city of
Wuhan, China in December
2019 (how far we have come in such a short time) and have been
linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.11, 12, 13
Person-to-person transmission readily occurs, and no effective
treatment or vaccine currently exists.14
Distribution of the Virus
According to a Johns Hopkins online virus tracker, as of,
26, 2020, over 82,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed
worldwide, with the vast majority (97%) in China. (Sometimes the
internet is astounding.)
On January 13, 2020, the first confirmed case outside China was
diagnosed, a Chinese tourist in Thailand.15
On 20 January, the first
infected person in the United States was confirmed to be a man in
the State of Washington who had recently returned from a visit to
The disease has now been diagnosed in 33 territories,
including Macau and Hong Kong, in five continents.17, 18
In the largest study to date, a paper published by the
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) analyzed all the
cases diagnosed up to 11 February 2020, which came to 44,672 cases.
Of these, 1.2% were asymptomatic and 80.9% were classed as "mild".
The overall mortality rate was found to be 2.3%.19, 20, 21
2.3% mortality rate doesn't sound like a lot (just ask Rush
Limbaugh), but it is. In fact, it's huge.
The Spanish Flu of 1919
had an almost identical mortality rate of 2.5%.
The standard flu has
a mortality rate of about 0.1% and that kills about 56,000 every
year in the US (last year it was 80,000) and somewhere between
291,000 to 646,000 worldwide.22
Now here's the fly in the ointment.
Two percent may be small, but it's 20 times bigger than 1/10 of one
Do the math (multiply the numbers above by 20) and you're
looking at the potential for some very large numbers.
So yes, it's
"potentially" a big deal - although it's highly unlikely to play out
More on that in a bit...
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted in a similar way to the common
cold, that is face to face, either from sneezing/coughing or close
contact with infected individuals' bodily secretions.23
family, friends, coworkers, buses, planes, trains, movie theaters,
concerts, etc. Additionally, coronaviruses can survive for up to
nine days on surfaces such as doorknobs and shopping cart handles.24
Touch the surface anytime during those nine days and then touch your
eyes, nose or mouth, and you have the possibility of infection.
The infection was declared a Public Health Emergency of
International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020 by the WHO.25
Coronavirus: Initial Symptoms and Pathology
The evidence suggests that when COVID-19 enters the body - primarily
through droplets in the air - it attaches to a particular receptor
found in lung tissue.26
From there, the virus "hijacks" the host
cell's mechanisms to make more copies of itself. Tissue damage
happens as a result of viruses taking over the cell completely,
causing it to die, or when immune cells mount a defense against the
viral infection, leading to cell death.
If large numbers of cells die, then the affected organ - in this
case, the lung - can't function effectively.
Typically, coronaviruses in humans cause mild respiratory infections
such as the common cold. COVID-19, on the other hand, has
demonstrated an ability in some patients to go beyond mild symptoms
and develop into
ALI and ARDS, which is more typical of pneumonias.
(Note: Acute lung injury (ALI) is a more recently coined term that
includes ARDS but also milder degrees of lung injury.)
ALI and ARDS
always result from another severe underlying disease.
ARDS is the
acronym to remember, though, since it's respiratory failure or
cardio-respiratory issues resulting from ARDS that lead to patients
Then again, some people can have the virus and yet present no
symptoms while the virus is in incubation.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may
appear in as few as two days or take as long as 14 days after
exposure to appear.
And this part is particularly worrisome:
carriers of the virus are highly infectious even while demonstrating
no symptoms of infection.
Think millions of
Typhoid Mary's walking
around, completely asymptomatic, infecting everyone they come in
contact with - even if just for a moment.
Some individuals, especially young children, may remain asymptomatic
for the entire course of their illness.
And many other individuals
may demonstrate, at most, mild upper respiratory tract symptoms.
Other symptoms can include fever, aches and pains, fatigue, chest
pain, and a dry cough.
All these people that we've just mentioned
are the 98% who will survive COVID-19 illness without any problems.
For a small handful, however, the course of the disease is quite
different - fatal.
In fact, there are two paths to death.
Some people are young, with strong immune systems.
For them, the
problem is that the virus overstimulates their immune system,
triggering a cytokine storm in which a person's own immune system
attacks the lungs, leading to a large release of fluid in the lungs
(ARDS), eventually leading to that person "drowning" in their own
The second group tends to be older, with weakened immune systems,
and lungs already compromised by disease (think COPD and emphysema).
For them, the virus can weaken the immune system even more, to the
point that pneumonia takes hold. Severe pneumonia has multiple paths
to death including ARDS, heart failure, and sepsis.
According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control, 81% of cases
are mild, 14% are severe, and 5% are critical.27
And about half of
those who go critical die.
Keeping in mind that patients can be infected for anywhere from two
to 14 days before they exhibit symptoms (infecting everyone they
meet the entire time), here's how symptoms progress among typical
patients once they first manifest:
symptoms, if any, are likely to be a fever, fatigue, and
myalgia (muscle pain)
This might be
followed by difficulty breathing, especially if the patient
is older or has a preexisting condition.
Most people start
to feel better after about a week.
But about 20% will
elevate to either a cytokine storm or pneumonia, both of
which can lead to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and
require hospital admittance. (And now let's talk about ARDS.)
The lungs are
highly vascularized. There's a lot of blood flow in the
lungs, because that's where carbon dioxide is removed
from your blood and replaced by oxygen, which is
required by every cell in your body.
Normally, you want
your airways to be relatively dry so that you can
breathe in air from which the oxygen gets transferred to
red bloods cells and carried to the rest of body.
occurs when fluid leaks from small blood vessels and
collects in the tiny air sacs in your lungs so they
can't fill with enough air. That build-up of fluid in
the lungs is what can cause breathing distress, because
now lungs aren't exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen
In addition to your lungs being
compromised, organs such as your kidneys or brain might
begin to malfunction, or even shut down if they do not
receive enough oxygen.
typically occurs in people who are already critically
ill or who have significant injuries. Severe shortness
of breath - the main symptom of ARDS - usually develops
within a few hours to a few days after the precipitating
infection. But as we've seen with COVID-19, that
timeframe can stretch out as long as two weeks.
characterized by an acute inflammatory response
triggered by immune cells followed by a chronic
fibroproliferative phase marked by progressive collagen
deposition in the lung.28
Pathogen-induced lung injury
can progress into ALI or its more severe form, acute
respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), as was seen with
SARS, more aggressive flu virus infections, and now
Interlukin-1β is a key cytokine driving proinflammatory activity in bronchoalveolar fluid
washing out of patients with lung injury.
About 4% of all
those infected will continue to worsen and require
admittance to an ICU
usually treatable, and most people normally survive. But
when the underlying trigger for the condition is strong
enough, as with COVID-19, only about half of people who
develop ARDS survive. The risk of death increases with
age and the severity of illness.
people with strong immune systems also succumb. And the
reason is that once a cytokine storm is unleashed, the
stronger your immune system, the stronger the storm. In
effect, young healthy people can die because their
immune systems are so strong.
(There is a way to
mitigate this without compromising your immune system,
and we will talk about why that's not a good idea
Of the people who do survive ARDS, some recover
completely while others experience lasting damage to
Over the next
week of infection (from day 10-17) about half of those
admitted to ICU will recover. The other half will not.
Currently, no specific treatment or vaccine exists for COVID-19,
which is why most efforts have been made to contain the virus and
prevent infected people from spreading the disease.
personal hygiene, fitted masks, and the avoidance of large crowds
and crowded environments.29
In healthcare facilities, it is crucial to diagnose COVID-19 as
rapidly as possible, quarantine infected cases, and provide
effective supportive therapies including antibiotics, antivirals,
steroids and supportive measures. Oxygen and the use of a ventilator
have also been used when necessary.
While no specific antiviral therapies for COVID-19 currently exist,
the combination of the protease inhibitors ritonavir and lopinavir
(or a triple combination of these antiviral agents with the addition
of ribavirin) showed some success in the treatment of SARS,30 and
early reports suggest similar efficacy in the treatment of
Vaccines for the coronaviruses have been under development since the
SARS outbreak, but none are yet available for human patients.32, 33
A 'phase 1 trial' in humans of a potential vaccine against MERS-CoV
has already been performed in the UK.34 It is possible that an
effective MERS vaccine might also have some applicability to
COVID-19, but that's purely speculative at the moment.
The key to the higher mortality rate for COVID-19 is the cytokine
storm. A cytokine storm is triggered when the body perceives that a
viral attack is more than it can handle through a normal response.
This can happen in
several different ways.
A virus can be so
virulent that its assault on the body is so great it
triggers a cytokine storm.
A normal immune system protects
against invaders, but an immune system driven into
over-active by an aggressive virus can not only damage the
lungs but also other organs, including the kidneys, liver
A virus can be so
new (unlike most flus or colds) that the body has no memory
of it, or any virus like it. This means your immune system
can't rely on its best, most trained defenders, the B-Cells
and especially the T-Cells.
Instead, it must turn to the
extremely aggressive, but untrained, shock troops of the
immune system, the macrophages and dendritic cells.
powerful; they are quick; and they are aggressive. But being
untrained, their attack may not be so precise. In other
words, they can cause collateral damage.
This is the pathway
that can lead healthy, young people into the critical stages
A virus by itself
may not be strong enough to trigger a cytokine storm, but it
may trigger a secondary infection (usually pneumonia) which,
when combined with the initial infection, produces enough
viral overload to trigger a cytokine storm.
virus, including flu, respiratory syncytial virus, human
metapneumovirus, and now COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia.
This is how seasonal flu kills over 600,000 people a year.
People don't die from the flu, they die from the storm
unleashed by the pneumonia, which was brought on as a
Seniors with weakened immune systems
are particular vulnerable to this pathway if they are
infected with COVID-19, and the majority of deaths so far
have come through this scenario - mostly involving older
However the storm is
triggered, it causes your immune system to go nuts, whipping itself
into a frenzy in response to the invading virus/viruses.
biochemical cascade of immune cells and immune system bio-chemicals
such as interferon, interleukin, and monokines - collectively known
as cytokines - literally pours into the lungs bringing macrophages
and dendritic cells along with them.
The subsequent damage to the
lung tissue caused by these cells and biochemicals leads to ARDS
that can literally chew up a person's lung tissue, causing fluid to
pour into the lungs, ultimately causing the victim to suffocate as a
result of their own disease-fighting chemistry.
literally drowns in their own body fluids.
Most common flu's do not produce cytokine storms.
Most flu's that
kill people usually do so to those who have weak immune systems by
eventually opening the door for pneumonia, which subsequently
triggers a cytokine storm.
That's why health authorities specify
that the very old and very young and those with weak immune systems
are prime candidates for annual flu vaccines (even though they don't
work very well).
swine flu, avian flu, the great flu pandemic of
1918, and now COVID-19 are different animals. Yes, they can follow
the same path in seniors with weakened immune systems.
they are so virulent, and because human immune systems have no
memory of them, they don't need pneumonia to kill you. They can kill
you by directly unleashing a cytokine storm, which means that it is
your own, healthy immune system that kills you.
And this means that
the most vulnerable are not just the very old and the very young but
also healthy adults and pregnant women, people who have very strong
To translate that into English, in a cytokine storm, the immune
system overacts to the invasion of pathogens, and it's the immune
system itself that damages the lungs, not the virus.
Think of it
like using a sandblaster to scratch an itch instead of your finger.
There's going to be collateral damage. It's the cytokine storm that
MERS, along with the bird flu, so deadly.
important difference between those infections and COVID-19, though,
is that almost all infections with those diseases were from animal
Human to human infection, when it occurred, was both rare
and difficult. What sets COVID-19 apart is how easily it transmits
Add in the fact that humans can be highly infectious
for up to two weeks without displaying a single symptom, and you
have a concerning situation.
Looking to the
On Friday, Feb 21st, the World Health Organization
(WHO) director general,
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that there was still a chance to
contain the virus,
"but the window of opportunity is narrowing."
Just four days later, that optimistic projection was fading.
Tuesday, Feb 25th, American health authorities said they ultimately
expect the virus to spread throughout the United States and are
urging local governments, businesses, and schools to develop plans
like canceling mass gatherings or switching to teleworking.
Nancy Messonnier, a senior official with the CDC said in a
"Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in
It's not so much a question of if this will happen
anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen
and how many people in this country will have severe illness."35
Messonnier went on to say:
"We are asking the American public to
prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."
she pointed out, there are concerns that the outbreak poses a threat
to the security of the US drug supply chain because a high
proportion of ingredients used to make medicine is made in China,
where the virus is causing massive disruption.
The headline in an article in The Atlantic says it all:
Likely to Get the Coronavirus."36
In the article, James Hamblin
"The Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch is exacting in his
diction, even for an epidemiologist. Twice in our conversation he
started to say something, then paused and said, 'Actually, let me
So, it's striking when one of the points he wanted to
get exactly right was this:
'I think the likely outcome is that it
will ultimately not be containable.'
"Lipsitch predicts that within the coming year, some 40 to 70
percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus
that causes COVID-19.
But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not
mean that all will have severe illnesses.
'It's likely that many
will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,' he said.
influenza, which is often life-threatening to people with chronic
health conditions and of older age, most cases pass without medical
And that, of course, is precisely why COVID-19 is likely to be
Viruses like SARS, MERS, and the bird flu were
eventually contained in part because:
infectious before symptoms appeared.
They were more
intense and had a higher fatality rate. In other words, once
you had symptoms, you were too sick to be out and about and
mingling with people.
And if you were
going to die, you tended to die pretty quickly.
But because the current
coronavirus can be asymptomatic, or at least very mild, there's a
better chance people will be going about their day as normal
unknowingly spreading infection.
Additionally, because people won't
know when they started spreading infection, it will be that much
harder to trace and prevent the disease from spreading to others.
The Atlantic reports Marc Lipsitch is definitely not alone in his
There's an emerging consensus that the outbreak will
eventually morph into a new seasonal disease, which, per The
Atlantic, could one day turn,
"cold and flu season" into "cold and
flu and COVID-19 season."
And one final reminder.
Although Professor Lipsitch said "it's
likely that many will have mild disease," that also means that some
will not. And a small percentage applied to 40 to 70 percent of the
world's population is a very, very large number.
Now let's talk about you can avoid being one of them.
What to Do?
What to Do? What to Do?
First of all,
reassurances from government officials that COVID-19 is not
going to hit the United States are nonsense, but don't
Despite the fact that it looks like this virus is
going to spread far and wide, for "most" people, symptoms
will be mild or even non-existent.
But also understand that,
as I just mentioned, small percentages of people being
critically ill and dying works out to be very large numbers
if applied across enough people.
Look to the
future. Time is your best friend.
The longer you can go
without getting infected, the better your chances will be of
never getting infected or surviving any infection you do
As the pool of "once infected people" grows, the
ability of the virus to spread diminishes. In other words,
your chances of getting COVID-19 will follow a bell curve.
For the next 12 months or so, they will increase
dramatically, and then begin to fade - eventually getting
(Note: there may be a slow down to the curve as
warmer months appear since early evidence indicates that,
like the flu virus, COVID-19 thrives in cold, dry weather VS
hot, moist weather. If so, things will accelerate again as
the colder fall months arrive.)
Also, over time,
medical researchers will develop proven treatments that go
far beyond mere palliative care. It's worth noting - for
those of you who have not been paying attention - that even
Ebola is no longer incurable.
Recently, Ebola treatments
have been successful 90 percent of the time when symptoms
were detected early.
which, an alternative that might speed things up is that,
instead of creating brand new drugs to combat COVID-19,
researchers are looking at the possibility of repurposing
already existing drugs.
For example, researchers have found
that both remdesivir (one of the drugs currently be used to
combat Ebola in Africa) and chloroquine (a widely used and
FDA approved anti-malarial and autoimmune disease drug) were
both effective in stopping COVID-19 from replicating in a
lab dish. 37
Also, both drugs were effective at low
concentrations, and neither drug is considered particularly
toxic to human cells.
But fully testing both drugs on humans
for use against COVID-19 and gearing up production for these
drugs to be used on a massive scale will still take time,
and the coronavirus is spreading at exponential speed.
it probably - and unfortunately - should be mentioned that
if it's decided to use these drugs for COVID-19, they will
simply shift supplies currently being used in Africa to
fight Ebola and malaria, to more politically "favorable"
locations in the world, at least until production ramps up.
And keep in mind
that, given enough time, a vaccine will be developed.
example, and most people are not aware of this, the newly
developed Ebola vaccine is proving highly effective in
preventing at-risk people in the Democratic Republic of
Congo from becoming infected.
As for COVID-19, researchers
are already working on a vaccine based on the one used for
Ebola. Claims by some in the government that it is nearly
finished are, at best, wishful thinking.
However, within the
next 24 months, we are likely to see a vaccine that is at
least "mostly" effective and with "minimal" side effects.
And if you want
to be proactive, use natural immune boosters to keep your
immune system optimized. Yes, under one set of
circumstances, a strong immune system increases the risk of
a cytokine storm.
But under most scenarios, having a strong
immune system will hold the viral level down enough so that
you can't develop a cytokine storm.
Remember, although some
healthy people are getting critically ill, the vast majority
of those suffering from acute symptoms and dying are those
with compromised immune systems.
important of all, keep a supply of natural antipathogens on
hand and begin taking them hard and strong at the first sign
of symptoms, or if you believe you have been in contact with
an infected person.
Again, it's not about curing the
All you need to do is support your body's ability
to hold the viral load down low enough so that you never
develop pneumonia, or your immune system never kicks into a
cytokine storm followed by ARDS.
The bottom line is that if
you prevent COVID-19 from initiating a cytokine storm, its
symptoms are pretty mild for most people–much less than the
flu or even most colds.
Do that; keep the viral load down,
and you can be like Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Newman. "What,
PS: Many people use
'elderberry extract' for dealing with the flu, but
it should be noted that it does so, as do many immune boosters, by
increasing the cytokine response,38 which means you probably want to
use it in concert with natural antipathogens.
numbers that will make you feel SAFE..
Information sent by MJGdeA
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