With all the data flying about from China, Italy, South Korea and the ABC’s of the world, it’s hard to know what exactly we’re dealing with when it comes to COVID-19. One thing we do know is that we’ve had coronaviruses before. This strain may easily spread through various means and is most likely to affect the immune suppressed and those with existing lung conditions, but it’s a virus. We’re surrounded by bacteria and viruses in out environment.
So, what’s a soul to do?
Let’s start with what we know about the virus around the world, and in the next article we’ll lay out the treatments and preventions with a laundry list of peer-reviewed articles. Much of this may be familiar to you, but we find it helpful to have everything in one place for easy reference. The more we know, the more empowered we become.
This is not a time to panic, but rather stay level-headed and situationally aware.
Things could change at any given moment via federal, state or local decree. These pandemics serve to open our eyes further to the mass social messaging that helps pave the way for further encroachment on the liberties we hold dear.
Be vigilant. Be caring. And be ready to act if civil servants step out of line.
What do we know about COVID-19?
1. COVID-19 is the name of the disease. SARS-CoV2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) is the name of the virus that causes COVID-19. The outbreak of cases began in Wuhan, China on December 1, 2019. Five days after that patient became ill, his wife was hospitalized, diagnosed, and placed in isolation.
2. According to the CDC, the total number of “confirmed and presumptive” COVID-19 cases in the US is 213,144. The total number of COVID-19 deaths in the US (excluding individuals who have been repatriated to the US from Wuhan, China, and Japan) is 4,513. A total of 55 jurisdictions are reporting cases, including 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and US Virgin Islands. This includes reports from local public health departments. Data collected by states are considered the most up-to-date. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html)
3. The reported number of COVID-19 cases is unreliable for 3 reasons:
1) Due to the limited supply of tests, only patients with the most symptoms are tested – not knowing the true number of cases skews the percentage of deaths in the population.
2) a study analyzing COVID-19 testing found that of those that tested positive, 80% are false positives.
3) The Colorado Health Department includes suspected cases and people who have been in contact with suspected cases on their official numbers. COVID-19 is real, but it is difficult for our government officials to have accurate numbers on which to rely and make decisions.
4. China and Italy are two of the hardest-hit countries. According to the World Health Organization China has reported 82,724 cases and 3,327 death, while Italy has 110,574 confirmed and presumptive cases and 13,157 deaths, here.
5. One theory is that China and Italy may have been hit harder than other countries because of the high percentage of smokers in those countries. 60% of men in China smoke (as compared to 16% in the US). Smoking creates additional ACE2 receptors in the lungs that COVID-19 attaches to in the body. This could account for higher serious cases and deaths in those countries with higher rates of smoking (and possibly pollution too). Here is the 2020 ACE2 study: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.01.26.919985v1 and here is a post by Dr. Brownstein: https://www.drbrownstein.com/coronavirus-vi:-why-covid-19-is-more-deadly-to-the-chinese/.
What are some theories about where COVID-19 originated?
- The most widely reported theory is that it came from a bat or snake genome in China.
- Other theories suggest the virus originated from a chemistry professor in the US.
- Still, others have wondered if it originated from the Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) facility in Wuhan, China.
It is POSITIVELY possible that you could add a few additional theories here.
There have been unusual circumstances surrounding coronavirus. MAC is simply reporting this information, and you may do with it what you will.
- There is a Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) facility in Wuhan, China where they test Coronaviruses and SARS.
- In January, three scientists with ties to China but working at Harvard and Boston Universities were arrested (https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/harvard-university-professor-and-two-chinese-nationals-charged-three-separate-china-related). One was charged with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research to China and the other has ties to Wuhan, China.
- There are some claims that Chemistry Professor Weihong Tan, who previously specialized in diagnosing and treating cancer, oscillated his work to COVID-19 in December. The claims suggest that after receiving a grant from the Chinese government, he joined forces with Chinese universities and a biotechnological company to create a test that doctors or non-medical professionals could utilize for prompt testing results. (See David Armstrong, Annie Waldman, and Daniel Golden, March 18, 5 a.m. EDT, https://www.propublica.org/article/the-trump-administration-drove-him-back-to-china-where-he-invented-a-fast-coronavirus-test)
- In October 2019, an organization called Event 201 held a global pandemic simulation using a coronavirus as the center of the pandemic (http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/about). The event and proposed recommendations were a joint effort by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Here are some sites you might find helpful and informative regarding COVID-19 info: