Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Do we understand the Wuhan coronavirus enough for governments to make even the most basic recommendations?

The questionable recommendation of wearing a mask

The dubious prospects of herd immunity

The mirage of vaccination

Wiser ways to protect ourselves from this pandemic?

Other blogs on covid19

Virology and epidemiology are mystifying, full of paradox. As news and recommendations evolve during this pandemic of the Wuhan coronavirus, not one but several 'elephants in the room' are becoming apparent. Here are three of them: wearing masks, herd immunity and the prospects for vaccination.

Can we be humble enough to admit that we might have been better-off just keeping calm and carrying on as normal? The situation is so complex and our real understanding of the principles so tenuous that even the most benevolent and compassionate actors may be harming health, livelihoods, businesses, governments and economies in ways that we may regret in hindsight.

The most notable peculiarity of the Wuhan coronavirus is that infected people often replicate and spread it asymptomatically. Being free of symptoms presumably means that the immune system fails to react even though considerable numbers of cells in the respiratory system are being destroyed by the process of replicating and quietly exhaling the virus.

It is not clear how many viral particles are required to start an infection. In the case of the common cold, it is known that it may only take one virus particle entering the respiratory system for the process of viral replication to start. However, most virologists assume that the greater the number of viral particles you are exposed to, the greater your chance of infection. In addition, they assume that if you have a large initial exposure, disease may be aggravated because your immune system does not have time to "gear up".

The questionable recommendation of wearing a mask

Masking is thought to protect others from the virus particles you breathe out, more than protecting you from breathing in the virus particles produced by others. However, it is thought to work in both directions, about 80/20.

The 'elephant in the room' is that a mask may cause an asymptomatic spreader of the Wuhan coronavirus to self-aggravate. Mask-free, your self-produced viral particles will disperse in the air, but when masked you re-inhale your own viral particles. This self-contamination may tip you into becoming symptomatic as the replication of self-produced viral particles goes exponential. So is it possible that masking promotes this disease with its peculiar pattern of initially asymptomatic replication?

The authorities emphasise distancing, hygiene and ventilation, all of which keep contact with the virus to a minimum. Masking surely undermines as much as supports these tactics?

The dubious prospects of herd immunity

Herd immunity is the natural result of exposure of a population to an epidemic in which the immune system is primed to recognise and destroy viral particles before significant replication occurs. When herd immunity is achieved, the spread of the virus is curtailed because so few people replicate it after exposure to it.

But here again there is an 'elephant in the room': how can we achieve herd immunity when the immune system of most people does not usually react to this infection in the first place? After all, it is already accepted that most people spreading the Wuhan coronavirus are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.

Furthermore, the studies reported so far indicate that, in the case of the Wuhan coronavirus, antibodies do not reliably build up in the blood even after symptoms are expressed. So, based on both the incidence of symptoms and the incidence of post-illness antibodies, the evidence suggests that the link between immunity and exposure to this virus is so loose that the whole concept of herd immunity is thrown into doubt.

The mirage of vaccination

Vaccination is a technically complicated, hit-and-miss intervention designed to bring herd immunity forward by injecting inert fragments of a given virus which the immune system can recognise and react to, thus preventing disease.

But this particular 'elephant' is the question of how any vaccine could work for the Wuhan coronavirus, given the problems already pointed out for herd immunity? All coronaviruses have so far defied vaccination in humans, and this one has the additional complication that spread can continue regardless of whether symptoms occur.

We know that most of those killed by the Wuhan coronavirus were already so unhealthy that it took little for their infection to turn lethal. In other words, there is some ambivalence about whether many of those dying in this pandemic will have died from, or with, the virus. Given that cause and effect are so obscure, does the logic of vaccination hold up to scrutiny in this case? Can any vaccine save an already moribund demographic category from a virus which specialises, as it were, in pushing the already moribund over the edge?

There is also the question of the overarching corruption of the vaccination industry. The business model is to lobby governments to buy millions of doses of vaccines and hide the costs paid by the government. These vaccines are provided "free" to the consumer. This business is enormously profitable, keeping taxpayers unaware they are subsidising billions of dollars.

In addition, the recent history of vaccination and the damage caused to vaccinated children casts doubt on the prospects of producing a genuinely beneficial and harmless vaccine. No vaccine has ever been created for the common cold, so the chances of a truly effective vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus seem negligible over the next five years.

No doubt so-called vaccines will emerge, but we should question whether they actually work and whether the authorities will be honest with us about the costs/benefits of consuming them.

Wiser ways to protect ourselves from this pandemic?

The real solution is to boost our immune systems by the various means we already know to be effective, as well as by being more and more conscious of our own fearfulness at both the individual and the societal level.

The most important thing you can do is get plenty of good quality sleep - eight hours a day if you can. Rearrange your life to minimise stress, and any issues that may be keeping you awake at night. Avoid antibiotics, which corrupt the immune system in the colon, unless the bacterial infection in question is a matter of life or death.

The next blog will contain a list of all the things that we are doing to protect our immune systems and stay resilient. Then comes a list of what we would do if we believed we may be infected with the Wuhan coronavirus. Lastly, a list of the things we would embrace or avoid if we tested positive, symptoms were looking serious, and were going into medical care.

Thanks to Dr Antoni Milewski for the original thoughts leading to this article, and his suggestions.


Other blogs on covid19

Have most of us already been through this epidemic without noticing?

Why was the Chinese virus epidemic confined to Hubei province?

Do we understand the Wuhan coronavirus enough for governments to make even the most basic recommendations?

The World's First Iatrogenic Pandemic.

How I protect myself & stay healthy

Study finds covid19 in Barcelona in March 2019 - a year before the lockdown