Coronavirus Update: New Developments on COVID-19

coronavirus covid-19 updateIt’s been a couple months since I did a post explicitly about COVID-19, or SARS-COV2, or coronavirus, and since the pandemic is still happening and is on everyone’s mind, I’m going to do another one today. This time, I’m going to do a big picture look at where we stand on transmission risks, reinfections, immunity, and what I think we need to keep in mind as we go forward.

Where do we stand with coronavirus?

How is it transmitted—and how can we avoid it?

What’s the deal with herd immunity?

What are my thoughts on the biggest challenges yet to come?

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What’s the riskiest place to be?

Indoor areas with low air circulation. Things seem to be spiking in hot areas where everyone stays indoors blasting the air conditioning and breathing in recycled air because it’s so damn hot outside. In regions where people get out into hot weather, like Hawaii, the virus is virtually non-existent. There are certainly other factors at play—Hawaii is an island protected by thousands of miles of water, for one, and they have a strict quarantine protocol for visitors—but many transmissions have been linked to indoor areas with AC.

Furthermore, all indications are that it’s harder to get infected from a “glancing blow.” Viral load—the number of viral particles you actually take in — is a big factor. If the initial load is small enough, your immune system has a better chance of fighting it off. If the load is too big, your immune system can get overwhelmed. What’s “too big” a load is different for everyone, but all else being equal, a larger viral load is worse. That’s why health care workers who spend a lot of time around infected patients are at a greater risk. But if you’re passing someone on the street? It’s going to be a much lower risk.

Is coronavirus easy to transmit outdoors?

I asked about this on Twitter the other day, wondering if anyone had good evidence of outdoor transmission. There were many responses. Some of the more notable ones.

  • A 4th of July beach party in Michigan. Hundreds of people standing close together in knee high water, lots of house boats, “several” cases of coronavirus. There was also a house party a couple hundred miles away the same weekend that produced 40 cases. The indoor house party was much more virulent than the outdoor beach party.
  • A Memorial Day party at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Very crowded, looked iffy. One attendee ended up with coronavirus, but officials haven’t identified any other positive cases linked to the party. I wasn’t able to find any recent updates to the contrary. The outdoor lake party didn’t seem very dangerous in this instance.
  • No cases detected after the July 4th speech at Mount Rushmore. They could still pop up, given the potential lag time between exposure and symptoms, but it looks good so far.
  • There were also transmission cases after an outdoor graduation event and indoor prom on the same weekend. 19 students tested positive. All students attended both events, so it’s hard to determine if the cases occurred at the graduation event (which probably had indoor parties afterward) or at the prom (or both).

An earlier Chinese study found that out of 7,300 instances of person-to-person transmission, only one occurred outdoors.1 It happened during an extended conversation.

Overall, the most recent study I could find on the subject came to a similar conclusion.2 Researchers searched through PubMed, media stories, and any other legitimate reports on transmission events and found that the vast majority of transmissions occurred indoors.

This is good news, if it holds. It means people can feel a little safer about going outside, getting sunshine, getting physical activity, and living their lives. Avoid crowds and wear a mask when you’re around people, but I’m cautiously optimistic that being outdoors is the safest place to be.

Does COVID-19 spread through breathing?

This has always been the great fear. Does the virus spread through aerosol from simple breathing, talking, or are sneezes, coughs, and yelling required? Are aerosolized viral particles enough? Or do we need larger droplets?

A new pre-print just came out that has people worried. They took breath samples from symptomatic COVID-19 patients, found live viral particles in the aerosolized droplets, and found they could replicate on isolated human cells.3

However, before you freak out, the story is more complicated than that.

Not all the samples grew; some subjects’ breath samples “didn’t take.” Some samples actually saw their viral particles decline in number. The smallest particles were the most successful at replicating, but the smallest particles also contained the lowest viral load.

The rate of growth was fairly low compared to how actual infections play out. The most successful samples only grew by 400% after six days. And that’s in an isolated human cell. When an entire human gets infected with COVID-19, the virus grows by thousands of percentage points every 8 hours or so.

That said, the virus is aerosolized, some of that aerosol contains replicable viral particles, and if you breathe enough of them in—probably by staying indoors with an infected person or people for an extended period of time — it’s possible to be infected. It’s pretty clear that larger droplets remain the big risk, though.

Can you be reinfected with COVID-19?

A pretty convincing thread of anecdotes out of Iran (one of the earliest and hardest-hit countries) claims that reinfections are occurring. This would suggest that immunity wanes, at least in some people.

Some experts have floated the idea that COVID-19 may be the type of virus that stays with you and cycles through active and dormant periods, like Epstein-Barr or herpes does. It hasn’t been around long enough to know yet whether or not that is the case.

Can we reach herd immunity for coronavirus without a vaccine?

At first, the antibody immunity data wasn’t very encouraging: antibody levels in the population weren’t anything close to crossing the herd immunity threshold, and the antibody response to COVID-19 seemed to diminish and wane after a few months.

But more recently, scientists are finding evidence of robust and widespread T-cell immunity. T-cells from other coronaviruses, like SARS, various animal coronaviruses, and perhaps even the common cold may work on COVID-19. This cross-immunity is long-lasting, too; even though SARS hit 17 years ago, many of the subjects in the study still had T-cell immunity against it.4 In another study, between 20-50% of unexposed people showed t-cell activity against COVID-19.5

From what I’m reading and hearing from experts, this has the potential to be a hugely positive development. My hope is that the huge death numbers are behind us, or at least trending that way. I hope those T-cell cross-immunity numbers persist in subsequent reports. I hope we start looking at T-cell immunity and not just antibody immunity.

Where I Stand

We’ll beat this thing. Of that there’s no doubt. We’ve made it to the other side of epidemics with much more primitive knowledge, tools, and technology. But here’s what I really worry about, other than the deaths, potential long-term health ramifications, and anything “physical.”

I’m seeing a lot of fear. I’m seeing people lose their appreciation for the rest of humanity. I’m seeing people use dehumanizing language to describe people who have different views on the seriousness of the virus. Neighbor doesn’t wear a mask? Don’t assume they’re evil or callous. Neighbor wants people to shelter in place? Don’t assume they’re authoritarians-in-waiting.

I worry about people who are too scared, too paralyzed to do the kinds of activities that are actually quite low-risk and would probably increase health and resistance, like going outside for hikes (even, gasp, with friends and family), getting sun and fresh air and exercise, moving through space and time rather than sitting hunched over your smartphone, scrolling through your echo chamber of choice.

Relax. Stay cautious and vigilant, yes. Stay safe. Don’t put yourself or anyone else at risk. No flippancy. But don’t forget to have fun and loosen up where you can. Low- to no-risk activities are out there. Do those.

If you have kids, they’re stressing out too. Believe me, they’re like sponges. They reflect what you’re giving off. Do it for them, if nothing else.

Lose the vitriol and the fear, more than anything. That stuff doesn’t go away so easily. Those divisions we’re building up between neighbors and family members and citizens may persist long after the pandemic has ended. Don’t let that happen!

We can do this.

Anyway, that’s how I’m viewing this whole coronavirus thing right now. Cautious but optimistic. What about you? How are you handling everything? Where do you see things going in the next few weeks?

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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80 thoughts on “Coronavirus Update: New Developments on COVID-19”

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  1. I think this will likely turn into an annual bug, like the flu. It is continuing to spread and we will likely end up with some type of herd immunity while the media continues to stir the pot, spreading angst among the public. In short, this too will pass in time.

    1. That seems like a reasonable prediction. But don’t forget that the purpose of protecting yourself at this time is to prevent everyone getting it at once, and overwhelming the health system. No one wants to see refrigerated trucks parked in front of their hospital.
      Thanks for another calm rational article Mark.

    2. The herd immunity thing is important, but only works over the longer term. That approach didn’t work out too well for Sweden or the UK, which is why they switched gears, but, along with the US, have some of the highest (top 5, I believe) covid death rated in the world.The goal is, as the below commenter says, is to slow the spread and not overwhelm our hospitals, doctors, and resources.

      1. I think ultimately the Swedes will do OK, they have a great health service and are a generally stoic and responsible people who will do the right thing. Swedish joke: I’ll be glad when this two metre distancing thing ends and we can get back to the usual five metres. Both Sweden and UK made terrible mistakes with their care home residents, a huge proportion of deaths were from these places.

        1. Love the Swedish joke! Totally get it as I grew up among a community of Swedes and Norwegians and my family background is from the German part of Switzerland.

        2. The number of deaths in care homes in the UK were greatly exaggerated, and inaccurate! As someone who lost a member of family in one I can relay this to you with complete confidence. GP s in the UK have been putting Covid related on the death certificate without any positive test results so as to avoid paperwork. In this instance my wife’s aunt died from alcoholic liver diseases she had been ill for quite sometime and when she died it read Covid related on the death certificate. There are a lot of people reporting the same thing! please do not believe everything you read in the press the English press are the worst!

  2. “I worry about people who are too scared, too paralyzed to do the kinds of activities that are actually quite low-risk and would probably increase health and resistance, like going outside for hikes (even, gasp, with friends and family), getting sun and fresh air and exercise, moving through space and time rather than sitting hunched over your smartphone, scrolling through your echo chamber of choice.”

    You are a national treasure, Mark.

    1. Stressing over the virus is not good for overall health. The fear induced panic by the mainstream media is nothing but detrimental and getting out into the sun is so healing!!!

  3. If you’re one of the folks who get infected from a “glancing blow, a light viral load, might you develop enough antibodies to protect against a later heavy viral load? Haven’t really seen this aspect talked about.

    1. Iirc, there’ve been a few articles / preprints / comments on that, carefully indicating that getting a lighter load and / or few to no symptoms, it _might_ make immunity last shorter.

      BUT, and that’s a big but, that’s a) very, very preliminary research and b) focused “only” on “regular antibodies” – while at the same time, there’s also research indicating immunity might still be there even independent of obvious and measurable antibodies. Which is to say: it seems like right now, we just do not seem know how exactly immunity and SARS-CoV-2 work in humans.

      That’s just off the top of my head, though, I might’ve misremembered it!

    2. Has this new coronavirus been discovered by proper procedures of purification?

      Not just isolation. Isolation plus purification?

      1. From what I understand, no. It has not been properly isolated or purified and then tested with distribution among at least 30 labs to see if they all come up with the same thing. Makes you wonder what we are talking about, doesn’t it.

  4. Mark I think your worries are justified. Last week we hiked in a wilderness area, and a series of groups of masked adults cringed and turned away as we passed (unmasked).

  5. Mark, thank you for this thoughtful analysis. There’s way too much fear out there these days, and it’s not good for us.

    1. Everyone is afraid of this virus and people are not checking news about COVID 19 because there are lots of fake news and they don’t know what should they trust and whatnot. Let’s hope this will end soon.

      1. No, everyone is not afraid of this virus. There’s a difference between caution and fear.

  6. O/T, maybe, but I think this is the first documented use of “thousands of percentage points”.

  7. As I recall back in mid-March or so, Mark had a post that was somewhat dismissive of cv. Someone had written in asking, essentially, why everyone was making such a big deal of corona, and he responded saying that’s just the human way or something similar. I can’t seem to find that post, but he’s certainly singing a different tune now.

    1. One of the things I like best about Mark Sisson is that he reassesses the evidence and re-shapes his opinions.

  8. > Things seem to be spiking in hot areas where everyone stays indoors blasting the air conditioning and breathing in recycled air because it’s so damn hot outside. In regions where people get out into hot weather, like Hawaii, the virus is virtually non-existent.

    It is indeed warm in Hawaii, but most people here like to avoid the heat as much as those in any other warm region (such as Florida), so it’s not clear that Hawaii’s lower infection rate is largely due to the weather.

    While isolation from other states and quarantine rules surely do play a role (though many break quarantine as it’s largely unenforceable), a likely bigger factor is that the vast majority of people in Hawaii consistently wear a face covering and provide distance when around others.

    This may be due in part to Hawaii’s culture, where the concept of “family” (?ohana) extends to the entire community and caring about elders and others is fundamental, but I am glad for it nonetheless.

    1. Hawaii has trade winds. A lot of us leave our windows open all the time and don’t use air conditioning.

  9. Thanks, Mark for the words of encouragement at the end
    of this post. The world needs to hear thoughts like that
    more than anything right now. Its so important to remember
    that all humans basically need the same things, have the
    same fears, etc. So good of you to be supportive of the community.

  10. Going to holiday seems more important than saving your life. In Germany we see the cases rising slowly – again – at the moment.

    I don’t see Corona gone in the next months.

    What is your take on vitamin D and Corona?

  11. I’m more than a little bit annoyed that the antibody test was widely hailed as the way to find out if you had been exposed to the virus or not. People like me, who think they may have had the virus back last winter, were encouraged to get the antibody test. Now, they tell us that the antibody test is virtually worthless if you have it done more than 60 days after you were sick, because the antibodies fade and disappear within 60 days. I had my antibody test done about 90 days after I was sick (the first time the test was available here), and I tested negative. But the results mean nothing. The T cells are what you need to look for, as they are far more durable than antibodies – but no T cell test is being offered. So people like me still have no way of finding out whether they had the virus or not! I think I did, based on my symptoms, but I will probably never know for sure.

  12. An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. Should all the talk be only of treating the virus? Why not spend some of these billions to change the treatment approach to the underlying/comorbid conditions in the 20% of the population suffering serious reactions, maybe thereby improving those patients’ immune response to ALL viruses. The overwhelming majority of the general public already seems to have an appropriate and recuperative response to the virus. It seems plausible that current treatment plans of the noted comorbidities in serious cases have either 1. not addressed their immune connections, or 2. have possibly somehow compromised immune response in those patients.

    If medical practitioners changed and improved our treatment of those with cardiovascular problems and other underlying conditions, could we alter the infection response to create more covid cases that would be asymptomatic or mild/non-hospitalizations vs icu cases or deaths?

    I have questions about possible reinfection and the link isn’t working for me:

    1. Assuming they are actual PCR confirmed 2nd infections, are possible second infections causing less serious, more serious, or consistent symptoms as the first infection in the same patient? Is the length of the illness altered?
    2. Are cultures from a possible second infection as viable as those from a first infection? Are they cultured in vitro as easily?
    2. is the possible reinfected patient going back to the same food or drink they were working their way through as when they first got sick, which may have been inadvertently contaminated by improper handling/preparation?
    3. can bacteria be infected with the virus? if yes, is the patient going back to an air circulation system or home environment that may be bacterial-ly contaminated and therefore exposing themselves again. Are their kitchen sponges or bathroom mops contaminated?
    4. are the possible reinfections in people with sIgA deficiencies or poor T-cell defenses or have hypochlorhydria? Are patients who are hospitalized once from a serious reaction more likely to show reinfection than healthy never-hospitalized survivors.
    5. are those people who are possibly reinfected working in certain lines of employment vs the rest of the population. If yes, are they the same or different as higher risk jobs causing first infections?

  13. Sorry Mark, but you should NOT be giving out medical info or advice during the pandemic other than “refer to you local healthcare officials for direction & advice”. I speak as a Healthcare Emergency Management professional, that when celebs, and self-noted “experts” give advice for this unprecedented time it simply muddies up the water. Point people to their local healthcare agency for advice, direction and testing and call it a day. Don’t try to be a source of truth, because it’s changing far too quickly for you to be responsible for your readers.

    1. I know a number of public health professionals and frankly they don’t seem any better informed than anyone else.

      I appreciate someone who’s familiar with health and medical research giving their considered opinion and laying out some relevant information.

    2. Sorry R but we “lay” people are just as capable of digging into the primary research and looking at the data as many lazy health experts are of regurgitating the data from April as current. Any experience of dialogue with a healthcare provider beyond you’re usual textbook illnesses will reveal that they cannot have an intelligent conversation about the science either bc they don’t know the latest research or they are too arrogant to acknowledge that people who are not doctors have intelligence to ask the questions and look at New research.

    3. My local health officials know only what the politicized WHO and CDC officials tell them, which is not saying much. Even worse, more only know whatever narrative the daily cable news show them. How many are actually looking at the science and data, performing a proper risk analysis by looking at both sides of the equation, and actually making decisions based on such?

      Personally, I’d rather listen to a well respected voice in the ancestral health community for over a decade over some bureaucrat or scientist searching for his/her 15 minutes of fame by espousing the inevitable doom and gloom scenario.

    4. I agree with you to a point, but I don’t think Mark was trying to give medical advice, he was just compiling the info that’s out there. I am an epidemiologist and actually found this article nicely balanced, even if I wish he had included a comment about the importance of face masks. In any case, epidemiologists, microbiologists, and Infectious diseases doctors are the only true experts on pandemics…there are plenty of healthcare professionals out there giving pretty poor advice.

  14. I agree with your perspective. My wife is an Internist working on the front line of COVID-19 and I am a Family Physician who works in nursing homes so both of us have been exposed but we haven’t become ill. We do a lot of things to boost our immune systems, including diet, exercise and loads of supplements. So far, so good.

    1. Dr. Wilson – would you care to share what supplements you take? I would be interested, thanks. Rob

  15. Mark, what are your thoughts on things like group trail running or mountain biking where we’re typically running/riding single file in fairly tight formation ?

  16. Thank you for this post. I wish more people could read it. Because so many people that have platforms on the internet are spreading fear, I have come to appreciate your work even more!
    One thing; you didn’t address the various strains and how they affect contagion or viral load. (And thank you so much for addressing viral load!! Please keep up the good work!!!

  17. Thank you most of all, Mark, for the last part. Here’s to humanizing each other rather than choosing an illusionary, fear-sourced “split” between good vs. evil. Here’s to showing up with care, for ourselves and each other.

  18. Thought puzzle:
    Is Corona virus’ effect on humanity similar, but on an infinitely grander scale, to what autophagy is to the human body.

    Autophagy – Cellular cleanup, pruning and ridding the body of damaged, dysfunctional cells

    Corona virus – global pruning of diseased, compromised and damaged immune systems.

    1. I had a similar thought when this all started. Good thinking comes in waves, no?

    The point that many people seem to be missing is that come winter, everyone is going to be indoors and virus is going to accelerate and infections are going to multiply (probably dramatically). In addition, infections will be compounded by the arrival of Flu season, which will further complicate and compound the pandemic.
    In other words, we have got about three more months of summer to control the spread of COVID-19, or we are toast. So talk about not wearing masks and opening up the economy now are simply ludicrous (for the simple reason that we can only fully open up the economy once we have controlled the virus.)
    So, either we take this opportunity seriously and give ourselves a chance, or we simply squander our final real opportunity, before we get a vaccine.

    1. Ah yes, the magical vaccine. Still no effective vaccine for seasonal flu after, what, 20 years? But there’s one on the way for COVID-19! *high-5!* Keep that needle away from me.

      The “pandemic” will last as long as there are enough people who believe there’s a pandemic. If we didn’t have TV, radio, or the internet, would we know there was a pandemic? No, we would not.

      Continue to play the game, and the game will continue.

      1. Chris –
        We have MANY highly effective vaccines against viral agents: varicella, measles, polio, smallpox, hepatitis, etc.

        The problem with the “flu” vaccine is that Influenza is actually a group of diverse viruses with a fairly high mutation rate. The circulating strains change every season, making vaccine design a guessing game. Some years we get it right and the vaccine is effective, other years we don’t and the protection is partial.

        We’re not trying to find a vaccine for all coronaviruses. We just need a vaccine that’s effective against a specific strain: SARS-CoV-2. So yes, an effective vaccine is possible.

        The pandemic is very real, whether you believe in it or not.

      2. If we didn’t have TV, radio, or internet, there would be a tremendous amount of things we wouldn’t know. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

  20. Great post, Mark.

    It’s good to see an intelligent summary of the situation.

    The press, even here in England is too sensational

    Many Thanks – Mark

  21. Hi Mark, thanks for your thoughts! I am a 51 years old, I’m at a healthy weight, have a good amount of muscle and very low body fat. I live in Kansas (lots of open air) and I have made my health a priority for many years. In March when this thing first presented I made a commitment to do everything I could to boost my immunity to its max. I continued my daily regimen of 10,000 iu of D3, 5000 mcg B-12, Omegas and I added 1000 mg of liposomal vitamin C, and 50 mg of Zinc. I switched my diet from Keto to Keto/carnivore, continued my weight workout 3 times a week with a couple days of walking 3 miles added in. In June our son came to visit from Texas and 3 days after arriving started showing symptoms and tested positive for Covid. He stayed with us for 2 weeks. We lived as normal. No masks, no social distancing, we ate meals together, we hugged goodnight and he coughed and sneezed in our presence. Neither my husband nor I got it. We couldn’t have been more immersed in it. I believe this just goes to show that a healthy immune system is the best defense against this and any other virus.

  22. Couldn’t agree more on the last point. The greatest human evils only happen when we de-prioritise relationships vs issues. Then we label others as evil, as the problem. Relationship is the foundation of any healthy system.

  23. Great post, Mark, and I totally agree with your last paragraph. However, I personally do not like the direction this crisis is going. One of my acquaintances asked his doctor, “When is this coronavirus story going to end?” Doctor’s response, “How would I know, I’m not a politician…”
    That being said, I agree with Lorrie and others that highlight the importance of a properly functioning immune system. It is the only one that truly protects you. This virus will run its course, regardless of the measures imposed by the public health officials. Research on coronavirus vaccines has been going on for about 20 years, and so far has been failing due to eliciting a paradoxical immune reaction. So if a vaccine will be given to people in the next year or so, it will be insufficiently tested, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

  24. Thanks so much, Mark. I would really like it if everyone making important decisions about Covid would read this excerpt of yours. It isn’t in denial, and it also isn’t in the be-afraid-be-very-afraid club.

  25. Mark,

    Thanks for the great post.

    I have seen there are new studies that a cholesterol lowering drug, fenofibrate, may show potential in reducing the severity of COVID-19. The news articles I have read seem to indicate that SARS-cov2 reduces the lung cells capacity to burn carbohydrates, resulting in an increase in fat cells. It seems the possibility of a keto diet potentially being helpful to COVID patients is also being researched. I am not a doctor, or a scientist, but as a follower, would love to hear if you have any insight on the matter. Thanks, stay safe, and keep rocking like Grok.

  26. As always you’re a breath of fresh, rational air in this world, Mark.
    Now I’m going to go for a little walk, thanks for the reminder! It’s cold down here but the sun is out ?

  27. The tragedy, in South Africa anyway, is that criminal activity (especially farmer and other murders) and corruption (especially politicians) continues virtually unabated (business, as usual?) in spite of (or because of) a massive heavily armed military presence trying to control inter-provincial movement and illegal liquor and tobacco-product sales.

  28. Good news about lower risk transmission outdoors. However, when we get closer than 6 feet to others, outdoors or indoors, don’t you think wearing a mask is the responsible thing to do? I think there is a difference between being so fearful you don’t participate in life and simply being a responsible member of society. The later isn’t a problem or inconvenience. The public health message needs to be clear and consistent. If someone asks you where your mask is, there is no need to be defensive, just wear it and say thank you for the reminder.

  29. Hi Mark,
    I’m actually kind of proud the way New York has pulled together ( for the most part) Considering where we started, we are doing great. I didn’t always agree with our Governer, but he has been a true leader With handling this. I’m more concerned with the divisions I am seeing in the whole country. I’ve never seen it like this. This is a time when we should pull together to fight a common enemy. The whole “ Us and Them” thinking would destroy any team, company, etc. I don’t think it’s good for a Country for sure. Let’s remember we all have the same goal. Keep people safe. Get the country back on its feet. That doesn’t have to be Either/Or if we’re smart.

  30. Thank you, yes thankfully we have been doing as much outside getting vitamin d and staying healthy to keep our immune system in good working order. I have 4 boys it can be challenging at times. I am very frustrated with the judgement and shaming people do about why you wear or don’t wear a mask. People need to be responsible for themselves and stop shaming about things they do not know. Thank you again for your work.

  31. Spot on as always , thanks. I truly feel a little better. I’m also a very active 67 year old who loves to ‘keep moving thru time and space’

    1. LoL only if Trump loses. I feel that if he wins the media won’t give up on this hysteria. Not once have I heard the mainstream media talk about healthy diets and good supplementation.

  32. Mark, your words are like a balm on the stress of 2020. Thank you for sharing what you know, what you don’t know, and offering tips on how to remain resilient and hopeful in scary times. Both my husband I and love your blog and your books. Though we are careful and adhere to safe social practices, we believe that following your health recommendations may arguably be the best defense against the virus!

  33. I tell my friends and family that this is a great time to get healthy! If you’re over weight, lose the weight. If you’re eating a lot of fast food and processed food, change your diet. In my studies of this virus, there are 3 high risk factors for a bad outcome after contracting the virus. 1) Elderly, 2) Diabetes, 3) Over weight or obese (BMI above 30). In this entire outbreak, nobody in the government discusses how a healthy diet and moderate exercise will help with immunity. So, I think the fear is that people don’t know what they don’t know. In general 99.9% of people have no idea why they get sick. They never attribute any of their symptoms to their diet. A huge percentage of Americans are overweight. Diabetes is one of the biggest risk factors, but most people are living with Type 2 diabetes as though it’s hereditary. All we can do is teach our friends and family. Other than this, the virus is here and we must live our lives.

  34. Mark, you are wrong about Hawaii and the quarantine. It’s not working. Rates recently have triple digits for the first time since the pandemic popped out. Maybe you were referring to earlier Hawaii – like a month ago. I didn’t see a date of publication for your covid issue.

  35. The problem I got the media does not tell you how to improve your immune system purely focused on social distancing and masks. I’m always skeptical about government health officials and the healthcare industry. I think it is overkill with the restrictions and too much focus is on COVID-19.

  36. I want to see if Mark has any incite on whether people can get antibodies from others who have them. Is this enough of a load to start the antibody production process. I’ve been around my niece who had Covid but after she had quarantined for two weeks. I was thinking of getting an antibody test. Feeling fine.

  37. I recently posted this article on FB and immediately got push back from two people that live on Oahu. The information about Hawaii having low numbers is incorrect, they are now into triple digits and are probably going to go back to a lock down status. Residents and travelers coming in are not following guidelines of self isolation for 14 days. Social distancing, mask wearing not being done enough. Check it out before posting. However there are still excellent points in the article: one can exercise safely, get outside for fresh air, be compassionate with how others respond and react to everything we are being faced with now. I was in Taiwan during SARS, this is so much bigger and frightening. The school where I teach at is thankfully online for the start and who knows maybe longer. Grateful for this step here in Abuja, Nigeria.

  38. The one thing nobody talks about is HCov-NL63. This was discovered in Europe in 2004. It too enters through the ACE2 receptor. It was a mild corona virus that affected young children 2-5 years old and produced bronchitis like symptoms so it was under diagnosed. Other related data show that the hardest hit with Covid-19 only had type 1 antibodies. Those with type3 antibodies experienced up to 3 months of flu like symptoms. Those with type 2 antibodies were asymptomatic with Covid-19. Perhaps exposure to HCov-NL63 produced type 2 antibodies and thats why younger people seem to be free from the effects of Covid-19? I’m still collecting references in respect to this theory but it seems there is much they establishment is not letting us in on.