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The Latest Coronavirus Information You Need to Know

March 05, 2020

"It really is concerning — but remember, let’s stick together, and rely on the facts from experts."

Global Coronavirus concerns are increasing as the virus spreads, leading to a wealth of information — some real, some misunderstood, and some fabricated — circulating to the public. In today’s show, Dr. Nancy will help cut through the confusion around the Coronavirus, and provide the very latest information you need to know about the numbers, the virus itself, and how to minimize your risk.

Video Highlights

  • 02:09: Increasing Coronavirus Concern
  • 07:38: Latest Coronavirus Statistics
  • 13:10: Coronavirus and the Flu: Understanding the Numbers
  • 17:53: Steps to Reduce Risk
  • 28:51: Wrap-Up

Like everyone in the healthcare world, we’ve been following the Coronavirus very closely — especially since Dr. Nancy’s recent show about it — and a lot has changed even in that time. Although there is new information to discuss, we are still recommending that you be aware and concerned, but not panicked.  

Increasing Coronavirus Concern

We know that may be easier said than done: Japan is closing schools, international travel is being restricted, events and tradeshows everywhere are being cancelled, people are being advised to stock up on at least two weeks of food and water, it’s had an effect on the stock markets, and schools are sending out letters to prepare parents for the worst possibility — a spread of coronavirus in schools. It really is concerning — but remember, let’s stick together, and rely on the facts from experts from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and research and information from leading medical infectious disease experts at places like Emory University and UCLA. It’s not time to panic!

There is new information about the rapid spread of coronavirus coming out every day — a lot of it is scary, a lot of it is misinformation, and a lot of it is taken out of context, but a lot of it is also true. Politicians on each side are using it to their advantage, and the media... well, it’s hard to determine sometimes if the breaking news is a real concern or if they’re just looking for ratings. It gets confusing: who do we listen to? How do we know if we are taking the right steps?  How do we know if the coronavirus is really as potentially dangerous as we are hearing?

Dr. Nancy has worked to sift through the misinformation so that we can provide you with only the essential information that you need to know — the latest, fact-based information on Coronavirus 2020. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • The latest facts and figures on the coronavirus
  • What exactly the coronavirus is
  • The difference between coronavirus and the flu
  • Why this coronavirus is so much more concerning that the flu — and more concerning other recent health issues like SARS, West Nile, or even MRSA.

We’ll also review the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus, and share the steps the CDC is recommending you take to reduce your risk of infection, as well as our recommendations to strengthen your immune system naturally — which is important even without the coronavirus because there are still a lot of other a viral infections out there, including the flu and colds.  

Latest Coronavirus Statistics

Let’s jump right into it by defining exactly what the coronavirus is and by getting an update on the latest stats. 

The Coronavirus is an upper and lower respiratory tract infection that can cause varied levels of respiratory illnesses with symptoms that include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. According to the CDC, the coronavirus, or novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019, (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. So, let’s dispel that myth: you may have heard people say COVID-19 is like getting just a “bold cold”. This is incorrect. COVID-19 is NOT the common cold — it’s much more serious.

As of March 4, 2020 here’s what we know:

  • 92,000 people have known to have contracted COVID-19
  • Nearly 85,800 of those cases have occurred in China and South Korea and an additional 2,900 in Iran
  • An estimated 3,200 people have died, and all but 220 of those deaths have occurred in China.
  • There are 120 known cases of Coronavirus in the US, that’s up from the 29 I reported about two weeks ago, and 31 cases in Canada.
  • There have been 11 deaths in the US attributed to the virus.

Before we talk about why coronavirus is different from the flu, let’s talk conspiracy theories for a minute. You’ve probably heard several. Again, this is unfortunately political, given its timing near a presidential election. Some of the common conspiracy theories include: 

  • That the virus originated from people eating bat soup
  • That Russia is behind the virus
  • that the the coronavirus was created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • That it's the result of a bioweapon 

In the age of social media, there will always be outrageous stories that somehow gain traction in the media but these are conspiracy theories — they are not true, and they are certainly not helpful.

In fact, a report released by the Global Engagement Center, the propaganda-fighting program at the State Department actually analyzed nearly 30 million social media posts between Jan. 20 and Feb. 10, (a period during which the WHO declared the novel coronavirus an international health emergency) and, not surprisingly, it found that millions of posts contained inaccurate information about the spread of the coronavirus. The GEC claims this “opened a window into how false information about coronavirus is truly global and spreading faster than the virus itself.” So please don’t believe everything you hear or read about the coronavirus. Facts only!

Coronavirus and the Flu: Understanding the Numbers

A lot of people, including Dr. Nancy, have compared the number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. to the record number of people suffering and even dying from the flu in the U.S., as a way to put the severity of these two outbreaks in perspective.  

But we need to dive into that a little deeper: after looking into it and comparing the two a bit more, we now have a much better understanding of the potential severity of COVID-19, and there are really important aspects that we need to discuss.

Let’s first compare what we know about COVID-19 to current numbers from this flu season. Just in the U.S., over 20 million people have been affected with the flu, nearly 200,000 people have been hospitalized, and over 10,000 deaths have resulted from the flu. Compare that to the much smaller number of cases and deaths in the U.S. resulting from COVID-19 and you see a big difference. 

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story — what has health experts from the CDC and WHO most concerned is the staggering difference in the mortality rate (or death rate), between the two. You see, while this year’s flu strain has affected millions more than the coronavirus, like most strains of influenza, it only has a mortality rate of about 0.1% or less. By contrast, the very latest mortality rate worldwide of the coronavirus is 3.4% according to the CDC; that makes it 34 times more deadly. And a virus that is 34 times more deadly than the flu is a big deal.

Now keep in mind most of those deaths are in China, and in areas where access to healthcare and other issues, make the mortality rate higher than we might expect here. So if we made a conservative guess factoring in those issues, we might end up with something like 2%.

If we do that math, that means at least 20 times more people are dying from COVID-19 than are dying from influenza. To put that in perspective: 10,000 of the 20 million people with the flu have died. But if the same number of people (20 million) had the coronavirus, the death toll would be closer to 400,000 than 10,000. And that is why this strain of COVID-19, which seems to spread as easily as the flu or a cold, but is 20 times or more deadly, has our attention and has the world on edge.

There are a few other ways in which the coronaviruses and the flu differ:

  • First, the flu originates in people and is passed to person. Coronaviruses begin in animals, and then get passed to people. In this case it is believed to have come from an animal called a pangolin, but researchers have not been conclusive on this. 
  • The other thing to note is that the flu typically has seasonality and slows way down in late spring. The coronavirus may or may not — we just don’t know yet.

Steps to Reduce Risk

Okay, so this is scary information, yes, but remember: don’t panic. At this point, there have not been thousands of cases yet in the US. Regardless, you are still going to want to do whatever you can to protect your family and yourself and to reduce the risk of contracting and/or spreading the coronavirus.  

So, let’s review the steps that you are going to take to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19.

No International Travel

Please avoid any overseas or international travel at all.  Very likely you will see more government-mandated travel bans in the coming days and weeks; it only makes sense. But it’s probably best not to wait until we are told that we can’t go somewhere — let’s just weigh the risk and use common sense. Don’t travel overseas or internationally for the foreseeable future. If you do, you could be putting your life, and the life of others, at risk; it’s that serious.  

In addition, there are several steps that you and your family should be taking to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the CDC:

Wash Your Hands and Disinfect Your Home Regularly

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. When we say wash your hands, we mean really wash your hands: with warm water and soap, for at least 20 second (remember, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice before rinsing and thoroughly drying your hands).  

Also, we would normally never recommend using paper towels, but in this case it’s essential — when you dry your hands, use paper towels and discard them right away. Considering how long the COVID-19 virus can live, survive, and be transmitted from all different types of surfaces, including door handles, counters, and especially damp towels, it’s important to use paper towels that can be discarded immediately after use. If that is not an option for you, you need to launder all cloth towels and washcloths immediately after you use them, every time you use them — at least for the near future.

That’s the number one way to prevent the spread of viruses. Also, while Dr. Nancy is not a proponent of using antibacterial and anti-viral hand sanitizers, she believes they are appropriate to prevent spread of a virus like the coronavirus, especially if you are not able to wash your hands. The CDC is making it clear that you need to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, so check the label on the back.

And remember, sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations, but they do not get rid of all types of germs. That’s why hand washing is so important — so when in doubt, wash your hands! 

In addition to washing your hands regularly:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
  • Obviously avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and immediately wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a cleaning product that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. Now, according to the EPA, those disinfectants are thought to be effective against the coronavirus, but their ability to actually kill the virus has not yet been scientifically proven. So the key word is that they may be effective — but regardless, in this situation, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So a daily wipe-down of your cell phone, counters, phones, office desk, and door handles is an absolute must.

Take Steps to Strengthen Your Immune System

Perhaps, most importantly, you are also going to want to take steps to strengthen your immune system. That means that you are going to take all the steps that we’ve been recommending for years, including: 

Correcting Vitamin D Deficiency

Listen, 90% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D at this time of year, and the research shows, over and over, that vitamin D deficiency leads to a weakened immune system — something that none of us can afford right now. What makes it even more important for you to supplement with D3 is the fact that it is virtually impossible to get the 5,000 IU of Vitamin D, the therapeutic amount you should be taking at this time of year, from food or even spending time in the sun.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it’s stored in your body fat, but it needs to be built up and stored over time — you can’t just take it for a day or two and have the amount you need to help keep you healthy.  

As a result, it is even more essential that you act now and start supplementing with Smarter Nutrition’s Vitamin D3 — you are going to need to take 5,000 IU, or better yet, 10,000 IU every day over the next few weeks to get your Vitamin D3 levels up to where you need them to be in order to provide optimal immune system function that better supports your body’s ability to fight of exposure to any virus.

Wrap-Up

We covered a lot today. We understand that these are stressful times, but remember: be aware, be concerned, but don’t panic. We know the coronavirus is here, and it sounds like it’s going to get worse before it’s going to get better. That’s why it’s more important than ever before for you to take every step you can to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.  

There is a lot of information about the coronavirus flying around in the media today. Remember, it’s important for you to listen to and follow the direct advice provided by the CDC and the WHO. We promise we will only provide you with the most relevant, fact-based information about this pending coronavirus pandemic.

And remember, you need to avoid all international and overseas travel, at least for the immediate future, and, you are going to:

  • Wash your hands frequently 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and immediately wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a cleaning product that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.

And you are going to start supplementing with Smarter Nutrition’s Vitamin D3 every day so you can bolster your immune system, ensuring you have optimal levels to help protect you. Click here to get started on Smarter Vitamin D3.

Ok, so that's about it for today’s show. This coronavirus is proving to be a very fluid situation. With information changing almost daily, we’ll continue to monitor the situation and I’ll make sure to keep you with the updated information that you need in order to stay on top of the spread of the coronavirus.

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