Coronavirus - COVID-19 CMA Briefing

 COVID-19 coronavirus

 

Coronavirus 2019-nCoV / COVID-19

The CMA's Update - Part 4: April 2020

Jayney Goddard, President, The CMA
This is a long article and I appreciate that it can be difficult to read at length onscreen - so, if it is easier, please feel free to print this article out.  Also, do share it with your friends - and anyone who might find it of interest.
NOTE: This article is in two parts.  Part 1 explains the latest findings and is very useful if you'd like to keep up to date with current findings and statistics.  If you are more interested in finding out how to protect yourself and your loved ones, by all means scroll down to Part 2 

This is an update now that we have far more information than we did a couple of weeks ago.  Alongside this article which sets out the facts and figures about coronavirus / COVID-19 I have also collated quite a lot of data about complementary medical approaches that have been shown in the past to either be effective at fighting virual infection, preventing them in the first place and enhancing our immune systems so that we are less susceptible to developing symptoms of Coronavirus / COVID-19.

We have now prepared several videos on various aspects of this topic to help you to remain safe.  You can find these videos here. Please sign up for The CMA's newsletter so that we can keep you in the loop as things develop - and we discover more about this virus and steps we can take to protect ourselves.  You can find a link for this in the purple box at the top of this page.

Fighting the new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been a battle against the unknown for doctors and virology/immunology researchers and of course they are looking for ways to fight the virus in those already infected – and to find vaccines that will be able to prevent infection.  The trouble with this approach is that it takes AT LEAST 6 months to grow a vaccine in sufficient quantities that will enable global coverage.

This DOES NOT include the lead time that it takes to ascertain which version of the virus will be the one that is in circulation in over six months’ time.  Remember, viruses constantly mutate – so we really don’t know exactly how the virus will be behaving in six months+ time - it really is a ‘best guess’ situation and one where a crystal ball really would come in handy.  BBC reports state that the experts they have interviewed do not believe that a vaccine will be available for at least a year - and they point to the fact that there's still no vaccine available against the 2009 Swine flu virus - over ten years later.

It is hugely challenging for Big Pharma to realistically come up with anything viable and of course, you’ll realise that I haven’t even touched on the potential harms from added vaccine ingredients – preservatives and adjuvants – that have the potential to seriously compromise health.  There are plenty on online resources that provide reliable, up to date, evidenced-based data about these issues, should you wish to read further.

 

PART 1 - THE CURRENT SITUATION

Coronavirus is now a pandemic

A pandemic like the current corona virus outbreak is a bonanza for the drug companies – and as I wrote in my books on pandemic flu1, governments globally are sitting ducks for the pharmaceutical companies, who would love nothing better than for mass coronavirus panic to break out so that their coffers can be lined. 

Governments have their arms twisted behind their backs as they are under huge public pressure to “DO SOMETHING” to protect the populace – so they really have to be seen to be spending billions purchasing drugs and vaccines that have little, to no proof, of efficacy.

Back in 2005 and again in 2009, during the Bird flu (H5N1) and Swine flu (H1N1) pandemics, respectively, governments spent literally billions stockpiling supplies of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) – a neuraminidase inhibitor drug that was supposed to prevent flu from developing, and it was eventually discovered that not only did it not adequately prevent, or even reasonably shorten, the duration of these influenzas, it came with an array of horrendous side-effects (which particularly affected children, with some appalling neuropsychiatric outcomes)2. In fact, Tamiflu was deemed so dangerous that some governments actually banned the drug. 

Let us not also forget that the manufacturers of Tamiflu, Gilead Sciences and F Hoffmann-La Roche, falsified or (if we are being charitable), made grave errors when reporting their trial results, and it is believed by many that they perpetrated a huge crime against governments and thus, taxpayers, worldwide - scamming them out of all those billions. Oddly enough, no one was ever prosecuted!

Back to Coronavirus:

Due to the difficulties in producing any viable treatment via the usual conventional pharmaceutical routes as described above, we need to look at what we can contribute from our health and wellness perspective in complementary medicine.  And, of course this article is not the place to explore the dastardly doings of Big Pharma and their lies about Tamiflu, you can read all about these issues in my books – where I cover all this in great depth. Instead, in this article, I wanted to provide you with information about how the current version of the virus operates, and the types of symptoms that it produces – and which population cohorts are most likely to be affected – so that we, complementary medicine and lifestyle medicine practitioners have a heads up on what is actually going on.  I have collated this information from various sources including The Lancet, the World Health Organisation, BMJ and more.  Sources and references are at the end of this article.

Hopefully the information here will help clarify what is happening at the moment, and the types of symptoms infected patients will display – and we will look at what we might be able to do to help people, should the virus mutate to become more highly transmissible between humans – and demonstrate a higher mortality rate.

Where are our patient data coming from for this article?

These data are from doctors at the Jinyintan Hospital who are working on the front line of this epidemic. This is a detailed analysis of the first 99 patients treated there and was recently published in the Lancet medical journal online3

What are the main symptoms displayed by patients?

Primary complaint - Lung involvement

99 patients were admitted to the hospital and all had pneumonia - their lungs were inflamed and the alveoli, which transfer oxygen from air to the blood, were filling with fluid. 

Other symptoms exhibited by patients included:

  • 82: fever
  • 81: cough
  • 31: shortness of breath
  • 11: muscle ache
  • 9: confusion
  • 8: headache
  • 5: sore throat

Where it all began - China

This next section will give you some helpful background that will illustrate what happened right at the point that COVID-19 became serious:

First deaths

The first two patients to die were generally healthy, aside from the fact that they were long-term smokers and that would have weakened their lungs. 

The first man was 61 years old, and already exhibited symptoms of severe pneumonia upon arrival at hospital. He was in acute respiratory distress thus his lungs couldn’t provide enough oxygen to his organs to keep his body alive. 

He was put on a ventilator, but his lungs failed, and his heart stopped beating, and he died 11 days after he was admitted.

The second patient was a 69-year-old man who also exhibited symptoms of acute respiratory distress syndrome.

He was put onto an ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation) machine – sometimes called an ‘artificial lung’ but this wasn't sufficient to save his life. He succumbed to severe pneumonia and septic shock after his blood pressure plummeted.

 

Initial Mortality Rate

At least 10% of those known to be infected and showing symptoms die – but view these figures with extreme caution

As of 25 January, of the 99 patients:

  • 57 were still in hospital
  • 31 had been discharged
  • 11 had died

Current Mortality rate for comparison:

 

Globally, according to "Worldometers" at time of writing (25th March 2020, 11am UK time)

Coronavirus Cases:

425,323

Deaths:

18,944

Recovered:

109,225

 

NOTE: it is extremely difficult to analyse actual mortality rates.  The current estimates do not accurately indicate that the mortality rate of the Coronavirus is circa 11%, though, as some of those still in hospital may yet die and many others have very mild symptoms, so they do not end up in hospital. Furthermore, some leaked data from China indicate that greater numbers of people are succumbing to the disease and dying – but as these reports are not officially substantiated, it is impossible to tell. At time of writing – we don’t yet know how dangerous coronavirus really is.  For comparison, seasonal flu typically has a mortality rate below 1% and is thought to cause about 400,000 deaths each year globally4. SARS had a death rate of more than 10%. And the 2005 pandemic of Bird Flu (H5N1) had a mortality rate of circa 85% according to the WHO.

Now, let's look at the Coronavirus Incubation Period:

2 - 14 days
Possible outliers: 0 - 27 days
 
  • 2-14 days represents the current official estimated range for the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
  • However, a case with an incubation period of 27 days has been reported by Hubei Province local government on Feb. 22 [12]
  • In addition, a case with an incubation period of 19 days was observed in a JAMA study of 5 cases published on Feb. 21. [13]
  • An outlier of a 24 days incubation period had been for the first time observed in a Feb. 9 study.[11]WHO said at the time that this could actually reflect a second exposure rather than a long incubation period, and that it wasn't going to change its recommendations.
  • Period can vary greatly among patients.
  • Mean incubation period observed:
    3.0 days
    (0 - 24 days range, study based on 1,324 cases)

    5.2 days (4.1 - 7.0 days range, based on 425 cases).
  • Mean incubation period observed in travelers from Wuhan:
    6.4 days
    (range from 2.1 to 11.1 days).

Demographics:

Who was affected initially?

Market workers were originally infected

It is believed that, similarly to the 2005 Bird Flu (H5N1) and the 2009 Swine Flu (H1N1) live animals sold at the Huanan seafood market are the source of the infection, called 2019-nCoV or COVID-19 – which has become transmissible to humans. 

It is believed that market workers have been affected primarily, as 49 out of the 99 patients had a direct link to the market:

  • 47 worked there, as managers or working on the market stalls
  • 2 were customers who had briefly visited the market

Middle-aged men worst affected

The majority of the 99 patients were middle-aged men, (average age 56 - and 67).   

However, more recent figures suggest a more even gender split. The China Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has stated a gender ratio of 1.2 infected men to 1.0 infected women. 

Why might men be more vulnerable?

It isn’t known why men might be more susceptible to Coronavirus – there are so many confounding factors that could be responsible for the difference – lifestyle, socio-cultural reasons, immune system variance and more.

Dr Li Zhang, who works at the hospital, suggested: "The reduced susceptibility of females to viral infections could be attributed to the protection from X chromosome and sex hormones, which play an important role in immunity."

Which health conditions/illnesses did those people who were already infected have?

It should be noted that the 99 patients had other diseases that may have made them more susceptible to the virus as a "result of the weaker immune functions of these patients":

  • 40 had a weak heart or damaged blood vessels due to disorders including heart disease, heart failure and stroke
  • A further 12 patients had diabetes

Age, Sex, Existing Conditions of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

Most recent data available. Last updated: February 29, 4:40 GMT

There are two sources that provide age, sex, and comorbidity statistics:


  • The Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission published on Feb. 28 by WHO, [2] which is based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases. The report notes that "The Joint Mission acknowledges the known challenges and biases of reporting crude CFR early in an epidemic" (see also our discussion on: How to calculate the mortality rate during an outbreak)
  • A paper by the Chinese CCDC released on Feb. 17, which is based on 72,314 confirmed, suspected, and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in China as of Feb. 11, and was published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology [1]

We will list data from both, labeling them as "confirmed cases" and "all cases" respectively in the tables.

Age of Coronavirus Deaths

COVID-19 Fatality Rate by AGE:

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). This probability differs depending on the age group. The percentages shown below do not have to add up to 100%, as they do NOT represent share of deaths by age group. Rather, it represents, for a person in a given age group, the risk of dying if infected with COVID-19.

 

AGE

 

DEATH RATE
confirmed cases 

DEATH RATE
all cases

80+ years old 

21.9%

14.8%

70-79 years old 

 

8.0%

60-69 years old 

 

3.6%

50-59 years old 

 

1.3%

40-49 years old 

 

0.4%

30-39 years old 

 

0.2%

20-29 years old 

 

0.2%

10-19 years old 

 

0.2%

0-9 years old 

 

no fatalities 

 

Pre-existing medical conditions (comorbidities)

As we now know - patients who reported no pre-existing ("comorbid") medical conditions had a case fatality rate of 0.9%. So, pre-existing illnesses that put patients at higher risk of dying from a COVID-19 infection are:

COVID-19 Fatality Rate by COMORBIDITY:

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). This probability differs depending on pre-existing condition. The percentage shown below does NOT represent in any way the share of deaths by pre-existing condition. Rather, it represents, for a patient with a given pre-existing condition, the risk of dying if infected by COVID-19.

PRE-EXISTING CONDITION

DEATH RATE
confirmed cases 

DEATH RATE
all cases

Cardiovascular disease

13.2%

10.5%

Diabetes

9.2%

7.3%

Chronic respiratory disease

8.0%

6.3%

Hypertension

8.4%

6.0%

Cancer

7.6%

5.6%

no pre-existing conditions 

 

0.9%

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). The percentages do not have to add up to 100%, as they do NOT represent share of deaths by condition.

 

How do you treat Coronavirus conventionally?

At the moment there aren’t any vaccines or other drugs that have shown any promise in treating Coronavirus at the moment the conventional advice is to rest and hydrate, much as one would if one had a mild cold and some centres are advising the use of ibuprofen, although, other centres disagree and state that ibuprofen is potentially harmful and may exacerbate symptoms. For those hospitalised and exhibiting respiratory distress, the use of ventilators and IV hydration drips are the most likely treatment pathways. Tests are under way in China to ascertain whether two antiviral drugs used to treat HIV - lopinavir and ritonavir - might offer effective treatment. These drugs were shown to help combat the Sars virus in 2003, after data emerged that HIV patients who were using the drugs and who also had Sars had better outcomes. Other drugs under consideration include Tocilizumab - the biological therapy that is used to suppress the immune systems of people with autoimmune illnesses including Rheumatoid Arthritis.  It is an IL-6 inhibitor - it supresses the activity of the pro-inflammatory IL-6 cytokine.

Coronavirus header

PART 2 - What are our options in Complementary Medicine?

As you will appreciate, this is my ‘best guess’ too as I have not treated anyone with Coronavirus, nor have I seen it first hand, but I am working from my knowledge of the well-described presenting symptoms in patients that have been provided by the doctors treating them, and using my own expertise based upon over three decades of working with patients presenting with a vast variety of conditions.  As we know, in Complementary Medicine, we do not ‘treat conditions’ as such – we aim to understand why a patient is expressing certain symptoms and we use these to ascertain how we can best support that person’s return to optimal wellness.

CAVEAT:

Under no circumstances deviate from the Governmental safety guidlines.  Handwashing is as important now as ever! Remember that 'personal distancing' is extremely important and observe any guidance (or laws that may come into place) that the government in your country have implemented.  We are keepingthis information general as The CMA is a global organisation and each country has it's own set of guidelines that must be adhered to.

Lifestyle and Nutrition

Given that adults with compromised immune systems seem to be most at risk – particularly if they have respiratory or heart/circulatory conditions – it is essential for these people to take steps to develop healthy lifestyle habits and to stop smoking immediately – if that is an issue.

We will all need to eat healthily and the most robust data point to a whole food, plant-based diet as the optimal nutrition approach for general wellness and resilience.  Ideally, we should aim to eat a rainbow of different coloured fruits and veggies – with as much variety at every meal.  This nutritional advice applies to the generally well population – and those of us who struggle with other conditions.

Avoid sugar and all refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pastries, pasta, biscuits/cookies, sweets/candies etc.  Sugar compromises immune activity. It is best avoided in general – but more so if there is a potentially harmful virus in circulation.

Avoid alcohol.  The most up to date research really shows that there is no safe level for alcohol consumption.

Cut out processed, refined fats and all animal fats – these compromise circulatory function and promote inflammation – which weakens immune response.

Cut out caffeine as this too can compromise immune response in some people.

Hydration

Adequate hydration is crucial – hydration attenuates the viral load – should we succumb to any virus – which is why we are often told to rest and drink plenty of water when we are ill.  Remember to avoid tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks – especially so if they contain sugar. You’ll know when you are adequately hydrated if your urine is a pale straw colour.

Exercise

Exercise is vital for us all – and it does a great deal to support a robust, healthy immune system.  We humans are designed to move, and it is impossible to be optimally healthy if we lead a sedentary life.  As we know, 'sitting is the new smoking' – and active gym sessions and bouts of exercise don’t offset the damage done by long periods of sitting, e.g. watching TV, working on a computer etc. When we are well, it’s vital to take at least 30 minutes exercise every day but aim for more than that – and spread your activity throughout the day too.  If you do watch TV, ensure that you get up and move about periodically. Resistance training is hugely important for us all – this includes weight training, heavy manual work etc. and lastly, more mindful forms of exercise, such as yoga, pilates, tai chi, qi gong etc. are helpful both physically and as a form of moving meditation.  Try to get out into nature if at all possible - and remember to maintain a safe (2-3 meter) distance from others.  If you can't get out, remember that it is important to breathe fresh air - so throw those windows open for at least part of the day.

Stress Response Management

You’ll notice that I don’t talk about ‘stress management’ as it is impossible to manage sources of stress – life happens – and it’s how we deal with things that distress us that actually matters.  Building resilience to stressors is vital to maintaining optimal physical health – as well as giving us psychological poise – and one of the best ways to do this is to learn a technique called “The Relaxation Response”.  This 20-minute meditation technique was pioneered by Dr Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School and it is incredibly simple to do.  I have recorded an instructional download for you that you can access completely free at my personal website JayneyGoddard.org

Sleep

Adequate sleep is vital to health as we all know – and so much has been written about this already so I won’t go into it in depth here. However, it is a fact that poor, disrupted sleep and insomnia really do dramatically compromise immune function. So, with this in mind, I wanted to point you towards a Yoga Nidra Meditation for Deep, Restorative Sleep recording download that is also available free of charge at my website JayneyGoddard.org

Hygiene

Hand-washing

It is always a sensible precaution to observe general hand sanitation procedures all year round - and even more so when there is a potentially serious virus doing the rounds, whether it is seasonal flu (which kills many thousands of people every year) or Coronavirus. I always carry hand sanitiser with me when out - especially if I'm travelling on public transport.  There are plenty of videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to wash one's hands the correct way - It's surprising how many people don't know how to do this!

 

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be dispersed with an atomizer (one to five drops essential oil for every 3 tablespoons of distilled water). For a very basic anti-microbial spray, mix a few drops of the essential oils of Lavender and Tea-tree with distilled water in a plant sprayer and spray liberally around your rooms.

Spritz the air regularly. Do feel free to add other oils as desired, as various oils do have differing anti-microbial effects – so there is a good rationale for using a mixture of any of the following essential oils: Clove, Cinnamon, Thyme, Oregano, Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Peppermint, Tea-tree. Get Jayney Goddard's e-book on the use of anti-viral essential oils during this pandemic here (totally free of charge)

 

Of particular relevance to Coronavirus is that research study has found that the essential oils mentioned above have specific properties which protect our respiratory tract from pathogens, although it is important to realise that none of the oils above have been tested against this novel form of coronavirus - yet. If such research is undertaken, we will be sure to let you know.  We can only provide data about the performance of oils against previously-seen coronaviruses and other pandmic flu viruses.

Treating symptoms of Coronavirus using Complementary Medical Approaches

I have analysed the symptom picture of those presenting with symptoms and so well described by the doctors in China, that I believe that the best homeopathic remedy that is the closest match, over all, to the symptoms described is Gelsemium.  You can read about this remedy here on The CMA site.  Personally speaking, if I were to feel unwell following exposure to Coronavirus, this would be my go-to remedy.  I would then prescribe according to how my symptoms developed and possibly consider other remedies.  Obviously that’s easy enough for a trained homeopath, but if you aren’t then I suggest looking for trained, qualified homeopaths here on The CMA site as they will be in a position to guide you – according to any symptoms you might display, should you start to feel unwell. Homeopathy has a history of performing well in other pandemics and major epidemics - and has been especially useful when there were no other viable conventional treatment options around. In the 1918 Spanish Flu (H1N1) pandemic we have reliable data which show that: 

•Spanish flu deaths in infected and symptomatic people using homeopathy were <1%
 
•Deaths in those using allopathic medicine were in excess of 30%
 
•Cohort sizes were 26000 in one record and 24500 in another.  These data are reliable and were collated by the army doctors who were responsible for the welfare of the soldiers at two major bases. Similar cohorts showed the same statistics.
 
You can view my presentation on just how well homeopathic medicine performed in the 1918 "Spanish Flu" pandemic here.  At the moment, it is simply a set of Powerpoint slides, but now that we have a pandemic upon us I shall, in the next couple of days, record a voiceover that will better explain the data for you.
 

Other Complementary Medical Options

All of the 'holistic lifestyle' disciplines or complete 'systems' of medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda and more have much to offer and many of the herbs used in both Eastern and Western medicine show strong anti-viral activity. Of particular interest is elderberry as it does seem to perform well as an antiviral, however, I am not advising people to take commercial elderberry syrup preparations which contain a lot of sugar as this is, as we know, counter-productive and weakens the immune response. Essentially, any approach that we offer in the field of Complementary Medicine that takes into account the patient's individual totality of symptoms and prescribes upon this, is useful.

The following herbs are proven to have strong anti-pathogen activity - and are oustanding additions to a healthy diet:

Turmeric

  • Anti-Pathogenic (including anti-viral)
  • Anti-Hypertensive
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • < Tumour Formation
  • Anti-Cancer(Anti-Proliferative)
  • Cholesterol Lowering
  • Mucin Increasing
  • Antibiotic

Ginger

  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Analgesic
  • Suppresses Inappropriate production of PG and LT
  • Prevents Platelet Aggregation
  • Anti-Oxidant
  • Cardio-tonic
 

Garlic

  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Analgesic
  • Suppresses Inappropriate Production of PG and LT
  • Prevents Platelet Aggregation
  • Anti-Oxidant
  • Cardio-tonic
 

Resveratrol (usually found as a supplement but derived from plant sources including red grapes)

  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-Oxidant
  • Anti-Cancer and Anti-Proliferative
  • Anti-Angiogenic
  • Anti-Cardio-Fibrotic
  • Anti-Ageing
 

Rosemary

  • Anti-viral
  • Supports Anti-inflammatory Action of D3
  • Potent Cox2 Inhibitor
  • Anti-Oxidant
  • Anti-Cancer
  • Fights Against Lipid Peroxidation (LDL)

Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

This information comes from the World Health Organisation:

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.

 

In Closing

We hope that you will find this article useful and we'd love to hear from you with your thoughts, observations and suggestions for ways that we in Complementary Medicine can support people, should the virus mutate and become more transmissible between humans. Email us here with your comments

  


 

References:

1 See The Survivor’s Guide to Swine Flu: The Complementary Medical Approach Over 577 pages in the Kindle edition with in excess of 600 references to robust research supporting all the recommendations and data in this book.

2 Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2009;339:b5106 https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b5106 (Published 08 December 2009) Last accessed 06 February 2020

3 Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study The Lancet (Online First) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2820%2930211-7/fulltext Last accessed 06 February 2020

4 Global mortality associated with seasonal influenza epidemics: New burden estimates and predictors from the GLaMOR Project J Glob Health. 2019 Dec; 9(2): 020421. Published online 2019 Oct 22. doi: 10.7189/jogh.09.020421 Last accessed 06 February 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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