07 Apr COVID-19 vs. Common Flu Herbal Pharmacist Perspective
Since the “outbreak” of COVID-19, I have been dumbfounded by how much fear is being pushed down our throats by the media and governments. If you take a look at the “REAL NUMBERS” of both worldwide Flu and COVID-19, you can see that the Flu is much worse each year than COVID-19 is currently. In a paper published in the Journal of Global Health in 2019, they “estimated an average of 389 000 respiratory deaths were associated with influenza globally each year during the study period, corresponding to ~ 2% of all annual respiratory deaths. Of these, 67% were among people 65 years and older.”[i] According to an article on the CDC website “ between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses each year[ii]. Comparing these numbers to what is known about COVID-19 deaths worldwide, as of April 7, the World Health Organization reports 72,603 people worldwide to have died[iii].
Granted, there is still a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19, but the numbers don’t lie.
Number of Dealths
Flu = 389,000 (estimated annual) COVID-19 = 72,603 (as of April 6, 2020
Using logic, which is challenging for many, what is the reason for this panic? Politics? Economics? Fear? I am not a conspiracy theory kind of health care professional, so I will stay away from commenting on the politics, economics, fear, and ask you to sit back, look at the numbers and ask yourself why so few deaths compared to the common Flu is causing such a panic? We don’t have to social distance ourselves, wear masks, work from home, etc. each flu season, do we? Why is this so much worse? More contagious? Not really. Deadlier? Maybe.
My saying for the last 30 years of “sick people get sick” applies here too. The vast majority of those dying from COVID-19 are either frail due to age or have a pre-existing health challenge, which makes them more susceptible to becoming ill from a bacteria or virus. An example IS THAT 10.5% of people who have cardiovascular disease who were diagnosed with COVID-19 died[iv]. Or, the older you get, the more likely you are to die when you are infected from COVID-19[v].
The key to staying healthy during this time of “crisis” (or any other time of the year) is to take care of your body and immune system. Other than wearing masks and gloves, washing our hands and using sanitizers we should also avoid sugar[vi], get proper amounts of sleep[vii], exercise[viii], eat healthy[ix], maintain a healthy weight[x], using dietary supplements. The difference between getting sick and not getting sick is how strong your immune system reacts. We are ALWAYS being exposed to viruses and bacteria yet don’t get sick all of the time. Why? Our immune system is working well enough to destroy the unwanted disease-causing invaders.
Final comment: This is my commentary, of which I am entitled to my opinion. I do not wish to argue the point with anyone and have prayed to God that my commentary is not in vain. Bottom Line, the numbers don’t add up to the amount of hysteria we are seeing. I hope I am right, and this is way overblown. If I am wrong, please forgive me for taking this so lightly.
[i] Paget J, Spreeuwenberg P, Charu V, et al. Global mortality associated with seasonal influenza epidemics: New burden estimates and predictors from the GLaMOR Project. J Glob Health. 2019;9(2):020421. doi:10.7189/jogh.09.020421
[ii] CDC Website, https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1213-flu-death-estimate.html, Seasonal flu death estimate increases worldwide, last reviewed December 13, 2017, Accessed April 7, 2020
[iii]World Health Organization Website, https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200407-sitrep-78-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=bc43e1b_2, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 78, April 7, 2020, Accessed April 7, 2020
[iv] Max Roser, Hannah Ritchie and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2020) – “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Statistics and Research”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus’ [Online Resource] Accessed April 7, 2020
[v] Max Roser, Hannah Ritchie and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2020) – “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Statistics and Research”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus’ [Online Resource] Accessed April 7, 2020
[vi] Ullah H, Akhtar M, Hussain F, Imran M, Effects of Sugar, Salt and Distilled Water on White Blood Cells and Platelet Journal of Tumor Cells Vol 4, No 1 (2016)
[vii] Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch. 2012;463(1):121–137. doi:10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0
[viii] Campbell JP, Turner JE. Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. Front Immunol. 2018;9:648. Published 2018 April 16. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2018.00648
[ix] Chandra R, Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction., Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Aug;66(2):460S-463S.
[x] Nieman D, Nehlsen-Cannarella S, Henson D, et al., Immune response to obesity and moderate weight loss. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 Apr;20(4):353-60.