The first frame of Dr John’s video is a photo of a bus in Sweden. It’s chock-a-block full, with everyone jammed up against everyone else. And no face masks either. Apparently the messaging about the virus is…laidback.
Bizarre and rather frightening. 😦
By contrast, I found the news from my state, Victoria, very heartening. It comes in a video from an Australian nurse that Dr John included in its entirety. The nurse is here in Melbourne, and she began with the news that our Premier, Daniel Andrews, is putting his foot down. Can’t tell you how happy that makes me.
You can also find the latest news about Victorian restrictions on the VicEmergency app. The app provides real time info on all threats from bushfires to storms etc. The virus info is under ‘Warnings’. If you don’t have the app. you can download it for free from the Google Playstore. Oh, and the Australian video is spliced in at around minute 11:45 of Dr John’s update:
The Offspring and I are well. In fact, we’ve been eating very well because of the need not to waste anything! The Offspring is making fruit deserts, and I’m making ‘No Knead Bread’ to reduce our dependence on outside sources. Friends and family seem to be doing much the same so I’m sure we’ll come out of this okay. I do fear for those who aren’t taking the threat seriously though. All I can say is #StayHome .
I hope all my online friends are safe and well. That means you. -hugs-
By now, just about everybody should know about Covid-19, and the danger we all face, but sometimes small, important things get lost in the overwhelming negativity. These are the points I took from Dr John Campbell’s video this morning:
At minute 6:56 – if you have pneumonia – don’t lie flat – try to stay sitting up in bed.
At minute 7:19 – drink lots of fluids because when the body becomes dehydrated, the mucous in the lungs becomes ‘thicker’, making it harder for the cilia to waft it out. Cilia are hair-like things that help clear the lungs.
At minute 8:03 – stop smoking because smoking can slow or even paralyse the cilia in the lungs.
Please watch the entire video as these are simply the points that caught my attention.
Two more things:
Apparently Prince Charles has tested positive for Covid-19. I’m not a monarchist, but I have huge respect for the humanitarian principles that have guided the Prince’s actions for decades. I wish him a speedy recovery.
And finally, a huge THANK YOU! to the wonderful people who work for Woolworths. The drivers who home deliver my shopping, and the people who pack it, have made it possible for me to self-isolate properly. And that has meant that I won’t be bringing this bloody virus home to the Offspring.
I don’t like sharing personal, family information on this blog because I don’t believe I have the right to talk about other people’s problems. This once, however, I’m going to break my unbreakable rule and tell you about the medication the Offspring takes to control ulcerative colitis. There are two kinds. One is in tablet form and has to be taken all the time. The second is an infusion – i.e. a chemical pumped straight into the bloodstream – that has to be administered in a hospital once every eight weeks. BOTH of these medications suppress the immune system because ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease.
In all of these diseases, the immune system is either not working well enough, or working against the body’s own cells. Often the medication used to treat the condition suppresses the over-activity of the immune system.
But what about Asthma?
Asthma doesn’t attack the immune system the way the autoimmune diseases do, but it’s in the extended ‘family’, and similar medications are often prescribed to treat it [e.g. Prednisolone]. As such, Asthma sufferers are in as much danger from Covid-19 as any of the above.
All of these people have next to no defence against Covid-19.
And that’s not counting people with MCS. Or cancer. Or cystic fibrosis. Or COPD. Or Emphysema. All vulnerable. All at risk.
So when politicians reassure voters that most of them will only experience a mild disease and ‘only’ a percent of vulnerable people will suffer complications, they are misrepresenting the figures. There are a lot of people with immune related conditions or other vulnerabilities that make them sitting ducks. And these people come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny kids and strong young plumbers through to Boomers and the elderly.
Every time you break isolation because you’re bored, because you’re going stir crazy, because you’re just plain stupid, you risk getting and passing the Covid-19 virus on to someone who will end up dead.
And then there are the health professionals who are fighting Covid-19 without adequate protections. They are risking their lives every single day, and many are starting to fall prey to this virus themselves. These quiet heroes are dying because of selfish people who don’t care about anyone but themselves.
Don’t be a waste of oxygen. Stay-the-fuck-at-home.
There is nothing specifically new in Dr John’s update today, yet in some ways I found it even more compelling than previous videos because he’s talking about what this virus means for us. What it means for our lives. And why our behaviour can cause the death of people we may never see.
We have to move past the…inconvenience that Covid-19 may cause us to a concern about others.
Some will think this is Care Bear stuff, but the bottom line is that no society or culture can survive if we’re all just in it for ourselves.
The compassion and integrity we show now, to others, will determine what kind of society we have when this pandemic finally ends.
First up an important video from Dr John Campbell – remember, he’s a PhD in the medical field, not a doctor Dr – on immunity and the immune system:
The second video is a world, Covid-19 update, and this is where the title of this post comes from:
When Dr John gets to Australia [1:38 of the video] his understated disapproval is embarrassingly obvious. To quote just a bit that I managed to transcribe:
‘Scott in Australia…Scott Morrison…well, it’s not for me to go around judging world leaders but..[snip]…not too much pre-activity in Australia.’
So today I want to talk about my country, my Australia. I know what this crisis feels like on the ground, but until today, I had no real idea of what we were doing about it. The following screenshots are what I found:
The bit highlighted in red – ‘The source of infection for 26 cases is currently unknown’ is the most worrying because it shows that Covid-19 is already out in the community…as at March 18, 2020. And that’s only the cases we know about, perhaps because these are the cases needing medical help.
But what about those cases where people are asymptomatic – i.e. without symptoms – or suffering from only very mild symptoms?
These people are going about their lives, ‘business as usual’, and spreading the infection to god alone knows how many others.
It’s hard to predict how many other people are becoming infected because the ripple effect will be different for each person, a bit like this video of ripples in water:
If you were to slow the effect down and freeze it, you might get something like this:
The big circle in the middle is PERSON 1. If PERSON 1 infects just 3 other people, and each of them infect just 3 more people, you would quickly have 148 people infected. I’m no mathematician so if I’ve got that wrong PLEASE tell me in comments.
The actual spread of the virus will be far more complicated than my pretty little diagram, but if we already have 26 cases for which there is no known source, it means the spread through the community could be far, far worse than the figures imply. Many sources I’ve read say the actual number should be the official figure multiplied by 10 or even 20.
But of course, the governments figures would be suspect anyway because they haven’t done anywhere near enough testing. Only those with clinical symptoms of Covid-19 who request help are being tested. Those who only suspect they may be infected aren’t tested at all.
I tried to find out how much testing Australia has done and is doing, but the government sources provide next to no information. The following quote is from The Guardian:
‘Speaking at the council of Australian governments meeting on Friday, Australia’s chief medical officer, professor Brendan Murphy, said supply problems with coronavirus testing kits was a “temporary issue” but one that was hampering the scale of testing in Australia and across the globe.
“It’s a temporary issue, but it relates to the fact that a number of countries, where these consumables are made have probably put export controls over them to keep them for their own use,” he said. “We will work through it. We’ve got world-leading medical technology and will fix that issue, but it has caused a temporary issue with the scale of the testing that we can do at the moment.”
So the take home message seems to be that we don’t currently make enough [or any?] test kits in Australia, but medical manufacturing is ramping up to produce home grown test kits.
The question, however, is how long will these homegrown test kits take to manufacture? The CDC in the US tried to do the same thing, and failed. Just exactly how are we, with a fraction of the resources, going to do better?
A related question is: why didn’t we start this process earlier, like when the deadly potential of Covid-19 first became apparent?
So… nowhere near enough testing happening in Australia. But then what data are the modellers basing their advice on?
The lack of testing is like the general of an army saying, ‘don’t bother sending out reconnaissance; we know the enemy is out there.’
But where is the enemy?
How many of them are there?
Do we know where they’re going?
The lack of adequate testing is not only hindering our ability to fight this pandemic, it’s leaving individuals with the frightening idea that everyone is potentially a carrier.
We’ve already seen the panic buying. Some of that is profiteering by disgusting people who should be hung up by their balls, or whatever part of their anatomy that hurts the most. But by and large, most of the panic buying is by people like me who take the threat seriously and want to protect their vulnerable loved ones.
Frankly, when #ScottyFromMarketing gets on his high horse and says ‘dont do it!’, like some kind of stern, all-knowing father figure, my first instinct is to flip him the bird. How dare he?
Despite the evidence of China, South Korean, and Italy, the Australian government is still treating us like mushrooms and pretending that we can do better than every other country on Earth.
Past experience has shown that by ‘better’, this government means ‘survive the virus without damaging the economy too much’. First stimulus package – protect industry and ‘jobs’. Second stimulus package…protect more jobs??
How about a commitment to give those made unemployed by the virus enough to live on [so they can self-isolate without starving to death]?
How about taking control of the distribution of essentials like food and medication? If people with existing conditions can’t get their normal medication, many will die. And you can’t protect the vulnerable when they have to break self-isolation to stand cheek-by-jowl in long queues to buy food and other essentials.
The logistics of keeping people alive are being left to the marketplace, but the for-profit sector is making hay while the sun shines. The one exception to this is IGA. I’m not sure if all IGA stores are doing the same thing, but my local store has already instituted a strict rule for customers:
1 of each product per customer
At the very least, every single distributor of essential items should be doing the same.
And how about providing real information so that fear and confusion does NOT lead to hoarding? So far, the messaging from the government has been either pathetic or contradictory. To get through this, we need to work together, but we can’t work together when we don’t have leaders we can trust.
I’m prepared to make sacrifices, but only if I believe that the government is more concerned with my survival than my contribution to the economy. At the moment a part of me believes that #ScottyFromMarketing is still enamoured of Boris’ bogus ‘herd immunity’ strategy…and bugger the consequences.
We can’t fight what we can’t see, and we can’t follow leaders we don’t trust.
I’m linking to Dr John Campbell’s excellent video at the end of this post, but this information is so important, I want to provide a quick summary first.
When the immune system detects an invader – i.e. a virus or bacteria – it starts a cascade of important steps to fight that invader.
It sends a signal to the brain to turn up the body’s thermostat. The reason for this is that all of the immune system’s ‘weapons’ work better and faster when the body temperature is higher. So we get a fever.
At the same time, the immune system sends out all sorts of white blood cells to detect the invader, to warn other body cells that an invader is coming, to surround the invader and to ‘eat’ it.
If we take drugs to reduce the fever, we’re hobbling our own immune systems and making them less efficient.
So a temperature of about 39 degrees C or 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit is good. It will not do an adult any harm. [Children and fever will be covered in a later video].
What does all this mean in a practical sense?
First, it means we have to change our expectations. We will not be able to ‘soldier on’ because a good fever will probably make us feel lousy.
I say ‘probably’ because it’s been so long since I’ve had a fever, I can’t really remember what it feels like. And that brings me to the second point, the reason I can’t remember what a fever feels like is because I always took something to bring it down. That. Must. Change.
We must allow the fever to run its course because it’s actually helping us fight off the virus.
And this brings me to my final point. Modern technology will help us eventually. There will be a vaccine, eventually. There will be new anti-viral treatments, eventually. But for now we’re on our own.
The only weapon we have in the fight against Covid-19 is the immune system we were all born with. We have to help it help us. So if you’re an adult, and you get a fever, whether you think it’s Covid-19 or not, be brave and let the fever come. If you have access to things that help support the immune system, by all means, take them! But leave the fever reducing drugs in the cupboard.
“So suffer in silence, huh?”
No, drinking lots of fluids will help you feel better. Weak tea with lots of lemon and honey is delicious and good for you because the honey contains a mild antibiotic which may help stop secondary bacterial infections, and lemon juice contains vitamin C which is one of the things that help support the immune system.
Soup is good too. It’s easy to swallow, gentle on the stomach and contains nutrients that provide the energy the immune system needs to keep fighting.
Rest is also vital. While you’re sitting or lying in one place, your body isn’t wasting any precious energy that could be used by your immune system. Feel sick and exhausted? Don’t fight it. Your body actually knows what it’s doing.
And finally fresh air and sunshine. Just because you’re sick it doesn’t mean you have to be cooped up in a stuffy room with all the windows shut. Back in 1918, during the Spanish Flu pandemic, health workers discovered that patients in well ventilated wards, or outside on cots in the sunshine, recovered better than patients in stuffy wards.
Bundle up, sit outside if you can, and let the sun shine on your face. That’s vitamin D you’re soaking up.
I know these are all old fashioned remedies. Some of you will think they’re rubbish, but right now, old fashioned is all we’ve got. Stay healthy.
A couple of interesting videos from Dr John Campbell. The first is the most recent Covid-19 update, the second is a short video about what drugs not to use when/if you do get Covid-19.
An important take-home-fact from the second video is that paracetamol will bring down the fever, and it won’t make the disease worse. So even if the evidence is still largely anecdotal, it won’t hurt you to give the NSAIDs a miss. Why play Russian roulette with your life if you don’t have to?
On the prevention side of things, the Offspring and I started taking Olive Leaf Extract and Sellenium supplements last night. Also eating fresh capsicum [well washed] because it contains more vitamin C than an orange. Stood outside in the sun this morning for some vitamin D. Didn’t have much skin exposed as it was a bit chilly so I’ll put on a t-shirt and get a better dose once it warms up.
If there’s sun where you are, why not go outside and get some free vitamin D? You will need to expose some skin. Streaking, however, is not recommended. lol lol lol Ahem…
And finally, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we will cope in isolation for the next who-knows-how-many months. From there, I started wondering about the generational gap between those of us who cook, and those who don’t. If all these people are stuck at home, how are they going to eat if they don’t know how to cook?
In the next few days I’m going to search through my recipes for very simple meals that can be prepared by people who don’t normally do much cooking. As the availability of ingredients will be different in other countries, perhaps you could post simple recipes as well.
It’s not a big thing, but we’re fast reaching a point where every single one of us has to start thinking about the wider community. We have to support each other in whatever way we can.
Let’s use this pandemic as an opportunity to do good. There are so many ways we can help our communities. All we need to do is think outside the box.
My thanks to Don Charisma for posting the latest Dr John Campbell health video on his blog.
For those who haven’t yet heard of Dr John, he’s a retired UK nurse/teacher/researcher who is analysing the latest data about this virus and explaining it to us. He has a Youtube channel, and this is his latest video:
I strongly recommend watching the entire video because it is full of information relevant to different countries, but here are the bits of particular interest to me.
Confined spaces and aircon
There was some meticulous research done [in China] on the spread of infection in a bus. I don’t know what it is about the air conditioning in the bus, but it basically doubled the radius of infection to 4.5 metres. In simple terms, the virus from an infected passenger travelled much further than previously thought.
Note: the radius of infection is basically how far droplets containing virus will spread in the air before falling to the ground.
Virus survival on surfaces
Another thing that worried me is the information about how long the virus survives on surfaces such as metal, cloth, paper etc. It can survive – on surfaces – at 37C for days. That’s roughly 10C more than previously thought. That means this virus is hardier than we imagined. It also means that every infected person has the potential to infect people he or she is never in physical contact with.
Think about all the shopping trolley handles we touch, how many counters in shops, how many door knobs, tables, chairs… The list is endless, which means we have to be super vigilant, not just to protect ourselves, but to protect those we love. Do NOT soldier on, you could kill someone.
And finally, a word about government intervention. The countries that have been proactive about stopping the spread of Covid-19 are doing better than those which have not. We need to learn what works and do it in our own countries.
One thing which has worked particularly well in South Korea is ‘drive through testing’. You stay safe inside your car – your own little bubble of protection – and drive away without having to come in physical contact with others who may or may not be infected.
When I saw news footage of people waiting in long queues [here] to be tested, my first thought was, “well, if they didn’t have it before, they may well have it now”. Gatherings of people who may already be infected is such a bad idea…
Daniel Andrews [Premier of my state of Victoria] has declared that his government is going to take more stringent measures against the spread of Covid-19. I’m glad, but I still think that allowing Moomba and the Grand Prix to go ahead in Melbourne was a bad idea.
I understand that we do not yet have the level of community spread that triggers more ‘stringent’ measures, but we also don’t have the community awareness required to take this threat seriously. Traditional, normal public gatherings like these simply reinforce the idea that we’re ‘safe’.
We’re not safe, and we have to get used to that idea. We have to get used to taking precautions such as wearing masks and gloves, washing our hands religiously, staying away from crowds and air conditioned centres. We have to start doing these things now so that when things do get worse, they’ll get worse at a slower rate.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to slow the spread of this virus.
The following is a screenshot of a thread I read on Twitter last night. It’s from Northern Italy and describes a health care system teetering on the brink of collapse. Yet Northern Italy has a world class health system.
We have world class hospitals in Australia too, but people with the pneumonia stage of the infection need ventilators. These machines are capable of breathing for the patient until they are capable of breathing on their own again. But if everyone gets sick at once, how many are going to miss out on ventilators because there aren’t enough to go around? How many will die?
Deaths by age
Going back to the Dr John video, the stats showing the break down of deaths by age show that small children appear to be remarkably resilient:
From the age of 10 onwards, however, young people do die from Covid-19 as well. 0.2% of deaths amongst young people may not sound like much, but they are still people, real people.
Do you really want your ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to result in the death of your brother, sister, best friend, lover, wife, husband?
Or what about your parents? Aunts? Uncles? Grandparents?
We have to slow the spread of this virus, and we have to start now.
As I’ve probably mentioned before, there are all sorts of autoimmune diseases in my extended family, so this novel corona virus is of huge concern. People I love are amongst those who are most likely to die from this virus, yet the message in the media seems to be ‘it’s okay, you probably don’t have anything to worry about’.
‘You’ personally? Maybe not, but what about those you may infect?
What about the frail elderly in nursing homes?
What about those over 65 in the community?
What about young people with diabetes? asthma? multiple sclerosis? lung conditions? heart conditions?
These people are not expendable. Grrrr….
Anyway, in order to protect people in my family, and ensure that I don’t bring Covid-19 home to them, I went searching for information. The best information I’ve found so far has come from an English gentleman by the name of Dr John Campbell. This is his Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Campbellteaching
John Campbell is not a medical doctor, but he has been a medical practitioner all his life. He also has a couple of medically related PhDs. That’s where the ‘Dr’ title comes from.
I say all this so that you understand that he is a teacher in the field and knows how to do research in the field. He is not at the front line of Covid-19 research, but he is very good at explaining what is known…to us.
John Campbell’s videos also include a host of practical info that I certainly didn’t know about – such as how to wash your hands properly. I know, sounds utterly basic doesn’t it? All I can say is, watch the video and learn how to protect yourself a little better.