History offers hope amidst our continued struggle with COVID-19
We’re one month into 2021, and unfortunately, the new year hasn’t been the fresh start so many people hoped it would be.
The pandemic is still raging, political tensions have reached a boiling point, and if you’re having a hard time imagining that things will ever feel normal again, well… you’re not alone.
But allow me to offer some hope and positivity amidst the chaos and uncertainty.
Because if you take a step back and look to the past, history shows us that—like all things—this, too, shall pass. And if we pay attention to the lessons this crisis is teaching us, our society will emerge stronger for it.
From plagues to pandemics
This is far from the first time humanity has grappled with threats like the coronavirus.
Pandemics routinely threatened to collapse the Roman Empire. And let’s not forget the bubonic plague, which wiped out nearly half of the world’s population at the time—its second time around.
But guess what? During that second reign of terror, people started to catch on to the mechanics of contagion. And they started doing exactly what communities around the world have been doing to fight COVID-19: They took steps to isolate themselves.
In fact, it was during this 500-year struggle to stamp out the plague that the Venetian term “quarentena”—or “40 days”—came into common parlance. Because that was the length of time that arriving ships had to wait before passengers were allowed on shore.
After all—conditions were filthy back then. People lived crowded together and blew their noses into their own hands. (If you have ever read books or watched period pieces about London in the Industrial Revolution—like Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist—then you already have some idea about how filthy and disgusting conditions were.)
But eventually, society began to prize cleanliness as a mark of sophistication—a quality that separated the upper class from the literal “great unwashed.” (This also happens to be the main reason why we use utensils today. Needless to say, they require a great deal more practice and dexterity than eating with hands!)
And as the years continued to pass, more and more things started to change…
Leading the way to longer lives
Ultimately, people caught onto the concept of cleanliness as a mark of good personal hygiene—not just as a mark of sophistication. They also began to recognize the value of trash collection, street cleaning, modern sewer systems, and fresh running water. And the educated population began to spread awareness about the threat of “contagion” (rather than dismissing disease as an act of God or witchcraft).
As a result, life expectancy—which once hovered as young as 16 years old—began to skyrocket. And not just because of cleanliness. But because urbanization also kicked open the door to innovation—in medicine and nutrition, as well as in other areas.
Antibiotics and vaccines emerged to ward off lethal disease and infection. And we learned different ways to personally achieve and maintain good health… through things like healthy, balanced diets full of fresh foods and consistent exercise.
In other words, we now have a greater focus on the personal responsibility of good hygiene and good health.
Taking charge of our future
More recent disease epidemics—like the arrival of HIV/AIDS in the late 80s—show how taking responsibility of our own behavior (and health) helps stop diseases from decimating our society.
After all, with such an interconnected society, pandemics can’t be avoided. So think of our current struggle with COVID-19 as a test. Because how we handle this pandemic is up to us—not the public health wonks.
Even with vaccines rolling out globally, infection and death rates are still increasing at astonishing rates in the U.S. and across the globe. Meaning we can’t put all of our eggs in that basket.
Instead, keep this vital question in mind: What personal changes can I make to my daily life to help flatten the curve? If you’re not sure of that answer, allow me to offer some simple advice you can follow—starting TODAY—to ensure that we reach the inevitable calm after this storm…
A healthy lifestyle is your best protection
There are a number of reasons why COVID-19 was able to get the foothold it did so quickly.
Globally, the aging population is the highest it’s ever been across virtually all countries. We’re also dealing with unprecedented rates of heart and lung disease and diabetes. Not to mention an ever-growing population of immunocompromised patients.
All of these comorbidities heighten the risk of severe infection and death from COVID-19. But I firmly believe that if we weren’t such an overweight and unhealthy nation, the United States could have stemmed this pandemic a lot more easily.
That’s why I encourage you to start taking your health into your own hands. Focus on eating healthy, losing weight, exercising more, and keeping your comorbidities in check.
In addition, supplement wisely. In fact, I routinely recommend a handful of supplements to help keep your immune system firing on all cylinders all year-long, in my Complete Guide to Year-Round Immunity. (To learn more, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV1X200.) But two of those time-tested supplements may even offer critical protection against coronavirus:
1.) Vitamin D. Northwestern researchers found that the risk of severe COVID-19 infection was nearly 16 percent lower among patients with normal levels of vitamin D, compared to deficient levels. 1 So just imagine the protection optimal levels might offer!
Start by having your vitamin D 25 OH blood levels checked every six months. (I consider levels between 80 to 90 ng/mL to be “optimal”—because that’s where all the health benefits kick in.) Then, depending on your levels, I recommend a daily dose of at least 50 mcg (2,000 IU) to 125 mcg (5,000 IU). But for lower blood levels, I normally recommend 250 mcg (10,000 IU) to 375 mcg (15,000 IU) daily.
2.) Melatonin. According to a new study from the Cleveland Clinic, melatonin is associated with a 30 percent lower risk of testing positive for COVID-19. 2 That’s why I recommend a starting dosage of 3 mg every night before bedtime to help with general protection. But if you’re using melatonin to help manage sleep problems as well, you can go higher, slowly increasing the dosage in increments if need be. Just never exceed 20 mg.
Of course, personal protection only goes so far in the fight against COVID-19. We must all remain vigilant and vow to protect one another, too. And the simplest way to do just that is to mask up and keep your distance—or just stay home.
Protect yourself, protect others
We now know for a fact that COVID-19 spreads through droplets and aerosols—those small particles that can hover in the air for hours at high enough levels to infect, especially in poorly ventilated, enclosed, and crowded spaces.
We also know that mask-wearing offers critical protection. In fact, two new reviews of scientific literature show that if everyone wore a mask, it would dramatically reduce COVID-19 spread.3
The first report looked at over 100 studies on mask-wearing. And researchers not only found that masks are safe and effective against COVID-19, but they also debunked a lot of the myths out there about mask-wearing in the process. (For example, masks won’t raise your carbon dioxide levels or decrease your oxygen levels.)
The second report focused on front-line healthcare workers. And two strong conclusions emerged: Using N95 or surgical masks all the time significantly lowered risk of infection. But wearing any mask significantly lowered risk of infection, too… when compared to no mask at all.
Of course, let’s not forget that one of the most important reasons for everyone to wear a mask is to keep people who don’t realize they are infected from spreading the virus to others. (This happens more often than you might think. In fact, more than half of all COVID-19 transmissions come from unsuspecting patients with no symptoms at all.4)
I understand that masks may be inconvenient and uncomfortable, but they’re also incredibly important. So if you must leave your house, be sure to wear one, keep your distance, and wash your hands with soap and water, thoroughly and often. Otherwise, just stay home and take advantage of the various contactless delivery or pick-up options available nowadays instead.
Because the personal sacrifices we make today will only make for a brighter tomorrow. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. And if history has taught us anything, it’s that we must continue learning, adapting, and growing in order to get there.
- Daneshkhah A, et al. The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients. medRxiv, Posted April 30, 2020;
- “Researchers use ‘big data’ approach to identify melatonin as possible COVID-19 treatment.” Science Daily, 11/09/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201109152223.htm)
- “Face Masks Protect Wearers, Others From COVID: Studies.” Medscape Medical News, 12/31/2020. (medscape.com/viewarticle/943412)
- “Over Half of COVID Transmission May Occur via Asymptomatic People.” Medscape Medical News, 01/07/21. (medscape.com/viewarticle/943762)