Well, here we go again. Another week, another COVID-19 tale to tell. Or rather, another set of facts to share.
Many news organizations are still clamoring for your attention, offering up the most gruesome stories about this pandemic they can find. Meanwhile, some states have begun to reopen—and I can only imagine how much more hoopla we’re going to have to endure in the weeks ahead because of it.
But you know me… I like to discuss the things you may not be hearing. Or if you are hearing them, I feel obligated to give you my opinion, backed up by facts. That way, you have at least one source for information with a single, pure agenda: to help keep the record straight.
Hospitals can’t halt deaths alone
A lot of the focus of the ongoing coronavirus conversation is now centered on what various countries have done to control their outbreaks.
Reports explore how successful (or unsuccessful) they have been, and what we ought to be doing next. Or more specifically, what our healthcare system should be doing next in order to buy us some time to think (rather than just react) once the immediate danger has receded.
But something that bothered me the most was the suggestion that any country’s COVID-19 mortality rate will somehow hinge entirely on the quality of care it can provide. Because while that is certainly true to a degree, in reality, the issue runs far deeper than that.
A virus is not bacteria. Outside of a 100 percent effective vaccination—and we all know how unlikely that is—there’s no magic bullet for a viral infection. Which means outcomes are largely dependent on the immunological health of the patients who are infected.
And that includes a number of considerations—chiefly, age and chronic disease status. Not to mention, nutrition. (Let’s not forget how many malnourished people there are in this country, despite our sky-high obesity rates.)
We can all be heroes
So really, here’s what it comes down to: Public health interventions and hospital preparedness do matter.
But the general health of the population matters at least as much. And barring new drug treatments (which may in fact be on the horizon by the time you read this), all the ventilators in the world won’t be enough to prevent a surge of deaths in a chronically ill country.
It may seem counterintuitive, but even the highest quality healthcare would still only have a limited role in driving down COVID-19 mortality rates. (Vaccines are another drop in the bucket—progress, but not a cure. And we can’t expect to see one for a while, anyway.)
Meanwhile, governments and health experts are in the process of weighing the critical preventive benefits of lockdown against the financial and social consequences of the erosion of public life.
Yes, some Americans are protesting stay-at-home measures. But I would still say that the vast majority are taking their civic responsibility seriously—and doing their part to protect their fellow citizens and prevent the spread of this novel disease.
Staying home is one of those responsibilities. But I think it’s clear that staying healthy is, too.
Each and every one of us can help save the world by saving ourselves first, in the hopes that a team of doctors and nurses won’t have to do it later. Simply put, you can be a hero, too. And all you have to do it take better care of your health, starting today.
As always, that begins with a healthy, balanced diet, regular daily exercise, and good sleep habits. But you can learn more about how to “age younger”—and feel better—every day this Sunday, May 17th at 3PM-EST, as I host a brand new Longevity Summit. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot for this exclusive, live event today. Click here now!