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  • Writer's pictureRobin Rhine McDonald

What Upsets Me most About the Approach to COVID-19

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

There is plenty to be upset about with all that's going on. People are getting sick. People are dying. Jobs have been lost. Businesses are closing. People are struggling. Anxiety is high. There's a LOT we are dealing with.

If you're like me, when things get tough, you want to do something about it.

"How can I fix this?"

"What can I do to help?"

Being told to stay at home makes that feel more difficult.

So I go to the CDC website to see what we are being told to do in order to deal with this virus. Their main recommendation - Don't be exposed to the virus.

Here's what they offer on how to do that:

  • Wash your hands often

  • Avoid close contact with other people

  • Cover your mouth and nose in public

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Clean and disinfect [1]

Before I get into it, to be clear...

I get why we're being told to stay home.

I also understand why we're being told to stay 6 feet a part and wear masks.

Lord knows I don't like it. But I get it.

Here's what I don't get.

Why are these the only recommendations given?

From what I can find, wearing a bandana over my face and using bottles of hand sanitizer is more likely to make me sick than healthy.

(Bandanas aren't proven to be effective, and most hand sanitizers do not kill the virus. What they do kill is the bacteria on your body that comprises your microbiome, which is responsible for 80% or more of your immune system.[2][3][4])

The following are people who have the highest risk of a severe case or fatality from COVID-19:

  • Those over 65 years old

  • Diabetics

  • Those with kidney disease

  • Those who are obese

  • Immuno compromised individuals

The reasons why those over 65 are more susceptible isn't so much about their age as it is what commonly comes with age in this country:

  • Loss of immune function

  • Inflammation

  • Complications (such as heart disease, diabetes, etc)

  • Decreased lung function [5]

What we see here is that majority of those who are at the highest risk are at risk largely due to lifestyle induced diseases and hindrances. According to the CDC, 40% of adults are obese [6]. That means that almost HALF of the United States is at a higher risk.

But the only recommendations we're being given to fight this virus is to stay home, wear masks, and wash our hands?

We're not going to address that aspect of immunity?

We're not going to address the pandemic of diabetes and obesity [7]?

We're not going to offer resources to those who have struggled year after year, trying to lose weight and bearing the shame of it all?!

I have to wear a mask to go and shop at the grocery store. If I don't wear that mask, they won't let me in. But once I'm in, I can buy cans of soda, pounds of candy, boxes of cookies, and bags of chips without an issue. I can then go home, where I'm supposed to stay, and consume all of those items, drastically undermining my immune system, without even a warning?

I find this highly problematic.

I've heard concern that if we don't address this correctly in the next few weeks, then we'll see a major resurgence of the virus in the fall or years to come.

I couldn't agree more.

If we do not address the pandemic of POOR FOOD that has been plaguing the world for decades, yes - we will all have ensured that the number of people who are obese and suffering from disease will increase, thus making even more people susceptible to the COVID-19 and any other virus we come into contact with.

This isn't about shaming or blaming those who are at risk for not living a healthier lifestyle. NOT AT ALL.

This is about a "food system that pays no attention to health and a medical system that pays not attention to food" (Wendell Barry).

How are we coming alongside those who are at risk and offering grace, resources, and support to transform their lifestyle?

Where are the warning labels on foods that lead to inflammation and disease?

Why aren't we encouraging people to stay at home AND eat more vegetables?

To wear masks AND drink enough water?

To wash their hands AND avoid sugar?

If we address the root of our health crisis, we reduce those at risk, and we ultimately, reduce the impact of COVID-19.

Do you think additional recommendations on physical health would be beneficial in addressing this pandemic?

Share if you agree!

[3] "Role of the Microbiota in Immunity & Inflammation"

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