Chicken Little and Einstein Are Absolutely Right About the Pandemic!

The sky is not falling. However, insanity appears to be everywhere.

There are two quotes afforded to Einstein. One is that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. The second quote is about solving a problem with the same thinking that created it. We have been in this pandemic for nearly two and a half years, and the mantra is still – get vaccinated.

I saw a headline yesterday – Previous Infection with Omicron Does Not Protect Against Reinfection. https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/covid-omicron-infection-immunity/2022/06/16/id/1074772/. OK! The vaccine was tested against the Alpha and Beta variants over two years ago. Is it supposed to offer you protection against the Omicron variant?

We know that the vaccine protection was very good for a couple of months, and then it fades rapidly after six months. The booster shot is not any better – a couple of months, and then it dissipates. Chicken Little is right though. The Sky is Falling, and we must do something – get vaccinated!

The article states that a previous infection from the initial Omicron variant provides little protection against reinfection. Why? Because the spike mutations are different enough for our immune system to be fooled by later versions of Omicron.

The mRNA vaccines provide a minuscule version of the spike protein profile compared to the actual viral infection. Our immune system sees the entire spike and the whole viral molecule. It is part of the process by which the immune systems work. Our immunity is based on the entire molecule, not a tiny fraction of an amino acid sequence, to determine if we are in danger.

The story continues with another statement about the inability to gain additional immunity when a person was infected during the ‘first wave’ of the pandemic and then got the Omicron virus. OK, now a person has the Alpha or Beta, or even the Delta variant, and is unfortunate enough to become infected again with the Omicron. Therefore, those previous viral infections are not filed away in our immune data bank to prevent future infections. I am sorry; I do not follow that logic.

For whatever reason, that data was not included in the article. The author opined that the Omicron infection does not boost the overall effectiveness of our immune systems. Chicken Little has been talking to too many people, eh!

Conclusion

Over one hundred pandemic solutions are being tested around the world. I am confident that one (or more) will offer long-term protection against the SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, the original vaccines were rushed to market.

The makers knew before the first vaccines were given to us that they had a short shelf life – six to eight months. However, the public was never informed. I wondered why just a few months after vaccinations started there was a lot of talk about needing a booster shot.

Moreover, when the vaccine’s protective time expired, we were told that even if you were vaccinated, the risk of hospitalization and death was low. We have seen statistics from around the world indicating that breakthrough infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are not that rare.

We are not using different thinking to solve this pandemic problem. Instead, we are using the same thinking repeatedly – as if we learned nothing over the past twenty-plus months. Maybe it is insane to expect different results by doing the same thing? Oh, I forgot, the sky is falling!

Live Longer & Enjoy! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 

NAC Supports Healthy Levels of Glutathione to Improve Immune Response and Much More

Beef is a good source of cysteine.

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) is created from the nonessential amino acid cysteine in your liver. Foods high in protein (meat, fish, seafood, chicken, turkey, eggs, etc.) are good sources of cysteine. Conversely, your body can produce it in your liver from other amino acids when your diet is deficient in cysteine.

NAC is the synthetic form of cysteine and is used in medicines and supplements. For example, NAC is used as a prescription drug to treat acetaminophen overdose. It is also used in liver and lung disease treatments.

NAC Health Benefits – Glutathione

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nac-benefits. The antioxidant glutathione is one of the most essential antioxidants to support your immune function. As a glutathione precursor, NAC combines two amino acids – glutamine and glycine – to biosynthesize glutathione. Fighting inflammation and oxidative stress is critical for long-term health. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24835770/

NAC Health Benefits – Detoxification

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241507/. NAC is used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome, premature birth, recurrent pregnancy loss, chronic bronchitis, ulcerative colitis, liver disorders, asthma, and has shown promising results in treating neurodegenerative diseases.

NAC Health Benefits & Mental Health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10807/. By regulating glutamate levels, NAC protects the brain. Glutamate and glutathione are needed for brain health, but when glutamate levels increase as glutathione levels decrease, neurological damage can occur.

NAC Health Benefits & Your Lungs

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27117852/. Glutathione reduces inflammation in the lungs and bronchial tubes. NAC increases glutathione levels and increases the body’s ability to loosen mucus in your air passageways. Oxidative damage is reduced in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) when NAC is as a treatment.

NAC Health Benefits & Your Heart

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26242742/. Heart disease is exacerbated by inflammation and oxidative stress. NAC acts as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It also increases nitric oxide production to improve blood flow.

NAC Health Benefits & Immune Function

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01239/full and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1378279/. Our body’s ability to fight foreign invaders decreases as glutathione levels decrease. NAC restores natural killer cells (a major component of our immune system). It is also used with cancer treatments to enhance the immune system’s response to fight tumor growth.

More NAC Health Benefits

https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2022/7/benefits-of-n-acetyl-l-cysteine. Other studies of NAC show significant improvement in treating male infertility, cataracts, dry eye syndrome, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. There are other disorders that NAC has been used as part of a more extensive treatment regimen with positive results.

Conclusion

NAC is inexpensive and readily available as a supplement. However, do not start adding NAC without first consulting with your physician, especially if you are already taking prescription medications.

Disease starts as chronic low-level cellular inflammation. NAC is an excellent tool in your health toolbox to fight the genesis of nearly every illness before it has a chance to become a health problem.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Eye Health Factors You Must Know to Enjoy Life After 40

Our eyes naturally deteriorate with aging. There are things we can do though.

Our health tends to deteriorate incrementally after the age of 40. Our eyes are not excluded. Some understanding and prevention now can significantly improve your quality of life down the road.

Eye Health

https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/healthy-vision/keep-your-eyes-healthy. Initially, health improvement (and many other subjects) begins with awareness, then education, and finally action. What problems could you have with your eyes? What can you do to improve what you have today and reduce the risk of an eye problem as you grow older?

A quick Google search about eye health will tell you to get your eyes examined regularly. They state that you may be at high risk if your family has a history of eye disease or if you are obese. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health issues can also affect your vision.

Almost every health article will tell you to eat the right foods, exercise routinely, quit smoking, moderate your alcohol intake, and protect your eyes. In addition, safety glasses are mandated in many companies when your work hazards potentially can harm your eyes. However, sunglasses are a personal responsibility.

I used to wear sunglasses a lot when I flew in the military many years ago. Around the time I retired from flying, my personal choice changed – from wearing sunglasses regularly to rarely wearing them today.

I wear blue-filter glasses when I work on my computer to reduce eye strain. Without the blue-filter glasses, I will have a headache within thirty minutes.

blueIf you wear contacts, it is strongly recommended to wash your hands before putting in or taking out your contacts. Disinfect your contacts regularly and replace them as needed. That is the general information available to everyone. What else should you know?

Aging and Eye Health

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/8567-common-age-related-eye-problems. Aging affects our eyes. The older we get, the more likely we have vision problems. I earned an alternate position to go to the Naval Academy in the mid-60s. The primary selectee chose to attend the Academy, and I went to college the old-fashioned way – I paid for it myself. However, I did decide to join the Navy and become an aviator.

I have had an aviation physical every year from 1968 through 1999. I never had any eye problems. After I left the Navy, I continued having annual health physicals, but those did not include extensive heart, hearing, or eye examinations that I routinely had during my flight physicals.

What about today? From an eye perspective, I know that I have a potential glaucoma problem (my mother and grandmother had glaucoma). However, one day I am normal, and, on another visit, I might be on the border of having glaucoma. I also have cataracts, and they will probably be removed within the next decade.

My far vision (around 20/10 to 20/15) is still good. My near vision was perfect and has faded a bit to 20/30. I wear glasses when I drive – not for vision assistance but to decrease eye irritation from air movement. I do not wear glasses to read.

I have dry eyes exacerbated by the air conditioner (both in the car, offices, and my home). I can accommodate the eye irritation with eye drops or rapidly blinking to relubricate my eyes. My peripheral and color vision are still excellent, and I read several hours a day from both books and computer screens. That’s enough about me. What should you be aware of as you grow older?

Eye health can deteriorate at any age. However, you do not have to be over 40 to begin having problems. Some problems may be presbyopia (normal aging – needing longer arms to read/see things close clearly – along with myopia, nearsightedness and hyperopia, farsightedness), floaters and flashers (tiny specks that pass in front of our eyes), astigmatism (blurry vision), dry eyes (keratoconjunctivitis sicca – our tear glands do not make enough tears), and watery eyes (epiphora – many causes).

Eye diseases that we should know about are cataracts (the lens of the eye begins to cloud up, restricting light from entering the optic nerve), glaucoma (increased pressure inside the eye), and retinal disorders (macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment).

AMD, also known as age-related macular degeneration, is the loss of cells in the macular, the part of the eye that provides you with the details of an object. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. The small eye blood vessels stop functioning and cause various eye problems. Retinal detachment happens when the different layers of the retina separate.

Pink eye or red eye (conjunctivitis) occurs when the tissue around the eyelids becomes inflamed. Corneal diseases have many symptoms and causes. Eyelid problems can occur likewise – many symptoms and causes. Temporal arteritis occurs when the arteries in the temple become obstructed or inflamed.

Lifestyle & Eye Health

https://www.lifeextension.com/protocols/eye-ear/eye-health. We have a baseline knowledge of our health when we have routine health or wellness physicals. When something changes, we have a reference to compare it and are better equipped to act early.

Chronic low-level cellular inflammation is the root cause of nearly every disease. Free radical damage and the immune response from bacteria, viruses, and fungi are the primary causes. The foods we eat provide antioxidants to reduce and control inflammation. However, the wrong choices in nutrition can lead to oxidative stress and the beginning of a world of hurt down the road.

Eating right involves meeting the body’s needs of roughly thirty-plus nutrients daily – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. In addition, exercising, smoking avoidance, alcohol in moderation (or abstinence), stress and weight management, and sun exposure protection can help your total body health as well as your eye health.

B-complex vitamins (folic acid, B6, and B12), omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin), astaxanthin, and carnosine have been shown to help with overall eye health, visual acuity, and reduced visual fatigue.

Google and YouTube have excellent sources of information on eye exercises. Just as our bodies need exercise to perform better, our eyes also need to be exercised. One recent study showed that distance vision improved, and eye fatigue was reduced by 50%. https://www.ayujournal.org/article.asp?issn=0974-8520;year=2012;volume=33;issue=4;spage=543;epage=546;aulast=Gopinathan

Beware that there is a lot of information available on the web. Some articles tell us that eye exercises are good, and others tell us the reverse. It seems strange that medically supervised eye exercises are OK and self-help regimens are not. I have read both positive and negative on the Bates Method and the See Clearly Method. Who is right? I do not know.

Conclusion

We age, and our health degrades for many reasons. Some people remain healthy despite their lifestyle choices. Others try hard to maintain good health, and it is elusive. Our eyes are things we use daily and take for granted until something happens.

Common sense prevails to minimize the risk of eye health degradation. Avoid over-exposure to ultraviolet light. Sunglasses are good for that. Blood sugar and lipid (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.) control are mandatory for many reasons other than eye health. Likewise, blood pressure monitoring is required to minimize cardiac, brain, and eye health risks. The link above from Life Extension (under Lifestyle & Eye Health) is one of the most inclusive articles about eye health and its nutrients.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Ultra-High Dose of Vitamin B-12 Offers Optimism For Early Onset Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease affects mostly those over 55 years of age.

An article last month in the JAMA Neurology gives hope to those who have Lou Gehrig’s disease – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This nervous system disease impacts muscle strength and function. https://www.als.org/understanding-als/what-is-als

Patients with ALS have nerve cells that break down and limit muscle functionality. There is no cure, and some medicines and therapies can relieve pain and discomfort and slow the progress of the disease.

The Clinical Test

https://jamanetwork.com/searchresults?q=Vitamin%20B12%20and%20ALS&allSites=1&SearchSourceType=1&exPrm_qqq={DEFAULT_BOOST_FUNCTION}%22Vitamin%20B12%20and%20ALS%22&exPrm_hl.q=Vitamin%20B12%20and%20ALS. Improvement was observed after clinical trials testing high-dose vitamin B-12 (methylcobalamin). After sixteen weeks of randomized testing of 130 patients with early-stage ALS, the group given 50 mg of methylcobalamin semiweekly tested higher on the ALSFRS-R (Revised Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale). https://www.mdcalc.com/revised-amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis-functional-rating-scale-alsfrs-r

The group not given the methylcobalamin had lower test results indicating increased severity of ALS. It was also noted that those taking the drug riluzole and methylcobalamin showed significantly less decline in their ALS symptoms. After the clinical tests were concluded, those taking the high-dose vitamin B-12 elected to keep on taking the exact dosage as the test.

The Future

https://www.lifeextension.com/whatshot/2022/5/may-whats-hot-articles#vitb. Four months is a short time to predict future results. However, the results were clinically meaningful for those with early-onset ALS. The test revealed that the disease could be addressed safely and reproducible.

ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

https://www.als.org/understanding-als/who-gets-als. ALS is a rare disease affecting just over 50 people per million in the United States. Worldwide, the disease has been detected in around 20 people per million. Roughly nine out of ten cases occur without any family history.

ALS can strike any time during a person’s life, but it is generally seen in older adults between 55 and 75. The disease usually begins with twitching muscles and weakness in the limbs. Sometimes, speech is also slurred.

Genetically, ALS is caused by over a dozen genes. The most significant percentage of familial cases involve a defect in the C90RF72 gene found in the brain. Around half of those diagnosed with ALS live three years. One in four have lived five years, and almost ten percent have lived up to ten years with the disease.

Conclusion

All neurological diseases take a toll on the patients and their families. Vitamin B-12 is sold as cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. The cyanocobalamin must be converted in the body to methylcobalamin.

It is best to take the methyl version. Additionally, it should be taken under the tongue since cobalamins cannot survive stomach acid. Talk to your physician first before engaging in any self-medication regimen.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

Controlling the COX-2 Enzyme Can Reduce or Eliminate Pain After Surgery?

Pain from surgery can be minimized with natural options.

My wife had major surgery five days ago. She remained overnight and came home on Wednesday afternoon. She followed all the pre-op instructions about eating, clear liquids, and more before surgery. However, she also started taking whole fruit mangosteen juice and turmeric with piperine several days before surgery and immediately after recovery.

Why is this important? Because controlling the COX-2 enzyme can reduce or eliminate pain. She came home from the hospital without pain and could move around well. A day later, she walked a half-mile with me in the park. She sleeps exceptionally well and never complains about pain, even from a three-hour surgery.

Inflammation

https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-inflammation Inflammation in the body is normal. Except for the lymph and thymus glands, your immune system works at the cellular and sub-cellular levels. The regulation of your immune system is controlled chemically.

All the body’s cells have thousands of receptors on their surfaces, serving as docking points for chemical messengers – inflammatory cytokines. When docked at a receptor, these messengers signal a cell to act or not perform to a specific condition. A single receptor has no impact on the big scheme of things.

When sliced and diced in surgery, anesthesia controls the pre-surgery, surgery, and post-surgery pain. Removing, realigning, and reattaching ligaments can lead to post-operative pain when the anesthesia wears off. However, if planned correctly, the receptor cells in those parts of your body can be stimulated not to start the internal processes leading to pain, swelling, limited movement, etc.

Aspirin

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161255 Aspirin predecessors (willow bark salicylates) have been used for over 2,500 years to treat various inflammatory conditions. At the end of the 19th century, the German chemist, Felix Hoffmann, working for Friedrich Bayer & Co., created aspirin, a pain reliever. Aspirin is the most used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Other NSAIDs include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.

NSAIDs

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/11086-non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-medicines-nsaids. The inflammation response mechanism of NSAIDs in the body was determined in the early 1970s. Aspirin, and other NSAIDs, block the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme responsible for initiating the inflammatory process.

The COX enzyme controls the production of prostaglandins from arachidonic acid. The prostaglandins are messengers that signal the immune system to start the inflammatory processes.
Blood flow and pressure are increased to the injured site. As a result, blood vessels expand, tissues swell, heat, and redness set in, endothelial cells that line the capillaries shrink, causing spaces between the walls for white blood cells to enter, and pain becomes noticeable.

This is the body’s response to injury, trauma, or surgery, and it protects itself from further infection or damage that bacteria, viruses, or fungi might cause. Aspirin (NSAIDs) inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins and thereby reduce both pain and inflammation.

COX Enzymes

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/How_to_spell_pain_relief_in_the_wake_of_COX-2_problems. Daniel Simmons (Brigham Young University) discovered two kinds of COX enzymes inhibited by NSAIDs – the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. The COX-1 enzyme reacts with arachidonic acid to produce basal prostaglandins, which support healthy kidney function, blood clotting, and stomach functioning.

The COX-2 enzyme reacts with arachidonic acid to produce prostaglandin E2, responsible for the symptoms associated with inflammation. NSAIDs treat both pain and inflammation because COX-2 is activated and COX-1 is inhibited. Potentially, kidney damage, bleeding problems, ulcers, and stomach irritation can occur with the overuse of NSAIDs.

COX-2 Selective Inhibitors

https://www.everydayhealth.com/cox-2-inhibitors/guide/ In the late 1990s, scientists studied the effects of various drugs on both the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. They created a ‘COX-2’ selective inhibitor – Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra.

Early NSAIDs were equipotent at inhibiting both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. The COX-2 selective inhibitors were 30 to 300 times more potent in inhibiting COX-2 than COX-1 without gastrointestinal irritation.

Celebrex and Vioxx were introduced in 1999 and rapidly became the most frequently prescribed drug in the United States. However, additional side effects have been cataloged regarding the COX-2 inhibitors – primarily Vioxx, which was withdrawn voluntarily from the marketplace due to an increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke.

Prescription medicines inhibit the COX-2 enzyme more than the COX-1 but still inhibit the COX-1 enzyme. This causes additional and potentially more hazardous side effects.

Scientific research takes many forms – ‘in vitro (laboratory dishes), ‘in-vivo’ (laboratory animals), and clinical studies involving human subjects. Both ‘in vitro’ and ‘in vivo’ studies have been done on various natural products that might inhibit COX-2 and not inhibit COX-1. Very few were found.
My research shows that a specific xanthone, gamma mangostin, in the mangosteen fruit effectively shuts down the COX-2 enzyme without affecting the protective COX-1 enzyme.

Gamma-mangostin

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304394005011936. Dr. K. Nakatani and others working at the Department of Pharmaceutical Molecular Biology at the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, determined that when gamma-mangostin was present in your body, the production of prostaglandin E2 was blocked – effectively shutting down the inflammatory response of the COX-2 enzyme while having zero effect on the COX-1 enzyme. The first study demonstrated that gamma-mangostin directly and selectively inhibited only the COX-2 enzyme.

Dr. James Duke, a world-famous ethnobotanist, lists many of mangosteen’s (Garcinia Mangostana) benefits. Scientific proof can be found in almost 150 independent published scientific articles. Physicians are starting to replace prescription drugs with whole-fruit mangosteen juice.

Dr. Sam Walters and Dr. J. Fredric Templeman offer their opinions on the efficacy of the whole-fruit mangosteen juice to be equal to or outperform the prescription drugs Valium Xanax, Vicodin, Percocet, Celebrex, Vioxx, Bextra, Ultram, Talwin, Midrin, Fioricet, etc.

Curcumin (Turmeric)

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric.
Turmeric is a spice. The yellow color of curry comes from turmeric. The active molecule responsible for its health benefits is called curcumin. However, the bioavailability of curcumin in the body is very low. This bioactivity (getting more usable curcumin into the body) can be increased by 2000% by adding piperine, black pepper extract. It is also best to take turmeric (curcumin) with a meal.

Many studies have proven curcumin acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It also boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps support the life of neurons in our brains. Research scientists tell us that curcumin can lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, it is used to treat arthritis and depression.

COX-1 & COX-2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3503245/. Arachidonic acid is used to synthesize prostaglandins, lipids that are made at the site of injury or trauma, to control the body’s immune responses. Curcumin inhibits the cyclooxygenase enzymes by inhibiting the phosphorylation process that creates prostaglandins.

Both the COX-2 and COX-1 enzymes are inhibited naturally by curcumin. NSAIDs do the same thing but have side effects. The suppression or inhibition of the COX-1 enzyme approximates the ‘selective inhibition’ seen with the prescription drugs Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra without any side effects.

Conclusion

Whole-fruit mangosteen juice is needed because most of the xanthones are in the skin or rind of the fruit. I remember vividly one day crushing my knuckle in the car door when I accidentally closed it. It hurt – a lot! I drank about six ounces (double my normal daily amount) of mangosteen juice within five minutes of the accident.

My finger never had any pain unless I squeezed the crushed area. I had total flexibility and mobility. There was no swelling, redness, or heat. I shut down the COX-2 response before it could activate my normal body processes to treat inflammation. I have heard many similar results, from decades-old back pain to migraines.

My wife’s immediate post-operative time has been with literally zero pain. There are only two incidents that I heard her yelp quickly. One was the first time she sat down in her favorite chair – she plopped rather than gently sat down an hour after coming home from the hospital. That has not happened twice!

The second time was when I misjudged a speed bump in a parking lot, and the car’s sudden motion caused her to let me know that she was aware I went over that bump too quickly. Again, that has not happened since. From a pain perspective, it is like she never had surgery.

Mangosteen juice is a fruit juice. Therefore, it is not medicine and cannot be prescribed. However, before buying a bottle and self-treating, talk over your plan with a knowledgeable medical authority to ensure that other drugs you are taking might not become problems.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Are Chickens and Monkeys Dominating the Health Headlines?

Is Monkeypox a serious threat to the world?

“The sky is falling, the sky is falling,” is a famous quote from Chicken Little Story found in the Grimm Brothers fairy tales. Just Mathias Thiele first published it in the Danish Language in the early 1800s. However, folklore has been around for over two dozen centuries.

Hysteria and disaster are here now or rapidly approaching. Our media must keep its audiences in dire peril. We have seen that almost daily for the past two-plus years with the pandemic.

Is Monkeypox even an issue to get a headline like today – WHO: Monkeypox Can Be Contained if We Act Now from the 27MAY22 article, https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/monkeypox-who-spread-u-s/2022/05/27/id/1071783/?

Monkeypox

https://health.ucdavis.edu/news/headlines/monkeypox-what-you-need-to-know-about-this-rare-virus-/2022/05. This virus has been around for years. It was first detected in a human in 1970 in DROC (Democratic Republic of Congo). It is rarely seen outside of Central and West Africa.

The World Health Organization reports nearly 300 confirmed cases worldwide. Typical symptoms include fever, body aches, malaise, muscle pain, and lesions or rashes that can form blisters and scabs. It takes about seven or more days for symptoms from the initial infection. The disease is contagious for the entire time a person has it – from initial contact through scabs are fully healed.

Contact with any contaminated material – clothing, bedding, respiratory droplets, body fluids, etc. is enough to infect. Roughly one in twenty may succumb to this virus.

Monkeypox and the United States

https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/monkeypox-u-s-cases-men/2022/05/26/id/1071687/. Yesterday, the U. S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention confirmed nine individuals in seven states – Massachusetts, Utah, Washington, California, Virginia, and New York. All had been traveling internationally. All these confirmed cases in the United States were gay and bisexual men having sex with other men.

Monkeypox Treatment

https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/treatment.html. There are no approved medical treatments for Monkeypox. However, antiviral drugs, such as Tecovirimat (TPOXX), Cidofovir (Vistide), and Vaccinia Immune Globulin Intravenous (VIGIV), are approved to treat the smallpox virus and are effective in over 80% of the cases of Monkeypox. https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/index.html is a good source of information on this virus.

Conclusion

I think it is a colossal stretch to associate nine cases of Monkeypox in the United States with a headline that we need to act now to combat this new foe. Especially when all these monkeypox cases are associated with gay and bisexual men who traveled internationally to locations where this virus is endemic.

We are told that we should expect more cases as this virus spreads throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Would we have seen this headline and the warning to act now if we were not in the coronavirus pandemic? I believe not.

I think this is a typical response to anything that can potentially be a disaster, even when the likelihood is very close to zero. The sky is not falling.

Live Longer and Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 

Does Anyone Have Credibility Going into the Winter Months?

Who knows what lies past those mountains?

Over two years ago, in March of 2020, the worldwide death rate average for COVID-19 shot up exponentially – from under 100/day to almost 4,000/day. This week, the daily death average is under 2,000 for the first time since March 2020. The seven-day average of new cases is the lowest worldwide since the first week of November 2020. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Today’s Headline

https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/covid-jha-white-house-congress/2022/05/12/id/1069664/. Immune protection is waning. The virus is adapting to be more contagious. Booster shots are necessary. Congress must approve new funding. Is any of this true?

No clinical studies have effectively assessed the immune protection afforded by naturally acquired immunity. Vaccine immunity disappears after six months, and a booster shot protection vanishes in less than four months. Yes, viruses mutate. Sometimes they get more deadly, and sometimes they do not.

We have seen the Omicron variant (several of them) infect more people faster than earlier viral variants, but the death toll is significantly less. Omicron is more contagious, and at the same time, it is less lethal. Who knows when the next mutation will occur? No one!

Who knows if the next viral mutation will be more contagious or deadly? No one! Shouting it from the rooftops (or headlines) does not make it true.

United States Status

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/. Over one million Americans have died from coronavirus in the past two years. Over eighty million people have contracted the virus. That means that almost 99% of the people survived. One hundred seventy-five thousand Americans died in the first six months of the pandemic. There were no protections afforded other than hunkering down at home, masking up, and social distancing.

When the first COVID-19 vaccines were released in December 2020, the total pandemic deaths exceeded 300,000. The first pandemic year produced over 400,000 deaths from this virus. Six months after vaccines were available, the total death toll from the pandemic virus exceeded 600,000. Since then, in June 2021, less than 400,000 Americans have died.

Did the vaccine help? I believe so. Did naturally acquired immunity help? Absolutely! However, what is still working today? Unfortunately, it is not the vaccine shots from early 2021.

Vaccine Effectiveness

https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20220511/breakthrough-covid-deaths-increasing-in-us. breakthrough is used to describe a condition happening that should not have occurred regarding the protections afforded by COVID-19 vaccines. Yesterday, an article from ABC News stated that breakthrough deaths make up a larger portion of deaths from the pandemic virus.

Eight months after COVID-19 vaccine shots were authorized for public use, just under 20% of the deaths occurred among those vaccinated. Six months later, the percentage more than doubled. Booster shots were available in September of 2021. Breakthrough deaths rose from one percent to twenty-five percent in five months for those fully vaccinated and boosted.

Over ninety percent of older Americans (over 65) have had both vaccine shots, and nearly seven out of ten have had their booster shots. Yet almost three out of four COVID-19 deaths were from this group of senior Americans. And overall, half the people eligible for booster shots have elected not to get them. Why? I cannot explain it.

Conclusion

https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/covid-19-vaccine-race. Who do you believe when it comes to forecasting the future of pandemic life? One hundred thirty-seven new COVID-19 vaccines are in clinical trials. Another 194 vaccines are in pre-clinical trials. Yes, vaccine development is still ongoing. Will one or more of these vaccines be more effective than the current batch? I hope so!

Twenty-five percent of Americans (over 80 million) have been assessed as having had coronavirus. Ninety-five percent of Americans have detectable levels of COVID-19 antibodies in their bodies.
America appears to have reasonable levels of protection from naturally acquired immunity and vaccine/booster shots. So why should I expect the pandemic virus to be worse than it is today by the end of this year? I do not.

I crunch the numbers periodically to see trends, and right now, the trends are falling to nearly pre-pandemic levels. Countries with zero tolerance are seeing their protections evaporate as their populations do not have naturally acquired immunity.

I do not know the effectiveness of their national vaccines over time. Why did so many people get infected so quickly if their vaccines were effective? Will I ever see a headline stating that there is a bright light at the end of the pandemic tunnel? Probably not!

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

When Are We Going to Be Talking About a Post Pandemic World?

The post-pandemic world! Is it this way or that way?

It has been slightly over a month since I wrote about the pandemic virus. Unfortunately, headlines generally support another surge plowing through those few unvaccinated people – sooner than later.

The headline that attracted my attention today told us that most Americans have had coronavirus; however, the experts are predicting the next surge. https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/02/politics/covid-vaccine-booster-pandemic-surge-what-matters/index.html

Is That True?

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ is a source I often use to determine the current level of pandemic cases and deaths worldwide. Over 500,000,000 people have been infected, and the death rate is still around one percent – the virus survival rate is around 99%. So the big surge at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, along with a minor ripple in March, appears to be over.

Is there any indication that another surge is rapidly approaching? No, there is not. One could try to interpolate the likelihood of the next surge by viewing the frequency of previous waves of infection. January, April, August, and December were notable increases in cases worldwide last year.

Does that mean we will see four significant surges in 2022? Maybe, who really knows. As more and more people become infected, it should be less likely for new infections. But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume the experts are correct, and the next surge is just around the corner. Therefore, no post-pandemic world in view in 2022.

But, wait! Is it the number of cases or the number of deaths that really matter? If many people get infected and fewer people die, isn’t that a better measure of our future? The death rate is lower today than since March of 2020.

The big waves of deaths attributable to the pandemic occurred in April 2020, August 2020, December/January 2020/2021, May 2021, August 2021, and February 2022. Comparing the frequency of new cases to the resulting deaths from the pandemic virus indicates that fewer people are dying from the virus over the past year, no matter how many new cases are reported.

Maybe there is hope for a post-pandemic world in the next year?

https://www.science.org/content/article/when-pandemic-over. A committee of health advisors meet regularly to assess the pandemic. They declare whether the pandemic is still active or not. The World Health Organization accepted their opinion, and we continue to live in a pandemic world. Some nations (the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom) have already declared the pandemic over.

However, a few reported cases do not mean the virus has been conquered. Look at Hong Kong, China, and other countries implementing zero-Covid tolerance and policies. Those protections lasted over a year. Then a viral variant began infecting millions nearly overnight.

How about those countries with previous high infection rates?

https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/26/health/covid-americans-cdc-study/index.html. The United States has almost sixty percent of adults and seventy-five percent of children with antibodies to the COVID-19 virus. Just before the Omicron outbreak in late 2021, only one-third of American adults had antibodies.

One viral variant infected a quarter of the population in just a couple of months. The CDC tells us that the antibodies last at least two years. The test results can distinguish between antibodies from the virus and the vaccine.

What is happening in the United States?

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/. The current new case trend is slightly upward. After over 800,000 daily cases in January 2022, the infection rate dropped below 30,000/day in just two months. Today’s seven-day-average rate is just over 60,000/day.

Deaths from the pandemic virus are also at nearly all-time lows. The summer of 2021 saw average daily deaths of around 250/day. The current average daily death rate is under 300/day. Considerable surges in new cases do not correlate with increasing numbers of deaths.

We still have doom and gloom living in predictions.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/01/health/covid-southern-summer-surge-prediction/index.html. One should be happy that pandemic deaths are nearly the lowest levels ever. Over half the American population has had the virus, and millions more vaccinated and boosted. Yet, the former White House

Coronavirus Response Task Force Coordinator tells us to expect new cases in the American south this summer and another surge in infections in the north this winter.

This forecast is based on South Africa’s frequency of viral surges – every four to six months. Yes, South Africa is experiencing an increase in new coronavirus cases. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/south-africa/

Is South Africa a good indicator for the rest of the world? What is the antibody level of their country? How many are fully vaccinated and boosted? There are too many unknowns to pick a specific geographic area and make that the basis of what will happen in the United States.
Just under 80% of Americans have had one vaccine shot, and two-thirds are fully vaccinated.

However, does that really mean something since we know that vaccine protection gradually disappears after six months? I would put my money on the 60% of American adults who already had the virus to predict future infections better.

Of course, the experts are telling us that we need to change our terminology from ‘fully vaccinated’ to ‘up to date’ to include those with booster shots. Yet, less than one-third of Americans chose to get boosted. Is there a reason why?

Conclusion

There will always be experts predicting doom and gloom. It is their nature. The survival rate from the SARS-CoV-2 virus has historically been around 99%. The survival rate for older adults with health issues is 80-85%, depending on age.

I have always maintained that we must protect those most vulnerable to infection. Unfortunately, many factors prevented adequate protection in the early days of the pandemic. Those days have passed, and we know more about the virus.

Can a new, more deadly viral variant arrive on our doorsteps tomorrow? Absolutely. Can a new, far less lethal viral variant also arrive on our doorsteps tomorrow? Absolutely. Will a vaccine developed for a viral variant a year or two ago be effective against a new mutation of the virus? Most likely not. So, what can we do?

I preach awareness and education regarding health and wellness daily. What can you do to protect yourself from infection – any infection? Build up and maintain a robust immune system. Will it prevent you from becoming infected by the pandemic virus or other visiting viral cousins? No, but it will probably lessen any symptoms you might get. And you will most likely, over 99% likely survive any future bout with our pandemic virus.

And, the post-pandemic world should arrive much earlier than the doom and gloom experts predict, in my humble opinion. It will not occur everywhere at the same time, but it is closer than most of us think.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Is the Hard-Line ‘Zero Infection’ Approach the Best Method?

Shanghai, China has locked down again due to the pandemic virus.

“Pay me now or pay me later, but pay me you will” was a famous 1970 Fram oil filter slogan. I believe that the same applies to our pandemic. But, unfortunately, hiding from the virus now and the virus will find you later is what we see in many places.

Vaccine Protection Declining

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2117128#:~:text=For%20the%20Ad26.-,COV2.,to%2061.5)%20at%205%20months. It has been known for many months that the effectiveness of the pandemic vaccines declines over time. Six months after the second shot, the vaccine’s effectiveness is close to 50% of its original protection.

Many people believed the vaccines would work. When breakthrough cases, hospitalizations, and deaths increased, boosters were made available. Yet, many chose not to get boosted. https://www.vox.com/coronavirus-covid19/2022/2/24/22947388/covid-19-vaccine-booster-shots-hesitancy. Why?

When polled, the two primary reasons were convenience and belief it would work. If the vaccines do not work, why bother with the booster shot.

Omicron Variants

https://www.who.int/news/item/22-02-2022-statement-on-omicron-sublineage-ba.2. The current plaque of new cases worldwide appears to be one of the two primary Omicron variants – the BA 2. The World Health Organization stated that the BA 2 variant is slightly different in genetic sequence but not enough to classify it as a new variant.

Transmissibility of the Omicron BA 2 is slightly less than the BA 1. Yet, countries that survived the earlier variants by extremely rigid restrictions are seeing astronomically high case rates. On the other hand, death rates are meager.

Locking Down (Again)

https://www.newsmax.com/world/globaltalk/virus-outbreak-china/2022/04/03/id/1064060/. Shanghai, the largest city in China with over twenty-six million, is locked down again. Yesterday, health officials reported nearly 440 new cases. In twenty-four hours, testing revealed over 7,500 asymptomatic cases of the BA 2 variant.

Shanghai began another lockdown last week – a two-stage process that returned to the early pandemic regulations. The city endured over two months of a rigidly enforced complete shutdown early in the pandemic. As a result, the citizens are not as compliant as a year ago.

Other Countries and BA 2

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/. The country reporting the highest new case rate is South Korea, with over 250,000 per day. Even at that level, just over 300 per day are dying from the virus. France, Germany, Italy, Vietnam, Australia, and Japan are seeing high new case rates – in some cases, the highest since the pandemic started.

Deaths from the pandemic virus are highest in Russia, South Korea, Germany, the United States, Italy, and Brazil. The death rates are extremely low for the percent of new infections. Most countries have a 99% or higher survival rate from COVID-19.

Zero-COVID Strategy Failing?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-COVID#:~:text=A%20zero%2DCOVID%20strategy%20consists,contain%20new%20outbreaks%20before%20they. According to Wikipedia, Zero-COVID Strategy (also known as COVID Zero) is a public health policy to finding, testing, tracing, isolating, and supporting to maximize suppression of the virus.

Several countries in the western Pacific adopted this policy and kept coronavirus from spreading. New cases and deaths were rarely above the low double digits. Some countries were able to record zero (or very low single digits) new cases for an extended period, such as New Zealand.

For over a year, New Zealand was a shining example of how to shut down the spread of the pandemic virus. In less than a month, new cases shot up to over 20,000/day (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/new-zealand/). The death rate in New Zealand, which had been almost zero, has climbed to the low double digits.

Infections & Restrictions

https://www.bbc.com/news/59882774. Shutting businesses down, restricting travel into and out of the country, quarantines, and other measures are not working, especially with the latest variant of Omicron. Let one person into the country with the virus, and new caseloads explode.

It is hard to put the genie back in the bottle once it has escaped. Public support for such restrictive measures is also waning. Mass testing is ongoing along with make-shift hospitals and quarantine centers. China claims that it controlled the initial pandemic, and for almost two years, that have been near zero new cases until recently.

China’s travel restrictions are strictly controlled and monitored. Screening is done immediately, and mandatory two-week quarantines are required for new visitors. In addition, regular testing is done by neighborhoods, and those testing positive are evicted, quarantined, and possibly new lockdowns instituted in those areas.

All non-essential businesses have been shut down. Public transportation is suspended, along with most vehicular traffic is banned. Schools have been closed. Self-test kits are available across the country. Those testing positive with the self-test kits must have a PCR test for confirmation.

Conclusion

Were the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants easier to contain? Probably not. However, when you can control who goes where and when the spread of disease is limited. Widespread testing also facilitates knowing that the control measures are working. Quarantines were established initially to take the load off healthcare facilities.

With a 99% survival rate, healthcare treatment is a numbers game. If one thousand people become infected today, less than one hundred will need hospital care, and ten may die from the virus. When the daily numbers approach 250,000/day, healthcare facilities may not be able to care for those in need.

The data I researched surprised me the most was the ratio of asymptomatic new cases to those with symptoms. A ratio of nearly 18:1 is being recorded in Shanghai for the BA 2 variant. Eighteen people are infected with no symptoms for one who has the virus with symptoms. That is a staggering number. No wonder so many people are getting infected and infecting others.

Couple a very high transmission rate for COVID-19 (the Omicron variant) with populations that have been held in check (even with vaccinations), the wildfire of new cases is bound to erupt as the restrictions fail to protect against infection.

Pay me now or pay me later, but pay me you will apply to our pandemic. Protect people with the harshest restrictions, and the bug will bite you in the end when you are not prepared for it. Are we scared of a 99% survivability rate for this virus? Or are we unwilling to protect those genuinely vulnerable and allow the rest of the citizens to take that 99:1 risk?

The risk is much lower for those under 50 years of age. Seasonal influenza kills tens of thousands of people in a bad flu season and is currently the number nine cause of death in the United States. Would the numbers be similar for the pandemic virus if the most vulnerable were well protected?

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com