Health, Real life

Don’t succumb to virus fear

UPDATE: I have followed up on this post including an important interview with Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, MIT epidemiologist whose authoritative perspective is important to consider: Reject Fear! Your immune system is robust and resilient…


Today I learned that schools in Monaco and all of France won’t open on Monday morning and will remain closed at least until early May 2020. This is the authorities’ emergency response to the Corona virus pandemic that engulfed much of the world.

Whether this response is appropriate or overkill, I cannot say but I think it is important that we not succumb to irrational fear of Corona virus – or any other disease. To put things into proper perspective, consider what we know about pathogens like the poliovirus, TB and malaria:


Poliovirus stats are from research by Anne Carrington Gawne, one of the world’s foremost authorities on polivirus.[1]

Our germ-phobic culture

Many people seem to believe that if they come in contact with a virus they will fall ill and develop the full symptoms of the disease in question. But this is an unfounded and unscientific artefact of our germ phobic culture.

Germs are everywhere around us at all times. In fact, your body is host to tens of trillions of bacteria (more of them than your native cells) and hundreds of trillions of viruses. The reason you can enjoy good health with all those critters is that you have an immune system. Even vaccines can only have effect because your own body mounts an immune response and checks the introduced pathogens.

In her research on malaria, University of Melbourne’s Karen Day wrote: “… human populations in malaria-endemic areas are constantly being infected with the parasite.” But the parasite kills only 2 out of 1,000 infected people. So what sets the 2 apart from the other 998? The most important difference is the strength of their immune systems (the relative intensity of exposure to the pathogen also affects the outcome).

Reject irrational Coronavirus fears!

Like other pathogens, Corona virus is not to be taken lightly. But rather than succumbing to irrational fears, please cultivate calm within and take steps to keep your immune system strong and healthy. A few simple do’s and dont’s will go a long way in ensuring this: get plenty of vitamins and minerals in your diet (preferably from natural foods); reduce or eliminate sugar and alcohol intake; make sure you get sufficient sleep, sun exposure if possible and some exercise outdoors in the fresh air.

Importantly, do not allow yourself to succumb to fear. Stress and anxiety can greatly weaken your natural defenses. Your body is armed with a powerful immune system. Keep it strong and it will keep you healthy. And if you fall ill, it will restore you to good health again.



[1] Source: Post-Polio Syndrome: Pathophysiology and Clinical Management by Anne Carrington Gawne and Lauro S. Halstead.


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