The Human Side of the COVID-19 Virus

Recent data show that the percentage of healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 49 that die from the Corona virus known as COVID-19 is 0.4 percent.  The rate for those ages 10-39 is 0.2 percent, and there have been no deaths in children under the age of ten. The fatality rate in those over the age of 80 has been estimated to be 14.8 percent with the immunocompromised, elderly, and those who have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hepatitis B, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, and cancer most vulnerable. Eighty-one percent of those who get it have very mild to moderate symptoms, and children have very few symptoms, if any at all. 

The World Health Organization suggests the global mortality rate to be 3.4 percent.  Anthony Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases published an editorial with colleagues in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggesting the total mortality rate could actually be considerably less than 1 percent. Cato Institute challenges initial arithmetic in various studies, suggesting the death rate could be as low as 0.46 percent. 

As of March 15, 2020, at least 162,687 people have been infected, and 6,065 have died. Note importantly that of those 162,687, 75,620 have recovered. President Trump has declared a national emergency, and here at home in the United States, 3,244 have been infected, 62 have died, and 12 have recovered. When testing becomes more available in the coming days, numbers in the U.S. are expected to skyrocket.

With differing statistical analyses and uncertain numbers, it’s too early to know with any certainty the statistical likelihood of serious illness or fatality from COVID-19. Chances are good, however, that initial figures are overestimations. As a 44 year old mother of two, with a 45 year old husband, this should bring some perspective, and yet I’ve stockpiled supplies and put my family on rations. 

I am worried about my family and friends who are older, most of whom live in Arizona, but given what we know, my husband and children in Atlanta will be fine. So why then am I guilty of hoarding?  Fear.

I could try to justify my worry by explaining that I grew up on food stamps, welfare checks, and relied upon the Paradise Valley School District for hot breakfasts and lunches. I could tell you that I’ve had weird food issues my whole life as a result, always planning my next meal. But the thing is that I have a cupboard filled with food, and the fact that I and others have stockpiled means there is less available for those who don’t have Costco memberships or the money to buy food in advance of need. 

The thing is 55 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheckThe Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reaches forty-two million Americans. And 29.7 million percent of children depend, as I did, on the public school systems for meals. To be clear, many of these children, without school currently in session, will go hungry.

During these crazy and unprecedented times, my thoughts are of my family and the love and time we share. I’ve always wished for more time with them as life’s have to’s so often trump my deepest needs. Ironically, I have that time with them now as we are all on lockdown for weeks or even months. School has transitioned to online learning “until further notice”, and the days will grow longer as I straddle working from home and homeschooling a kindergartener and eighth grader, but we will get through it together.

As a mother, I suspect other mothers feel similar, and those who aren’t able to feed their children or have concerns about providing health care or future meals must feel a certain terror that I can only imagine.

COVID-19 is tragic, but it is also an opportunity. For all those, like me, who have said, “after this work trip” or “after this project” or “when things slow down,” well, things have come to a screeching halt. We have time to reconsider and reorder priorities that may have been askew. 

We still have the freedom to make a choice between love and fear. Every day, in every situation, we are always choosing love or fear. I ask myself what matters most, and the answer is clear: each other – my family and community. To this end, I am compelled to support those who are on limited budgets and rely on school lunches. I am afraid, and yet my heart tells me I have to go out and help in any way I can anyway, because I am able. 

Thankfully Centers of Hope Afterschool Program will continue to provide free meals to students during the school closures, but more support is needed.

We can help in Atlanta by doing the following:

Contribute goods to Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Donate food or time to Hosea Feed the Hungry.

Donate to help provide meals with Loaves & Fishes.

Make a financial donation to help provide meal deliveries with GOODR.

Please post here to let us know how we can help those struggling in other communities.

We are all human, and now is the time to prove it by supporting each other and those who need help the most. 

In the meantime, we can keep our families healthy naturally by doing things like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, getting enough exercise and sunlight and staying hydrated.  There is also decent evidence supporting vitamin C as a potent antiviral against COVID-19. There are three clinical trials in China currently underway further evaluating the efficacy of IV C, and we can all take it orally as a preventative measure.  Vitamin D is another absolute necessity right now as are zinc, elderberry, and anti inflammatories including curcumin and boswellia.  My counterparts at ANH International have a great blog on supporting immune resilience naturally, which I highly recommend.

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