On December 30, 2019, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital in the Hubei province of China messaged his fellow
physicians, alerting them to the appearance of a concerning cluster of pneumonia cases. Thirty-nine days later,
after becoming infected with the very virus he tried to warn his colleagues about, Dr. Li Wenliang was dead at
thirty-three. By that time, the disease had already spread to dozens of countries.


Before the SARS outbreak in 2002, only two coronaviruses were known to cause disease in humans, but neither caused
much more than the common cold. The SARS coronavirus, however, went on to kill about one in ten people it infected.
A 10 percent mortality rate. A decade later, in 2012, MERS, another deadly coronavirus, emerged. Like SARS, MERS
spread to infect thousands of people across dozens of countries, but that time, one in three died. More than a 30
percent mortality rate. Today, we’re fighting to protect ourselves from—and to defeat—the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Where are these emerging infectious diseases emerging from?

All human viral infections are believed to originate in animals. Many of the first cases of the SARS coronavirus,
caused by SARS-CoV, were found in the same kind of place most of the first cases of our current pandemic of the
COVID-19 coronavirus, caused by SARS-CoV-2, have been found: live animal “wet” markets in China.

To understand COVID-19 and other deadly viral outbreaks, we have to understand their history and evolution if we’ll
ever have a chance at preventing future pandemics. We also have to look back and take lessons from the past. How
did we successfully beat back SARS? Why is it more difficult with COVID-19? What do we have to do to slow the
pandemic today before we even have a hope at a vaccine?

I cover all of that—from origin stories of past killer pandemics to what we should be doing today to stay safe—and
then dive into the clinical side of COVID-19 and discuss what the disease looks like and the best way to treat it.
Our videos on COVID-19 are now available to watch

Update on the vaccines: The approved COVID-19 vaccines appear to be both safe and effective. Dr. Greger has gotten
his vaccine! Here is a good explanation of how these vaccines work: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html.

Takeaways from My Webinar on COVID-19

Pandemics: History & Prevention

How to treat the cause by preventing the emergence of pandemic viruses in the first place (a video I
recorded more than a decade ago when I was Public Health Director at the HSUS in Washington DC)

COVID-19 Symptoms

DIY Hand Sanitizer

Click to view and download a copy of our DIY hand sanitizer recipe. Available in imperial and metric versions.


Additional Information & Resources

We also recommend going to these resources to find more information:

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