Pandemics: History & Prevention

Pandemics: History & Prevention
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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).

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The two greatest threats facing humanity, according to the United Nations are climate change and emerging infectious disease––particularly pandemic influenza. The current focus of pandemic discussions and debate understandably centers on what we in the public health community refer to as secondary prevention: mediating the impact of the next pandemic, an intervention analogous to mammography. Mammograms don’t prevent cancer, but if caught early enough, for example, we may be able to decrease morbidity and mortality. And, the same with pandemic planning. But what of primary prevention, the possibility of preventing the emergence of pandemic viruses in the first place? Like cancer, the root cause is likely multifactorial, difficult to tease out, but a question worth exploring, nonetheless, and the question I’d like to address here today.

Let’s go back a few years. 1981. Here in the United States, Ronald Reagan takes the oath. MTV starts broadcasting Indiana Jones, and Pacman mania is all the rage. In June, the CDC released a tiny bulletin. Five men in Los Angeles, it seems, were dying with a strange cluster of symptoms. From humble beginnings, AIDS has since killed 25 million people. Now, the spread certainly of the AIDS virus has been facilitated by promiscuity, blood banking, IV drug use; but where did this virus come from in the first place? And, of course, AIDS is not our only new disease. There’s SARS, Ebola, mad cow, bird flu… But from where do emerging diseases emerge? Well, let’s go back a bit further, much further. Human beings have been on this earth for millions of years, yet throughout most of human evolution, there were no epidemic diseases.

No one ever got the measles, because measles didn’t exist. No one got smallpox, no one got the flu, not even the common cold until about here––10,000 years ago. Medical anthropologists have identified three major periods of disease since the beginning of human evolution, and the first started just 10,000 years ago, with the domestication of animals. When we brought animals into the barnyard, they brought their diseases with them. When we domesticated cows and sheep, for example, we also domesticated their Rinderpest virus, which turned into human measles, now thought of as a relatively benign disease. Over the last 150 years, measles has killed 200 million people. And, in a sense, all those deaths can ultimately be traced back just a few hundred generations to the taming of the first cattle. Smallpox likely came from camel pox. We domesticated pigs, and got whooping cough. We domesticated chickens, and we got typhoid fever and Typhoid Mary, and domesticated ducks, and got influenza. Before the domestication of ducks, likely no one ever got the flu. Leprosy likely came from water buffalo, and the common cold from horses. How often did wild horses have the opportunity to sneeze into humanity’s collective face until they were broken and bridled? Until then, the common cold was presumably only common to them.

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Guns, Germs and Steel, Professor Diamond tried to explain why the diseases of the landing Europeans wiped out up to 95% of the native Americans, and not the other way around. Why didn’t native American plagues kill the Europeans? Well, because there were no plagues. In his chapter, “Lethal Gift of Livestock,” he explains how before the Europeans arrived, we had buffalo, but no domesticated buffalo; so, no measles. American camels were wiped out in the Pleistocene ice age; so, no smallpox. No pigs, and so no pertussis. No chicken, so no typhoid. So, while people were dying by the millions of killer scourges in Europe and Asia, none were dying with diseases in the so-called new world because there weren’t essentially foreign animals to domesticate. There wasn’t this spillover of animal disease.

The next great period of human disease started just a few hundred years ago with the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, leading to an epidemic of  the so-called diseases of civilization: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, etc. But by the mid-20th century, the age of infectious disease at least was thought to be over. We had penicillin, we conquered polio, eradicated smallpox. In fact, in 1968, the US Surgeon General declared the war against infectious disease has been won. In 1975, the Dean of Yale School of Medicine pronounced that there were no new diseases to be discovered—except maybe lung cancer. But even Nobel laureates were seduced in the heady optimism of the time. One famous virologist wrote, in a 1962 textbook, “To write about infectious disease is almost to write about something that’s passed into history. The most likely forecast of the future of infectious disease,” he wrote, “is that it will be very dull.”

But then, something changed. After decades of declining infectious disease mortality in the United States, the trend has reversed in recent decades. This is a graph from the CDC of infectious disease mortality over time, in the last 50 years or so. And as you can see, it starts declining. Declining, declining, declining, but then around 1975, it started to go back up. The number of Americans dying from infectious disease started to go back up. Starting around 1975, new diseases started to emerge and reemerge at a rate unheard of in the annals of medicine. More than 30 new diseases in 30 years––mostly newly discovered viruses. In fact, the whole concept of emerging infectious disease has gone from a mere curiosity in the field of medicine. Now it’s an entire discipline, really moved to center stage.

We may soon be facing, according to the US Institute of Medicine, what they call a catastrophic storm of microbial threats. We are now smack dab in the third era of human disease, which seems to only have started about 30 years ago. Medical historians have called this time in which we live the Age of Emerging Plagues, almost all of which come from animals.

But we domesticated animals 10,000 years ago. What has changed in recent decades to bring us to this current situation? Well, we are changing the way animals live. Take Connecticut, for example, where in 1975, Lyme disease was first recognized. Since, spread across all 50 states affecting an estimated 100,000 Americans since its emergence. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria-infested deer ticks, but the primary host is actually not deer, but the white-footed mouse. The ticks themselves, not quite as cute really, but we’ve been sharing the woods with these fellows forever. What changed recently was suburbia. The black-legged ticks live on the white-footed mouse, kept at bay by woodland predators. But then, developers came in and chopped up America’s woodlands into subdivisions, scaring away the foxes and bobcats, and now we have more mice, more ticks, and more disease.

We are changing the way animals live. Going back a little farther, with the big cattle-producing nations fighting during the Second World War. What Argentina did, took advantage of the situation by dramatically expanding its beef industry at the expense of its rainforest. There we discovered the deadly human virus, or rather it discovered us, and the so-called hamburger-ization of the rainforest exposed hemorrhagic fever viruses all across the continent subsequently. Turning to the other side of the world, cutting into Africa’s rainforests exposed a number of other hemorrhagic fever viruses, including Lassa virus, Rift Valley fever, and, of course, Ebola. Now the inroads into Africa’s rainforest were logging roads cut by transnational timber corporations hacking deep into the rainforest, dragging along a hungry migrant workforce, which survived on bush meat: wild animals killed for food. Now this includes upwards of 26 different species of primates, including a number of endangered great ape species, gorillas, chimpanzees, who are shot, butchered, smoked, and sold as food. Now by cannibalizing our fellow primates, we may be exposing ourselves to viruses particularly fine-tuned to our own primate physiology. In fact, recent outbreaks of Ebola, for example, have been traced to the exposure to the bodies of infected great apes hunted for food. Now Ebola is one of our deadliest infections, but not efficiently spread, compared to a virus like HIV.

The leading theory as to the emergence of the AIDS virus is direct exposure to animal blood and secretions as a result of hunting, butchering, and the consumption of contaminated bush meat. Experts believe the most likely scenario is that HIV arose from humans sawing their way into the jungle, butchering chimpanzees for their flesh along the way. Now in many countries in Africa, the prevalence of HIV exceeds 25% of the adult population, leaving millions of orphan children in its wake. Someone butchered a chimp a few decades ago, and now 25 million people are dead. But wildlife has been hunted for thousands of years. Yes, but never before like this.

With the demand for wildlife meat outstripping local supplies, what countries have done is set up these intensive captive production farms, cramming wild animals in these cramped filthy cages, and then smuggling them around the world. This intensive commercial bush meat trade actually started in the live markets of Asia, particularly the Guangdong province, a southern province surrounding Hong Kong, from which the current bird flu threat arose. The civet cat, a popular commodity in these Chinese animal markets. In addition to being raised for their flesh, they also produce the most expensive coffee in the world. So-called fox dung coffee is produced by feeding coffee beans to captive civets, and then—you guessed it— recovering the partially digested beans from their feces. A musk-like substance of buttery consistency secreted by the anal glands is said to give this coffee its distinctive favor. One might say this unique drink is good to the last dropping. I’m sorry. This animal was blamed for the SARS epidemic. Quoting from the medical Journal, Lancet, “A Culinary Choice In South China.” “A culinary choice in South China led to a fatal infection in Hong Kong.”

Subsequently, 8,000 cases of SARS. Nearly a thousand deaths, 30 countries, six continents. Maybe they should have just stuck to Starbucks. These live animal markets took a class of viruses, which in human medicine we had only known for causing the common cold, and seemed to turn them into a killer, SARS, which then spread around the world. Viruses can escape rainforests in animals, live or dead, as pets or as meat. In 2003, the exotic pet trade brought monkey pox from the jungles of West Africa to Wisconsin. Bird-smuggling may have actually been what brought West Nile virus to the Western Hemisphere. Here, it hits New York in ’99, and since spread across the country. Hundreds of human deaths, thousands of cases, all perhaps because of a single imported pet bird.

So, we are changing the way animals live, contributing to the emergence of these new diseases. But, you know, there’s one way we have changed our relationship with animals that really outshadows all the rest. In response to this torrent of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, the world’s three leading authorities got together for a joint consultation. The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Organization for Animal Health (the world’s leading veterinary authority), got together to uncover the key underlying causes of this age of emerging plagues. They came up with four, four main risks––four main themes of risk factors for the emergence and spread of these new diseases. Yes, they talked about the exotic pet trade. They talked about bush meat, but number one on their list was this increasing demand for animal protein the world over. Yes, we domesticated animals 10,000 years ago, but never before like this––especially pigs and poultry.

Chickens used to peck around the barnyard, but now chickens raised for meat are typically warehoused in sheds containing tens of thousands of birds. About half of the egg-laying hens on this planet are now confined in what are called battery cages. These small barren wire enclosures extending down long rows and windowless sheds; can be up to a million birds on a single farm. About half of the pigs on the planet are now again crowded into these intensive confinement operations. You know, old MacDonald’s farm has since been replaced by the new MacDonald’s farm. These intensive systems represent the most profound alteration of the human-animal relationship in 10,000 years. And, no surprise, they are breeding grounds for disease.

A few snapshots. China, 2005, the largest pork-producing nation suffers an unprecedented outbreak of an emerging pig pathogen, strep suis, causing meningitis and deafness in people handling infected pork products. Hundreds of people infected, the deadliest strain on record. Why? Well, according to the World Health Organization, indeed it seems to be these intensive confinement conditions. The USDA elaborates, “All strep suis starts out harmless as natural gut flora, but then the immunosuppressive effect of stress, due to overcrowding, inadequate ventilation, causes the bug to go invasive, causing infections of the brain, blood, lungs, heart, and death.” Starts out harmless, turns deadly. That’s what these kind of conditions seem to be able to do. This is not, arguably, how animals were meant to live.

Pig factories in Malaysia birthed the Nipah virus, one the deadliest of human infections: a contagious respiratory ailment killing 40% of those it infects, causing relapse and brain infections, propelling it onto the official U.S. list of bioterrorism agents. And again, according to one of the leaders of the field, it seems to be the way in which we now raise these animals. So, the three eras of human disease can be characterized perhaps as first, the diseases of domestication, then the diseases of industrialization, and of, finally, of land-use and agricultural intensification. We took natural herbivores like cows and sheep, turned them into carnivores and cannibals by feeding them slaughterhouse waste, blood, and manure, and then we took downed animals, too sick to even walk, fed them to people, and now we have mad cow disease. We feed antibiotics to farm animals by the truckload.

This is the total amount of antimicrobials used for all of human medicine every year. Now, contrast that with the amount we feed to farm animals, just to promote growth, or prevent disease, in such a stressful un-hygienic environment. Millions of pounds a year, and now we have these multi-drug-resistant bacteria, and we as physicians are running out of good antibiotic options. Scientists at NYU traced the path of some of these “super bugs” starting, for example, with the mass feeding of the Cipro class of antibiotics to chickens, and then we––there is a fecal contamination of the carcass at slaughter. We buy chicken at the supermarket, polluted with fecal material, leading to longer and more severe human infections.

The CDC recently really cinched it. They spent a million dollars over a three-year period doing rectal swabs of newly admitted hospital patients. This is what they found. Essentially, they found zero growth of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria within the bodies of those that had zero contact with fresh or frozen poultry. But at least these so-called super bugs aren’t effectively transmitted from one person to the other. With the seeming propensity of industrial animal agriculture to churn out these novel lethal human pathogens, what if these animal factories gave rise to a virus capable of a global pandemic of disease?

Let me put these new animal disease threats in perspective. SARS infected thousands of human beings, killed hundreds; Nipha infected hundreds, killed scores. Strep suis infected scores, killed dozens. Now AIDS has infected millions, but there’s only one virus on the planet that can rapidly infect billions, and that’s influenza. Influenza, the so-called last great plague of humankind, is the only known pathogen capable of truly global catastrophe these days. Unlike many other important diseases like malaria, which are largely confined at the equator, or a virus like HIV, which is only fluid-borne, the influenza virus is considered the only pathogen capable of literally infecting half of humanity within a matter of months.

Now in the 4,500 years that we as species have had influenza, since the first domestication of birds, influenza has always been one of our most contagious known diseases. But only since the emergence of this highly pathogenic, highly disease-causing strain, H5N1, has the influenza virus also emerged as one of our deadliest. H5N1, spreading out of Asia, 2004, 2005, 2006, and continuing to this day, has only killed about a hundred, a few hundred people. And not to minimize, each death is a terrible tragedy. But in a world in which millions of people continue to die of diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, why is there so much concern about the so-called bird flu? Because it’s happened before. Because the last time a bird flu virus adapted to human beings, it triggered the worst plague in human history: the influenza pandemic of 1918.

Modern flu strains tend to spare young healthy adults, but the 1918 virus killed people in the prime of life. In 1918, a quarter of all Americans fell ill. This is a chart of “Percent of Population Die.” Humanity’s greatest mass murderer eluded scientists for nearly a century, before a mass grave in Alaska was unearthed. Victims of the pandemic, frozen in the permafrost for 80 years, traces of virus in her lungs allowed scientists to piece together letter by letter the genetic code of the 1918 virus, solving perhaps the greatest medical detective story of all time.

Humanity’s greatest killer was bird flu. First civilian casualty in the U.S. was September 11th, ironically, 1918, and then, in a single month, this was week one, week two, week three, week four. And this is 1918 now. We’re talking steam locomotive here. Scientists at the Imperial College of London ran a simulation to see how a pandemic might spread today in the UK. Scientists at Los Alamos ran a simulation through their supercomputers to see how a pandemic might spread in the day of commercial airline travel. Here, it hits LA in this simulation, and in a few weeks the entire country is blanketed. In 1918, between 50 and 100 million people lost their lives. A similar virus today could kill many, many more. What started out for millions as muscle aches and a fever ended days, or even hours, later, with many people bleeding from their eyes, from their nostrils, from their ears, into their lungs. Homeless orphans, their parents dead, wandered the empty streets. One agonized official in the stricken East sent an urgent warning West. “Hunt up your woodworkers and set them making coffins, then take your street laborers and set them to digging graves.”

This is a clipping from The New York Times. At the time, victims of plague everywhere, great pyres of bodies consumed by the flames. Many victims strangled in their own bloody fluids. Their corpses, tinged blue from suffocation, were said to have been stacked like cord wood outside of morgues, and cities ran out of coffins, so they dug mass graves. That bird flu-originating virus killed more people in 25 weeks than AIDS has killed in 25 years. No war, no plague, no famine has ever killed so many people, in so short a time, as the 1918 pandemic.

Yet in 1918, the mortality rate of this disease was less than 5%. This estimate here, potentially tens of millions of people dead in the next pandemic, is based on that same 2 to 3% mortality rate. What the CDC is now calling a category 5 pandemic, around 2% mortality, around two million Americans dying. So that’s 2%. Currently, H5N1 is officially killing over half of its human victims. Don’t even seem to get a coin toss as to whether or not one lives through this disease. Dr. Robert Webster, the world’s leading authority on bird flu: “If we go back to 1918, 2.5% of people died. How many people are dying with bird flu? 50%. We’ve never seen such an event since the time of the plagues.”

Up to 60 million Americans come down with the flu every year. What if it suddenly turned deadly? That’s what keeps everyone up at night: the possibility, however slight, that a virus like H5N1 could trigger a human pandemic. That’d be like combining one of the most contagious known diseases, influenza, with one of the deadliest, like crossing a disease like Ebola with the common cold.

Where did this virus come from? Well, the current dialog surrounding avian influenza speaks of a potential H5N1 pandemic as if were a natural disaster—a hurricane, earthquake— of which we couldn’t possibly have control. The reality, though, is that the next pandemic may be more of an unnatural disaster of our own making. In poultry, bird flu has gone from an exceedingly rare disease to one which now pops up every year. The number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the first few years of this century have already exceeded the total number of outbreaks recorded for the entire 20th century. You’ll note that these are five-year intervals. Well, in just the first five months of 2006, we were already up to here, without breaks, continuing to this day. If one looks at the number of birds involved, the escalation is even more dramatic. At this scale, not even a blip until the 1980s. Bird flu seems to be undergoing evolution, in fast forward. As one leading flu expert told science, “We’ve gone from a few snowflakes to an avalanche.” And the increase in chicken outbreaks has gone hand in hand with increased transmission to humans.

A little over 10 years ago, essentially no known people—not a single person known to get sick directly from bird flu, but, since H5N1 arose in 1997, four other chicken flu viruses have affected people from Hong Kong to New York City. We can add another pink ring for the four cases in England and Wales last year. In the Netherlands outbreak, there’s evidence from a government investigation of a thousand people infected, with symptomatic poultry workers passing the virus on to a whopping 59% of household family members. Human-to-human transmission at a rate of seasonal flu. So, ten years ago or a dozen years ago, essentially no one was getting infected with bird flu, and now there’s been over 1,000 cases in continents around the world. Now the Netherlands outbreak––30 million chickens died, but only one person; one of the attending veterinarians tragically died, so the Netherlands virus was good at spreading, but not at killing.

H5N1 is kind of the opposite, right? H5N1 isn’t even good at spreading from birds to people. Look, it’s been around 10 years, over 10 years. Only a handful of people, a few hundred people, have become infected. And currently— certainly not good at spreading from person to person. But the human lethality of the strain is ferocious: over 10 times deadlier than the worst flu virus on record, that which triggered the pandemic of 1918. So what the Netherlands outbreak shows us is that this virus can evolve to go directly human to human. What H5N1 shows us is that this virus can evolve into an efficient human killer. If this trend is allowed to continue, our nightmare may one day be realized. The worst of both worlds, contagious and deadly. So, to slow down or stop this rapid recent emergence of highly pathogenic flu viruses, one must first ask well, what triggered this avalanche in the first place? What has changed in recent decades to bring this all upon us?

The emergence of H5N1 has been blamed on free-ranging flocks and wild birds. But people have been keeping chickens in backyards for thousands of years, and birds have been migrating for millions. Bird flu has been around forever. What turned bird flu into a killer? Well, the senior correspondent of “News Hour with Jim Lehrer” posed that question to Dr. Webster, the so-called godfather of flu research. “Was there something qualitatively different about this last decade, made it possible for this disease to do something it’s never done before? Some kind of changing conditions that suddenly lit a match to the tinder?” Webster replied. He said, “Farming practices have changed.” He talks about growing up on a farm, but “now we put millions of chickens into a chicken factory, next door to a pig factory. And this virus has the opportunity to get in one of these chicken factories, and make billions and billions of these mutations continuously. And so what we’ve changed is the way we raise animals, and our interaction with those animals.” And then, he talks about how the virus is escaping from the factories, infecting wild birds. He says that’s what’s changed. We’ve changed the way we raise animals. But, we changed the way we raise animals by the billions.

The number of chickens we slaughter every day, spread wing to wing, would wrap more than twice around the world’s equator. The big shift in the ecology of avian influenza has been the intensification of the global poultry sector. The developing world meat and egg consumption has exploded, leading to these industrial-scale commercial chicken facilities, arguably the perfect storm environment for the emergence and spread of these so-called “super strains” of influenza. In the early 1980s, nearly all the chickens in China were raised in tiny backyard outdoor flocks, but now there are 63,000 CAFOS in China—concentrated animal feeding operations— with a few of these so-called factory farms confining 10 million birds on a single farm. The World Health Organization blames emergence of H5N1, SARS, Nipah virus, all these new deadly emerging Asian viruses, in part on what they call the overconsumption of animal products in this intensive animal agriculture.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations starts out, “There seems to be an acceleration of human influenza problems in recent years.” This is what they mean. This is from the World Health Organization. These are all the new influenza viruses infecting human beings over the last century or so. Now, turn your attention to just 1995 on. Seems to be kind of snowflakes to an avalanche in people, too; but why? Well, according to the world’s leading agricultural authority, this is expected to largely relate to the intensification of poultry production, and possibly pig production as well. They elaborate in an internal FAO document, “Chicken to chicken spread, particularly where assisted by this intensive husbandry conditions, causes the virus to shift, adapt to more severe highly pathogenic type of infection. Intensive production favors the rapid spread of the viruses in the so called ‘hotting up’ of the virus from low pathogenicity to highly pathogenic types.”

Factory farms, it seems, can be thought of as the incubators for the emergence of highly disease-causing strains of this virus. In this diagram here, they actually trace the path of a human pandemic, starting with increased demand for poultry products, and ending up with a virus capable of human-to-human transmission. The United Nations, in fact, has called on all governments to fight the role of what they call factory farming. Quoting from a UN press release, “Governments, local authorities, international agencies need to take a greatly increased role in combating the role of factory farming, which combined with these live bird markets provide ideal conditions for the virus to spread and mutate into a more dangerous form.”

Let me show you how it works. All bird flu viruses start out harmless to both birds and people. Very important to understand. They start out harmless. Avian influenza has existed for millions of years as a harmless intestinal virus of aquatic birds like ducks, waterborne virus. I said, well, how does a duck’s intestinal bug end up in a human cough? Well, in people, the virus must make us sick in order to spread, must make us cough in order to shoot virus from one person to the next. With the virus’s natural reservoir, aquatic birds like ducks, the virus doesn’t need to make the ducks sick in order to spread. In fact it’s in the virus’s evolutionary best interest not to make the ducks sick as dead ducks don’t fly very far. So. the virus silently multiplies, and the intestinal lining of the duck is secreted out into the pond water, is swallowed up by another duck, and the cycle continues, as it has for millions of years, and no one gets hurt. But if an infected duck is dragged to a live bird market, for example, crammed in cages high enough to spot a virus-infected feces on land-based birds, terrestrial birds like chickens, well then, the virus has a problem. If the virus finds itself in the gut of a chicken, it no longer has the luxury of easy waterborne spread. Chickens aren’t paddling around in the pond, so the virus must mutate or die.

Unfortunately for us, mutating is what influenza viruses seem to do best. So, in its natural reservoir it’s been described as being in total evolutionary stasis, harmless, but when thrown into a new host, like land-based birds, it quickly starts mutating, acquiring mutations to adapt to its new host. In the open air, it must resist dehydration, for example, and it may have to spread to different organs to find a new way to travel. The intestines ain’t going to work anymore, and they may find the lungs and become an airborne pathogen, which is bad news for terrestrial mammals, such as ourselves. Goes into chickens as an aquatic virus, but may come out as the flu. In its new host, the more virulent, the more violent, this virus becomes, the quicker it may be able to overwhelm the immune system of its new host. But, if the virus becomes too deadly though, it may not spread as far. In an outdoor setting at least, if the virus kills its host too quickly, the animal may be dead before it has a chance to spread to too many others. So in nature, there’s kind of a natural limit on how virulent these viruses can get––or at least there was until now.

Enter intensive poultry production. When the next beak is just inch––inches––away, there may be no limit to how nasty these viruses can get. Evolutionary biologists believe that this is the key to the emergence of hyper-virulent, predator-type viruses like H5N1. Disease transmission from immobilized hosts. See, when you have a situation where the healthy cannot escape the disease, where the virus can knock you flat, and still transmit just because you’re so crowded, then there may be no stopping rapidly-mutating viruses from becoming truly ferocious. And this may explain the virus of 1918, rising out of the trenches of World War I. There were these crowded troop transports; boxcars were labeled “8 horses or 40 men.” So, when this harmless virus found itself in these kind of conditions, it turned deadly. Millions forced together under cramped quarters; no escaping a sick comrade. This is thought to be where the virus of 1918 gained its virulence.

From the virus’s point of view though, these same trench warfare conditions exist today. In every industrial chicken shed, every industrial egg operation, confined, crowded, stressed, but by the billions, not just millions. The industry is slowly waking up to this growing realization that viruses previously innocuous to natural host species have in all probability become more virulent by passes through these large commercial populations.

This from an industry journal. Starts out harmless, turns deadly. That’s what these conditions may be able to do. This is not arguably how animals were meant to live. So how does the poultry industry feel about the possibility that its own animal factories may produce a virus capable of killing millions of people around the world? Well, the executive editor of “Poultry” magazine wrote an editorial on just that topic. She wrote, “The prospect of a virulent flu, to which we have absolutely no resistance is frightening. However, to me, the threat is much greater to the poultry industry. I’m not as worried about the U.S human population dying from bird flu as I am that there will be no chicken to eat.” This is this is how the Department of Interior puts it. “Domesticated poultry is the necessary stepping stone to create a pandemic strain of influenza.” Now we used to think pigs were an important link in this chain, so this—probably not a good idea. H5N1 found a way, it seems, not only to kill people directly, but seems to have gone full circle, reinfecting its natural hosts––migratory aquatic species––who could potentially fly this factory farm virus to continents around the world.

Now, unfortunately for us, there’s some quirk of evolution. The respiratory tract of a chicken seems to bear striking resemblance to our own primate respiratory tract on a molecular level, on a virus receptor level. So as the virus gets better at infecting, killing chickens, the virus may be getting better at infecting and killing us. Virologist Earl Brown, specialist in the evolution of influenza viruses. “You have to say,” Dr. Brown concluded, “again, this high-intensity chicken rearing, really the perfect environment for the evolution for generating virulent avian flu virus.”

Now in contrast, there has never been a single recorded emergence of a highly pathogenic flu virus ever from an outdoor chicken flock. Never once has a dangerous deadly virus ever arisen that we know of in chickens kept outside. You can breed a deadly virus here. It can escape. In fact, backyard birds, free-ranging flocks, even wild birds, but that transition from harmless to deadly always seems to happen in these kind of conditions, because of the overcrowding. Remember, transmission from immobilized hosts, because of the sheer numbers. Because of the inadequate ventilation, the dankness helps keep the virus alive. Because of the stress crippling their immune systems. Because of the filth. The virus is in the feces that they’re lying in, which, decomposing, releasing ammonia, burning their respiratory tracts, predisposing them to respiratory infection in the first place. And because there may be no sunlight. The UV rays and sunlight are actually quite effective in destroying the influenza virus. 30 minutes of direct sunlight completely inactivates H5N1, but it can last for days in the shade, and weeks in moist manure.

So, you put all these factors together, and what you have is this kind of perfect storm environment for the emergence and spread of new super strains of influenza. But what about biosecurity? Don’t we want all the birds confined indoors, away from waterfowl? I mean, does it matter? If these kind of conditions can turn a harmless virus into a deadly virus, if the harmless virus can’t get inside in the first place? Well, an FAO research report addressed this very question. They, in their evidence-based analysis, they looked at the best data set available: a massive survey of flocks in Thailand, in which over a million birds were tested for H5N1, in factory farms and backyard flocks. And what they expected to find was that backyard flocks would be at higher risk for infection, because they’re just out there in the open. What they found was exactly the opposite. They found that backyard flocks are at significantly lower risk of infection, compared to commercial scale operations. Industrial quail and chicken operations were at least four times more likely to become infected than backyard flocks. So, not only may factory farms be the incubators for the original emergence of high-path strains, based on the best science available, they may also play a role in the spread, the subsequent spread of the virus as well––in part because of the massive inputs and outputs required for this industrial style of animal agriculture. Tons of feed and water go in. Tons of waste comes out. Tens of thousands of flies buzzing around. And, these high-volume ventilation fans blowing dust and waste out into the countryside, potentially contaminating the air, the soil, insects, rodents, transport. Industrial-style production can lead to industrial-style contamination of the environment.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health looked back and realized that their conclusions were actually consistent with other high path outbreaks, whether in the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, other diseases. Factory farms consistently at higher risk. They concluded that there’s no empirical evidence to support this myth that backyard flocks are somehow the crux of the problem. And again, people have been raising birds in their backyards for about 4,000 years before this disease erupted out of control. On other factors, the studies have uncovered widespread disregard for biosecurity, even in developed countries. which claim to have the best biosecurity in the world. According to North Carolina University Poultry Health Management, high biosecurity is still wishful thinking in many areas of intensive poultry production.

A bird flu outbreak in Virginia in 2002 led to the deaths of four million birds. Found its way inside 200 factory farms, highlighting just how wishful the thinking is that industrial poultry populations are somehow completely protected against this kind of infection. Based on the rapid spread of avian influenza in Virginia recently, this decade, USDA poultry virologists conclude the obvious, that biosecurity on many farms is simply inadequate. Investigators from the University of Maryland surveyed chicken facilities throughout the Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia peninsula, perhaps the most concentrated density of chickens in the world, and concluded that U.S. chicken flocks, were constantly at risk for infection, triggered by these poor biosecurity practices. But even if the industry had perfect compliance with these guidelines, even if everyone going in and out stepped in antiseptic foot baths, scrubbed their boots, washed their hands, even with perfect compliance, it likely would not be enough.

We now know that H5N1 can be carried by flies. You cannot keep flies out of a poultry shed. See, H5N1 is a biosafety level 3+ pathogen. That means in a laboratory setting, this virus must only be handled in unique high containment buildings, specially engineered with airlocks, double-door access, shower in, shower out, all floors, walls, ceilings sealed and waterproofed. All electric outlets, phone cords, caulked, collared, sealed to prevent any air leaks. All surfaces decontaminated daily. All solid waste incinerated. That is how you’re supposed to handle this virus. That’s biosecurity. In contrast to this, the global industrial poultry industry seems to be breeding viruses like H5N1 at essentially biosafety level zero. So, the poultry industry may not only be playing with fire with no way to put it out, they may be fanning the flames, and firewalls to contain this virus do not yet exist.

Unfortunately, a leading USDA poultry virologist told an international gathering of bird flu scientists, “Unfortunately this level of biosecurity just doesn’t exist in the United States,” and doubts really it exists anywhere in the world. And according to emeritus poultry professor, author of Handbook on Livestock Diseases, standards of biosecurity may actually be in decline in an attempt for the industry to cut costs. Now biosecurity measures as they’re currently practiced are certainly better than nothing, but may not be something we want to stake the lives of millions of people upon for the sake of cheaper chicken.

A pandemic caused by H5N1 or some comparable future bird flu virus has the capacity to trigger one of the greatest catastrophes of all time. So, to decrease the risk of generating increasingly dangerous bird flu viruses, the global poultry industry must reverse course, away from greater intensification by, for example, here, in the annals of New York Academy of Sciences, replacing these large industrial units with smaller farms with lower stock and densities of animals, which could potentially result in less stress, less disease susceptibility, less intense infectious contents, and lower infectious loads across the board.

In 2007, the Journal of the American Public Health Association published an editorial that went beyond just calling for de-intensification of the poultry industry. They questioned the prudence of raising so many chickens in the first place. In their editorial, “Chickens Come Home to Roost,” it is curious that changing the way humans treat animals—most basically ceasing to eat them, or at the very least radically limiting the quantity of them that is eaten—is largely off the radar as a significant preventive measure. Such a change, if sufficiently adopted or enforced, however, even at this late stage, could still reduce the likelihood of the much-feared influenza pandemic. It would even more likely prevent unknown future diseases that, in the absence of the change, may result from farming animals intensively and killing them for food. Yet humanity does not even seem to consider this option. We don’t tend to shore up the levees until after the disaster. Hopefully won’t take a pandemic before we take these recommendations into account. The editorial concludes, “Those who consume animals not only harm those animals and endanger themselves, but they also threaten the well-being of future generations on this planet.”

To switch avian images, it is time for humans to remove their heads from the sand, and recognize the risk to themselves that can arise from their maltreatment of other species. How we treat animals can have global public health implications. It’s not surprising, then, that the American Public Health Association, the largest association of public health professionals in the world, has called for a moratorium on factory farms, urging all federal, state, and local authorities to impose a ban on the building of new intensive livestock operations to protect the health of the local communities in terms of air, water, land contamination, pollution. The prudence of this measure certainly grows with our increasing understanding of the role that these operations play in emerging infectious disease.

I’m often asked how the industry responds to this kind of sentiment from the scientific community? Well, last summer the United Nations released yet another report on the global health risks of intensive animal agriculture. Let me show you that how U.S. agribusiness responded to this report. “Feedstuffs” is America’s leading agribusiness publication, and, in an editorial, responded this way to the FAO research report. “FAO claims to use scientists to generate its reports, but I wonder if those scientists don’t resemble a bearded guy living in a cave in Pakistan, who wants the U.S. on its knees?” All too typical of the kind of “you’re with us or against us” industry attitude, unfortunately. Now, this is an extreme example.

There are those within industry who can take a step back and look at the longer-term view. Avian health expert and longtime industry insider, Ken Rudd, wrote a really candid article in Poultry Digest called “Poultry Reality Check Needed.” Drawing on his 37 years’ experience from within the poultry industry, he concluded with these prophetic words. He said, “Now is the time to decide. We can go on with business as usual, charging headlong towards lower costs, or we can begin making prudent moves necessary to restore balance between economics and long-range avian health. We can pay now, or we can pay later, but it should be known and it must be said one way or another, we will pay.”

So, cutting down our consumption of chickens and fighting the role of factory farming, as the United Nations has called for, may indeed prevent the emergence of future viruses, but H5N1 has already been hatched, already spread and mutated into a more dangerous form, and now that is endemic in poultry populations across two continents, eradication is unlikely. Dr. Michael Osterholm is the director of the U.S. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, an associate director within the Department of Homeland Security. He tried to describe what an H5N1 pandemic could look like in one of the U.S. leading public policy journals, called Foreign Affairs. He asked policymakers to consider the devastation of the 2004 tsunami in South Asia. He said, “Duplicate the tsunami in every major urban center and rural community around the planet. Simultaneously add in the paralyzing fear and panic of contagion, and we begin to get some sense of the potential of pandemic influenza.” That’s what he thinks it could be like. A tsunami in every city, every town, everywhere people drowning in their own bodily fluids. Or, we could imagine Katrina. Imagine every city New Orleans around the world at the same time, all perhaps because people insisted on eating cheaper chicken.

The next pandemic may be more of an unnatural disaster of our own making. A pandemic of “even moderate impact may result in the single biggest human disaster ever, far greater than AIDS, 9/11, all the wars of the 20th century, and the tsunami combined, has the potential to redirect world history, as the Black Death redirected European history in the 14th century.” Hopefully, the direction world history will take is away from raising birds by the billions under intensive confinement, so as to potentially lower our risk of us ever being in this precarious place ever again.

My intention today was just to focus on primary prevention, getting to the root cause, but with the unprecedented spread of this truly precedented virus, it is important that everyone be prepared for the next influenza pandemic. So let me just throw out some resources. The CDC has set up an excellent pandemic preparedness website: pandemicflu.gov. If you click across here, you will find pandemic preparedness checklists for businesses, schools, communities, faith-based groups, all the way down to individual and family preparation, which really focuses on getting everyone right now to stockpile weeks of essential supplies to shelter in place during a pandemic, isolating ourselves and our families in our homes until the danger passes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Is now using as a key planning assumption that the U.S. population may be directed to remain in their homes under self-quarantine for up to 90 days per wave of the pandemic, to support social distancing. Kind of like a snow emergency, where you’re just told to stay inside; don’t go out unless it’s an emergency. But instead of lasting a day or two, lasts weeks or even months. Everyone ready to stay in their homes for three months? If we have to go out to the corner store during a pandemic to buy toilet paper or something, we may be bringing back to our family more than just groceries.

Let me end with a quote from the World Health Organization, The Bottom Line. “The bottom line is that humans have to think about how they treat their animals, how they farm them, how they market them— basically the whole relationship between the animal kingdom and the human kingdom is coming under stress. In this age of emerging plagues, we now have billions of feathered and curly-tailed test tubes for viruses to incubate and mutate within billions more spins at pandemic roulette. Along with human culpability, though, comes hope. If changes in human behavior can cause new plagues, well then, changes in human behavior may prevent them in the future.” Thank you.

Video thanks to Humane Society International

The two greatest threats facing humanity, according to the United Nations are climate change and emerging infectious disease––particularly pandemic influenza. The current focus of pandemic discussions and debate understandably centers on what we in the public health community refer to as secondary prevention: mediating the impact of the next pandemic, an intervention analogous to mammography. Mammograms don’t prevent cancer, but if caught early enough, for example, we may be able to decrease morbidity and mortality. And, the same with pandemic planning. But what of primary prevention, the possibility of preventing the emergence of pandemic viruses in the first place? Like cancer, the root cause is likely multifactorial, difficult to tease out, but a question worth exploring, nonetheless, and the question I’d like to address here today.

Let’s go back a few years. 1981. Here in the United States, Ronald Reagan takes the oath. MTV starts broadcasting Indiana Jones, and Pacman mania is all the rage. In June, the CDC released a tiny bulletin. Five men in Los Angeles, it seems, were dying with a strange cluster of symptoms. From humble beginnings, AIDS has since killed 25 million people. Now, the spread certainly of the AIDS virus has been facilitated by promiscuity, blood banking, IV drug use; but where did this virus come from in the first place? And, of course, AIDS is not our only new disease. There’s SARS, Ebola, mad cow, bird flu… But from where do emerging diseases emerge? Well, let’s go back a bit further, much further. Human beings have been on this earth for millions of years, yet throughout most of human evolution, there were no epidemic diseases.

No one ever got the measles, because measles didn’t exist. No one got smallpox, no one got the flu, not even the common cold until about here––10,000 years ago. Medical anthropologists have identified three major periods of disease since the beginning of human evolution, and the first started just 10,000 years ago, with the domestication of animals. When we brought animals into the barnyard, they brought their diseases with them. When we domesticated cows and sheep, for example, we also domesticated their Rinderpest virus, which turned into human measles, now thought of as a relatively benign disease. Over the last 150 years, measles has killed 200 million people. And, in a sense, all those deaths can ultimately be traced back just a few hundred generations to the taming of the first cattle. Smallpox likely came from camel pox. We domesticated pigs, and got whooping cough. We domesticated chickens, and we got typhoid fever and Typhoid Mary, and domesticated ducks, and got influenza. Before the domestication of ducks, likely no one ever got the flu. Leprosy likely came from water buffalo, and the common cold from horses. How often did wild horses have the opportunity to sneeze into humanity’s collective face until they were broken and bridled? Until then, the common cold was presumably only common to them.

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Guns, Germs and Steel, Professor Diamond tried to explain why the diseases of the landing Europeans wiped out up to 95% of the native Americans, and not the other way around. Why didn’t native American plagues kill the Europeans? Well, because there were no plagues. In his chapter, “Lethal Gift of Livestock,” he explains how before the Europeans arrived, we had buffalo, but no domesticated buffalo; so, no measles. American camels were wiped out in the Pleistocene ice age; so, no smallpox. No pigs, and so no pertussis. No chicken, so no typhoid. So, while people were dying by the millions of killer scourges in Europe and Asia, none were dying with diseases in the so-called new world because there weren’t essentially foreign animals to domesticate. There wasn’t this spillover of animal disease.

The next great period of human disease started just a few hundred years ago with the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, leading to an epidemic of  the so-called diseases of civilization: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, etc. But by the mid-20th century, the age of infectious disease at least was thought to be over. We had penicillin, we conquered polio, eradicated smallpox. In fact, in 1968, the US Surgeon General declared the war against infectious disease has been won. In 1975, the Dean of Yale School of Medicine pronounced that there were no new diseases to be discovered—except maybe lung cancer. But even Nobel laureates were seduced in the heady optimism of the time. One famous virologist wrote, in a 1962 textbook, “To write about infectious disease is almost to write about something that’s passed into history. The most likely forecast of the future of infectious disease,” he wrote, “is that it will be very dull.”

But then, something changed. After decades of declining infectious disease mortality in the United States, the trend has reversed in recent decades. This is a graph from the CDC of infectious disease mortality over time, in the last 50 years or so. And as you can see, it starts declining. Declining, declining, declining, but then around 1975, it started to go back up. The number of Americans dying from infectious disease started to go back up. Starting around 1975, new diseases started to emerge and reemerge at a rate unheard of in the annals of medicine. More than 30 new diseases in 30 years––mostly newly discovered viruses. In fact, the whole concept of emerging infectious disease has gone from a mere curiosity in the field of medicine. Now it’s an entire discipline, really moved to center stage.

We may soon be facing, according to the US Institute of Medicine, what they call a catastrophic storm of microbial threats. We are now smack dab in the third era of human disease, which seems to only have started about 30 years ago. Medical historians have called this time in which we live the Age of Emerging Plagues, almost all of which come from animals.

But we domesticated animals 10,000 years ago. What has changed in recent decades to bring us to this current situation? Well, we are changing the way animals live. Take Connecticut, for example, where in 1975, Lyme disease was first recognized. Since, spread across all 50 states affecting an estimated 100,000 Americans since its emergence. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria-infested deer ticks, but the primary host is actually not deer, but the white-footed mouse. The ticks themselves, not quite as cute really, but we’ve been sharing the woods with these fellows forever. What changed recently was suburbia. The black-legged ticks live on the white-footed mouse, kept at bay by woodland predators. But then, developers came in and chopped up America’s woodlands into subdivisions, scaring away the foxes and bobcats, and now we have more mice, more ticks, and more disease.

We are changing the way animals live. Going back a little farther, with the big cattle-producing nations fighting during the Second World War. What Argentina did, took advantage of the situation by dramatically expanding its beef industry at the expense of its rainforest. There we discovered the deadly human virus, or rather it discovered us, and the so-called hamburger-ization of the rainforest exposed hemorrhagic fever viruses all across the continent subsequently. Turning to the other side of the world, cutting into Africa’s rainforests exposed a number of other hemorrhagic fever viruses, including Lassa virus, Rift Valley fever, and, of course, Ebola. Now the inroads into Africa’s rainforest were logging roads cut by transnational timber corporations hacking deep into the rainforest, dragging along a hungry migrant workforce, which survived on bush meat: wild animals killed for food. Now this includes upwards of 26 different species of primates, including a number of endangered great ape species, gorillas, chimpanzees, who are shot, butchered, smoked, and sold as food. Now by cannibalizing our fellow primates, we may be exposing ourselves to viruses particularly fine-tuned to our own primate physiology. In fact, recent outbreaks of Ebola, for example, have been traced to the exposure to the bodies of infected great apes hunted for food. Now Ebola is one of our deadliest infections, but not efficiently spread, compared to a virus like HIV.

The leading theory as to the emergence of the AIDS virus is direct exposure to animal blood and secretions as a result of hunting, butchering, and the consumption of contaminated bush meat. Experts believe the most likely scenario is that HIV arose from humans sawing their way into the jungle, butchering chimpanzees for their flesh along the way. Now in many countries in Africa, the prevalence of HIV exceeds 25% of the adult population, leaving millions of orphan children in its wake. Someone butchered a chimp a few decades ago, and now 25 million people are dead. But wildlife has been hunted for thousands of years. Yes, but never before like this.

With the demand for wildlife meat outstripping local supplies, what countries have done is set up these intensive captive production farms, cramming wild animals in these cramped filthy cages, and then smuggling them around the world. This intensive commercial bush meat trade actually started in the live markets of Asia, particularly the Guangdong province, a southern province surrounding Hong Kong, from which the current bird flu threat arose. The civet cat, a popular commodity in these Chinese animal markets. In addition to being raised for their flesh, they also produce the most expensive coffee in the world. So-called fox dung coffee is produced by feeding coffee beans to captive civets, and then—you guessed it— recovering the partially digested beans from their feces. A musk-like substance of buttery consistency secreted by the anal glands is said to give this coffee its distinctive favor. One might say this unique drink is good to the last dropping. I’m sorry. This animal was blamed for the SARS epidemic. Quoting from the medical Journal, Lancet, “A Culinary Choice In South China.” “A culinary choice in South China led to a fatal infection in Hong Kong.”

Subsequently, 8,000 cases of SARS. Nearly a thousand deaths, 30 countries, six continents. Maybe they should have just stuck to Starbucks. These live animal markets took a class of viruses, which in human medicine we had only known for causing the common cold, and seemed to turn them into a killer, SARS, which then spread around the world. Viruses can escape rainforests in animals, live or dead, as pets or as meat. In 2003, the exotic pet trade brought monkey pox from the jungles of West Africa to Wisconsin. Bird-smuggling may have actually been what brought West Nile virus to the Western Hemisphere. Here, it hits New York in ’99, and since spread across the country. Hundreds of human deaths, thousands of cases, all perhaps because of a single imported pet bird.

So, we are changing the way animals live, contributing to the emergence of these new diseases. But, you know, there’s one way we have changed our relationship with animals that really outshadows all the rest. In response to this torrent of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, the world’s three leading authorities got together for a joint consultation. The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Organization for Animal Health (the world’s leading veterinary authority), got together to uncover the key underlying causes of this age of emerging plagues. They came up with four, four main risks––four main themes of risk factors for the emergence and spread of these new diseases. Yes, they talked about the exotic pet trade. They talked about bush meat, but number one on their list was this increasing demand for animal protein the world over. Yes, we domesticated animals 10,000 years ago, but never before like this––especially pigs and poultry.

Chickens used to peck around the barnyard, but now chickens raised for meat are typically warehoused in sheds containing tens of thousands of birds. About half of the egg-laying hens on this planet are now confined in what are called battery cages. These small barren wire enclosures extending down long rows and windowless sheds; can be up to a million birds on a single farm. About half of the pigs on the planet are now again crowded into these intensive confinement operations. You know, old MacDonald’s farm has since been replaced by the new MacDonald’s farm. These intensive systems represent the most profound alteration of the human-animal relationship in 10,000 years. And, no surprise, they are breeding grounds for disease.

A few snapshots. China, 2005, the largest pork-producing nation suffers an unprecedented outbreak of an emerging pig pathogen, strep suis, causing meningitis and deafness in people handling infected pork products. Hundreds of people infected, the deadliest strain on record. Why? Well, according to the World Health Organization, indeed it seems to be these intensive confinement conditions. The USDA elaborates, “All strep suis starts out harmless as natural gut flora, but then the immunosuppressive effect of stress, due to overcrowding, inadequate ventilation, causes the bug to go invasive, causing infections of the brain, blood, lungs, heart, and death.” Starts out harmless, turns deadly. That’s what these kind of conditions seem to be able to do. This is not, arguably, how animals were meant to live.

Pig factories in Malaysia birthed the Nipah virus, one the deadliest of human infections: a contagious respiratory ailment killing 40% of those it infects, causing relapse and brain infections, propelling it onto the official U.S. list of bioterrorism agents. And again, according to one of the leaders of the field, it seems to be the way in which we now raise these animals. So, the three eras of human disease can be characterized perhaps as first, the diseases of domestication, then the diseases of industrialization, and of, finally, of land-use and agricultural intensification. We took natural herbivores like cows and sheep, turned them into carnivores and cannibals by feeding them slaughterhouse waste, blood, and manure, and then we took downed animals, too sick to even walk, fed them to people, and now we have mad cow disease. We feed antibiotics to farm animals by the truckload.

This is the total amount of antimicrobials used for all of human medicine every year. Now, contrast that with the amount we feed to farm animals, just to promote growth, or prevent disease, in such a stressful un-hygienic environment. Millions of pounds a year, and now we have these multi-drug-resistant bacteria, and we as physicians are running out of good antibiotic options. Scientists at NYU traced the path of some of these “super bugs” starting, for example, with the mass feeding of the Cipro class of antibiotics to chickens, and then we––there is a fecal contamination of the carcass at slaughter. We buy chicken at the supermarket, polluted with fecal material, leading to longer and more severe human infections.

The CDC recently really cinched it. They spent a million dollars over a three-year period doing rectal swabs of newly admitted hospital patients. This is what they found. Essentially, they found zero growth of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria within the bodies of those that had zero contact with fresh or frozen poultry. But at least these so-called super bugs aren’t effectively transmitted from one person to the other. With the seeming propensity of industrial animal agriculture to churn out these novel lethal human pathogens, what if these animal factories gave rise to a virus capable of a global pandemic of disease?

Let me put these new animal disease threats in perspective. SARS infected thousands of human beings, killed hundreds; Nipha infected hundreds, killed scores. Strep suis infected scores, killed dozens. Now AIDS has infected millions, but there’s only one virus on the planet that can rapidly infect billions, and that’s influenza. Influenza, the so-called last great plague of humankind, is the only known pathogen capable of truly global catastrophe these days. Unlike many other important diseases like malaria, which are largely confined at the equator, or a virus like HIV, which is only fluid-borne, the influenza virus is considered the only pathogen capable of literally infecting half of humanity within a matter of months.

Now in the 4,500 years that we as species have had influenza, since the first domestication of birds, influenza has always been one of our most contagious known diseases. But only since the emergence of this highly pathogenic, highly disease-causing strain, H5N1, has the influenza virus also emerged as one of our deadliest. H5N1, spreading out of Asia, 2004, 2005, 2006, and continuing to this day, has only killed about a hundred, a few hundred people. And not to minimize, each death is a terrible tragedy. But in a world in which millions of people continue to die of diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, why is there so much concern about the so-called bird flu? Because it’s happened before. Because the last time a bird flu virus adapted to human beings, it triggered the worst plague in human history: the influenza pandemic of 1918.

Modern flu strains tend to spare young healthy adults, but the 1918 virus killed people in the prime of life. In 1918, a quarter of all Americans fell ill. This is a chart of “Percent of Population Die.” Humanity’s greatest mass murderer eluded scientists for nearly a century, before a mass grave in Alaska was unearthed. Victims of the pandemic, frozen in the permafrost for 80 years, traces of virus in her lungs allowed scientists to piece together letter by letter the genetic code of the 1918 virus, solving perhaps the greatest medical detective story of all time.

Humanity’s greatest killer was bird flu. First civilian casualty in the U.S. was September 11th, ironically, 1918, and then, in a single month, this was week one, week two, week three, week four. And this is 1918 now. We’re talking steam locomotive here. Scientists at the Imperial College of London ran a simulation to see how a pandemic might spread today in the UK. Scientists at Los Alamos ran a simulation through their supercomputers to see how a pandemic might spread in the day of commercial airline travel. Here, it hits LA in this simulation, and in a few weeks the entire country is blanketed. In 1918, between 50 and 100 million people lost their lives. A similar virus today could kill many, many more. What started out for millions as muscle aches and a fever ended days, or even hours, later, with many people bleeding from their eyes, from their nostrils, from their ears, into their lungs. Homeless orphans, their parents dead, wandered the empty streets. One agonized official in the stricken East sent an urgent warning West. “Hunt up your woodworkers and set them making coffins, then take your street laborers and set them to digging graves.”

This is a clipping from The New York Times. At the time, victims of plague everywhere, great pyres of bodies consumed by the flames. Many victims strangled in their own bloody fluids. Their corpses, tinged blue from suffocation, were said to have been stacked like cord wood outside of morgues, and cities ran out of coffins, so they dug mass graves. That bird flu-originating virus killed more people in 25 weeks than AIDS has killed in 25 years. No war, no plague, no famine has ever killed so many people, in so short a time, as the 1918 pandemic.

Yet in 1918, the mortality rate of this disease was less than 5%. This estimate here, potentially tens of millions of people dead in the next pandemic, is based on that same 2 to 3% mortality rate. What the CDC is now calling a category 5 pandemic, around 2% mortality, around two million Americans dying. So that’s 2%. Currently, H5N1 is officially killing over half of its human victims. Don’t even seem to get a coin toss as to whether or not one lives through this disease. Dr. Robert Webster, the world’s leading authority on bird flu: “If we go back to 1918, 2.5% of people died. How many people are dying with bird flu? 50%. We’ve never seen such an event since the time of the plagues.”

Up to 60 million Americans come down with the flu every year. What if it suddenly turned deadly? That’s what keeps everyone up at night: the possibility, however slight, that a virus like H5N1 could trigger a human pandemic. That’d be like combining one of the most contagious known diseases, influenza, with one of the deadliest, like crossing a disease like Ebola with the common cold.

Where did this virus come from? Well, the current dialog surrounding avian influenza speaks of a potential H5N1 pandemic as if were a natural disaster—a hurricane, earthquake— of which we couldn’t possibly have control. The reality, though, is that the next pandemic may be more of an unnatural disaster of our own making. In poultry, bird flu has gone from an exceedingly rare disease to one which now pops up every year. The number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the first few years of this century have already exceeded the total number of outbreaks recorded for the entire 20th century. You’ll note that these are five-year intervals. Well, in just the first five months of 2006, we were already up to here, without breaks, continuing to this day. If one looks at the number of birds involved, the escalation is even more dramatic. At this scale, not even a blip until the 1980s. Bird flu seems to be undergoing evolution, in fast forward. As one leading flu expert told science, “We’ve gone from a few snowflakes to an avalanche.” And the increase in chicken outbreaks has gone hand in hand with increased transmission to humans.

A little over 10 years ago, essentially no known people—not a single person known to get sick directly from bird flu, but, since H5N1 arose in 1997, four other chicken flu viruses have affected people from Hong Kong to New York City. We can add another pink ring for the four cases in England and Wales last year. In the Netherlands outbreak, there’s evidence from a government investigation of a thousand people infected, with symptomatic poultry workers passing the virus on to a whopping 59% of household family members. Human-to-human transmission at a rate of seasonal flu. So, ten years ago or a dozen years ago, essentially no one was getting infected with bird flu, and now there’s been over 1,000 cases in continents around the world. Now the Netherlands outbreak––30 million chickens died, but only one person; one of the attending veterinarians tragically died, so the Netherlands virus was good at spreading, but not at killing.

H5N1 is kind of the opposite, right? H5N1 isn’t even good at spreading from birds to people. Look, it’s been around 10 years, over 10 years. Only a handful of people, a few hundred people, have become infected. And currently— certainly not good at spreading from person to person. But the human lethality of the strain is ferocious: over 10 times deadlier than the worst flu virus on record, that which triggered the pandemic of 1918. So what the Netherlands outbreak shows us is that this virus can evolve to go directly human to human. What H5N1 shows us is that this virus can evolve into an efficient human killer. If this trend is allowed to continue, our nightmare may one day be realized. The worst of both worlds, contagious and deadly. So, to slow down or stop this rapid recent emergence of highly pathogenic flu viruses, one must first ask well, what triggered this avalanche in the first place? What has changed in recent decades to bring this all upon us?

The emergence of H5N1 has been blamed on free-ranging flocks and wild birds. But people have been keeping chickens in backyards for thousands of years, and birds have been migrating for millions. Bird flu has been around forever. What turned bird flu into a killer? Well, the senior correspondent of “News Hour with Jim Lehrer” posed that question to Dr. Webster, the so-called godfather of flu research. “Was there something qualitatively different about this last decade, made it possible for this disease to do something it’s never done before? Some kind of changing conditions that suddenly lit a match to the tinder?” Webster replied. He said, “Farming practices have changed.” He talks about growing up on a farm, but “now we put millions of chickens into a chicken factory, next door to a pig factory. And this virus has the opportunity to get in one of these chicken factories, and make billions and billions of these mutations continuously. And so what we’ve changed is the way we raise animals, and our interaction with those animals.” And then, he talks about how the virus is escaping from the factories, infecting wild birds. He says that’s what’s changed. We’ve changed the way we raise animals. But, we changed the way we raise animals by the billions.

The number of chickens we slaughter every day, spread wing to wing, would wrap more than twice around the world’s equator. The big shift in the ecology of avian influenza has been the intensification of the global poultry sector. The developing world meat and egg consumption has exploded, leading to these industrial-scale commercial chicken facilities, arguably the perfect storm environment for the emergence and spread of these so-called “super strains” of influenza. In the early 1980s, nearly all the chickens in China were raised in tiny backyard outdoor flocks, but now there are 63,000 CAFOS in China—concentrated animal feeding operations— with a few of these so-called factory farms confining 10 million birds on a single farm. The World Health Organization blames emergence of H5N1, SARS, Nipah virus, all these new deadly emerging Asian viruses, in part on what they call the overconsumption of animal products in this intensive animal agriculture.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations starts out, “There seems to be an acceleration of human influenza problems in recent years.” This is what they mean. This is from the World Health Organization. These are all the new influenza viruses infecting human beings over the last century or so. Now, turn your attention to just 1995 on. Seems to be kind of snowflakes to an avalanche in people, too; but why? Well, according to the world’s leading agricultural authority, this is expected to largely relate to the intensification of poultry production, and possibly pig production as well. They elaborate in an internal FAO document, “Chicken to chicken spread, particularly where assisted by this intensive husbandry conditions, causes the virus to shift, adapt to more severe highly pathogenic type of infection. Intensive production favors the rapid spread of the viruses in the so called ‘hotting up’ of the virus from low pathogenicity to highly pathogenic types.”

Factory farms, it seems, can be thought of as the incubators for the emergence of highly disease-causing strains of this virus. In this diagram here, they actually trace the path of a human pandemic, starting with increased demand for poultry products, and ending up with a virus capable of human-to-human transmission. The United Nations, in fact, has called on all governments to fight the role of what they call factory farming. Quoting from a UN press release, “Governments, local authorities, international agencies need to take a greatly increased role in combating the role of factory farming, which combined with these live bird markets provide ideal conditions for the virus to spread and mutate into a more dangerous form.”

Let me show you how it works. All bird flu viruses start out harmless to both birds and people. Very important to understand. They start out harmless. Avian influenza has existed for millions of years as a harmless intestinal virus of aquatic birds like ducks, waterborne virus. I said, well, how does a duck’s intestinal bug end up in a human cough? Well, in people, the virus must make us sick in order to spread, must make us cough in order to shoot virus from one person to the next. With the virus’s natural reservoir, aquatic birds like ducks, the virus doesn’t need to make the ducks sick in order to spread. In fact it’s in the virus’s evolutionary best interest not to make the ducks sick as dead ducks don’t fly very far. So. the virus silently multiplies, and the intestinal lining of the duck is secreted out into the pond water, is swallowed up by another duck, and the cycle continues, as it has for millions of years, and no one gets hurt. But if an infected duck is dragged to a live bird market, for example, crammed in cages high enough to spot a virus-infected feces on land-based birds, terrestrial birds like chickens, well then, the virus has a problem. If the virus finds itself in the gut of a chicken, it no longer has the luxury of easy waterborne spread. Chickens aren’t paddling around in the pond, so the virus must mutate or die.

Unfortunately for us, mutating is what influenza viruses seem to do best. So, in its natural reservoir it’s been described as being in total evolutionary stasis, harmless, but when thrown into a new host, like land-based birds, it quickly starts mutating, acquiring mutations to adapt to its new host. In the open air, it must resist dehydration, for example, and it may have to spread to different organs to find a new way to travel. The intestines ain’t going to work anymore, and they may find the lungs and become an airborne pathogen, which is bad news for terrestrial mammals, such as ourselves. Goes into chickens as an aquatic virus, but may come out as the flu. In its new host, the more virulent, the more violent, this virus becomes, the quicker it may be able to overwhelm the immune system of its new host. But, if the virus becomes too deadly though, it may not spread as far. In an outdoor setting at least, if the virus kills its host too quickly, the animal may be dead before it has a chance to spread to too many others. So in nature, there’s kind of a natural limit on how virulent these viruses can get––or at least there was until now.

Enter intensive poultry production. When the next beak is just inch––inches––away, there may be no limit to how nasty these viruses can get. Evolutionary biologists believe that this is the key to the emergence of hyper-virulent, predator-type viruses like H5N1. Disease transmission from immobilized hosts. See, when you have a situation where the healthy cannot escape the disease, where the virus can knock you flat, and still transmit just because you’re so crowded, then there may be no stopping rapidly-mutating viruses from becoming truly ferocious. And this may explain the virus of 1918, rising out of the trenches of World War I. There were these crowded troop transports; boxcars were labeled “8 horses or 40 men.” So, when this harmless virus found itself in these kind of conditions, it turned deadly. Millions forced together under cramped quarters; no escaping a sick comrade. This is thought to be where the virus of 1918 gained its virulence.

From the virus’s point of view though, these same trench warfare conditions exist today. In every industrial chicken shed, every industrial egg operation, confined, crowded, stressed, but by the billions, not just millions. The industry is slowly waking up to this growing realization that viruses previously innocuous to natural host species have in all probability become more virulent by passes through these large commercial populations.

This from an industry journal. Starts out harmless, turns deadly. That’s what these conditions may be able to do. This is not arguably how animals were meant to live. So how does the poultry industry feel about the possibility that its own animal factories may produce a virus capable of killing millions of people around the world? Well, the executive editor of “Poultry” magazine wrote an editorial on just that topic. She wrote, “The prospect of a virulent flu, to which we have absolutely no resistance is frightening. However, to me, the threat is much greater to the poultry industry. I’m not as worried about the U.S human population dying from bird flu as I am that there will be no chicken to eat.” This is this is how the Department of Interior puts it. “Domesticated poultry is the necessary stepping stone to create a pandemic strain of influenza.” Now we used to think pigs were an important link in this chain, so this—probably not a good idea. H5N1 found a way, it seems, not only to kill people directly, but seems to have gone full circle, reinfecting its natural hosts––migratory aquatic species––who could potentially fly this factory farm virus to continents around the world.

Now, unfortunately for us, there’s some quirk of evolution. The respiratory tract of a chicken seems to bear striking resemblance to our own primate respiratory tract on a molecular level, on a virus receptor level. So as the virus gets better at infecting, killing chickens, the virus may be getting better at infecting and killing us. Virologist Earl Brown, specialist in the evolution of influenza viruses. “You have to say,” Dr. Brown concluded, “again, this high-intensity chicken rearing, really the perfect environment for the evolution for generating virulent avian flu virus.”

Now in contrast, there has never been a single recorded emergence of a highly pathogenic flu virus ever from an outdoor chicken flock. Never once has a dangerous deadly virus ever arisen that we know of in chickens kept outside. You can breed a deadly virus here. It can escape. In fact, backyard birds, free-ranging flocks, even wild birds, but that transition from harmless to deadly always seems to happen in these kind of conditions, because of the overcrowding. Remember, transmission from immobilized hosts, because of the sheer numbers. Because of the inadequate ventilation, the dankness helps keep the virus alive. Because of the stress crippling their immune systems. Because of the filth. The virus is in the feces that they’re lying in, which, decomposing, releasing ammonia, burning their respiratory tracts, predisposing them to respiratory infection in the first place. And because there may be no sunlight. The UV rays and sunlight are actually quite effective in destroying the influenza virus. 30 minutes of direct sunlight completely inactivates H5N1, but it can last for days in the shade, and weeks in moist manure.

So, you put all these factors together, and what you have is this kind of perfect storm environment for the emergence and spread of new super strains of influenza. But what about biosecurity? Don’t we want all the birds confined indoors, away from waterfowl? I mean, does it matter? If these kind of conditions can turn a harmless virus into a deadly virus, if the harmless virus can’t get inside in the first place? Well, an FAO research report addressed this very question. They, in their evidence-based analysis, they looked at the best data set available: a massive survey of flocks in Thailand, in which over a million birds were tested for H5N1, in factory farms and backyard flocks. And what they expected to find was that backyard flocks would be at higher risk for infection, because they’re just out there in the open. What they found was exactly the opposite. They found that backyard flocks are at significantly lower risk of infection, compared to commercial scale operations. Industrial quail and chicken operations were at least four times more likely to become infected than backyard flocks. So, not only may factory farms be the incubators for the original emergence of high-path strains, based on the best science available, they may also play a role in the spread, the subsequent spread of the virus as well––in part because of the massive inputs and outputs required for this industrial style of animal agriculture. Tons of feed and water go in. Tons of waste comes out. Tens of thousands of flies buzzing around. And, these high-volume ventilation fans blowing dust and waste out into the countryside, potentially contaminating the air, the soil, insects, rodents, transport. Industrial-style production can lead to industrial-style contamination of the environment.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health looked back and realized that their conclusions were actually consistent with other high path outbreaks, whether in the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, other diseases. Factory farms consistently at higher risk. They concluded that there’s no empirical evidence to support this myth that backyard flocks are somehow the crux of the problem. And again, people have been raising birds in their backyards for about 4,000 years before this disease erupted out of control. On other factors, the studies have uncovered widespread disregard for biosecurity, even in developed countries. which claim to have the best biosecurity in the world. According to North Carolina University Poultry Health Management, high biosecurity is still wishful thinking in many areas of intensive poultry production.

A bird flu outbreak in Virginia in 2002 led to the deaths of four million birds. Found its way inside 200 factory farms, highlighting just how wishful the thinking is that industrial poultry populations are somehow completely protected against this kind of infection. Based on the rapid spread of avian influenza in Virginia recently, this decade, USDA poultry virologists conclude the obvious, that biosecurity on many farms is simply inadequate. Investigators from the University of Maryland surveyed chicken facilities throughout the Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia peninsula, perhaps the most concentrated density of chickens in the world, and concluded that U.S. chicken flocks, were constantly at risk for infection, triggered by these poor biosecurity practices. But even if the industry had perfect compliance with these guidelines, even if everyone going in and out stepped in antiseptic foot baths, scrubbed their boots, washed their hands, even with perfect compliance, it likely would not be enough.

We now know that H5N1 can be carried by flies. You cannot keep flies out of a poultry shed. See, H5N1 is a biosafety level 3+ pathogen. That means in a laboratory setting, this virus must only be handled in unique high containment buildings, specially engineered with airlocks, double-door access, shower in, shower out, all floors, walls, ceilings sealed and waterproofed. All electric outlets, phone cords, caulked, collared, sealed to prevent any air leaks. All surfaces decontaminated daily. All solid waste incinerated. That is how you’re supposed to handle this virus. That’s biosecurity. In contrast to this, the global industrial poultry industry seems to be breeding viruses like H5N1 at essentially biosafety level zero. So, the poultry industry may not only be playing with fire with no way to put it out, they may be fanning the flames, and firewalls to contain this virus do not yet exist.

Unfortunately, a leading USDA poultry virologist told an international gathering of bird flu scientists, “Unfortunately this level of biosecurity just doesn’t exist in the United States,” and doubts really it exists anywhere in the world. And according to emeritus poultry professor, author of Handbook on Livestock Diseases, standards of biosecurity may actually be in decline in an attempt for the industry to cut costs. Now biosecurity measures as they’re currently practiced are certainly better than nothing, but may not be something we want to stake the lives of millions of people upon for the sake of cheaper chicken.

A pandemic caused by H5N1 or some comparable future bird flu virus has the capacity to trigger one of the greatest catastrophes of all time. So, to decrease the risk of generating increasingly dangerous bird flu viruses, the global poultry industry must reverse course, away from greater intensification by, for example, here, in the annals of New York Academy of Sciences, replacing these large industrial units with smaller farms with lower stock and densities of animals, which could potentially result in less stress, less disease susceptibility, less intense infectious contents, and lower infectious loads across the board.

In 2007, the Journal of the American Public Health Association published an editorial that went beyond just calling for de-intensification of the poultry industry. They questioned the prudence of raising so many chickens in the first place. In their editorial, “Chickens Come Home to Roost,” it is curious that changing the way humans treat animals—most basically ceasing to eat them, or at the very least radically limiting the quantity of them that is eaten—is largely off the radar as a significant preventive measure. Such a change, if sufficiently adopted or enforced, however, even at this late stage, could still reduce the likelihood of the much-feared influenza pandemic. It would even more likely prevent unknown future diseases that, in the absence of the change, may result from farming animals intensively and killing them for food. Yet humanity does not even seem to consider this option. We don’t tend to shore up the levees until after the disaster. Hopefully won’t take a pandemic before we take these recommendations into account. The editorial concludes, “Those who consume animals not only harm those animals and endanger themselves, but they also threaten the well-being of future generations on this planet.”

To switch avian images, it is time for humans to remove their heads from the sand, and recognize the risk to themselves that can arise from their maltreatment of other species. How we treat animals can have global public health implications. It’s not surprising, then, that the American Public Health Association, the largest association of public health professionals in the world, has called for a moratorium on factory farms, urging all federal, state, and local authorities to impose a ban on the building of new intensive livestock operations to protect the health of the local communities in terms of air, water, land contamination, pollution. The prudence of this measure certainly grows with our increasing understanding of the role that these operations play in emerging infectious disease.

I’m often asked how the industry responds to this kind of sentiment from the scientific community? Well, last summer the United Nations released yet another report on the global health risks of intensive animal agriculture. Let me show you that how U.S. agribusiness responded to this report. “Feedstuffs” is America’s leading agribusiness publication, and, in an editorial, responded this way to the FAO research report. “FAO claims to use scientists to generate its reports, but I wonder if those scientists don’t resemble a bearded guy living in a cave in Pakistan, who wants the U.S. on its knees?” All too typical of the kind of “you’re with us or against us” industry attitude, unfortunately. Now, this is an extreme example.

There are those within industry who can take a step back and look at the longer-term view. Avian health expert and longtime industry insider, Ken Rudd, wrote a really candid article in Poultry Digest called “Poultry Reality Check Needed.” Drawing on his 37 years’ experience from within the poultry industry, he concluded with these prophetic words. He said, “Now is the time to decide. We can go on with business as usual, charging headlong towards lower costs, or we can begin making prudent moves necessary to restore balance between economics and long-range avian health. We can pay now, or we can pay later, but it should be known and it must be said one way or another, we will pay.”

So, cutting down our consumption of chickens and fighting the role of factory farming, as the United Nations has called for, may indeed prevent the emergence of future viruses, but H5N1 has already been hatched, already spread and mutated into a more dangerous form, and now that is endemic in poultry populations across two continents, eradication is unlikely. Dr. Michael Osterholm is the director of the U.S. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, an associate director within the Department of Homeland Security. He tried to describe what an H5N1 pandemic could look like in one of the U.S. leading public policy journals, called Foreign Affairs. He asked policymakers to consider the devastation of the 2004 tsunami in South Asia. He said, “Duplicate the tsunami in every major urban center and rural community around the planet. Simultaneously add in the paralyzing fear and panic of contagion, and we begin to get some sense of the potential of pandemic influenza.” That’s what he thinks it could be like. A tsunami in every city, every town, everywhere people drowning in their own bodily fluids. Or, we could imagine Katrina. Imagine every city New Orleans around the world at the same time, all perhaps because people insisted on eating cheaper chicken.

The next pandemic may be more of an unnatural disaster of our own making. A pandemic of “even moderate impact may result in the single biggest human disaster ever, far greater than AIDS, 9/11, all the wars of the 20th century, and the tsunami combined, has the potential to redirect world history, as the Black Death redirected European history in the 14th century.” Hopefully, the direction world history will take is away from raising birds by the billions under intensive confinement, so as to potentially lower our risk of us ever being in this precarious place ever again.

My intention today was just to focus on primary prevention, getting to the root cause, but with the unprecedented spread of this truly precedented virus, it is important that everyone be prepared for the next influenza pandemic. So let me just throw out some resources. The CDC has set up an excellent pandemic preparedness website: pandemicflu.gov. If you click across here, you will find pandemic preparedness checklists for businesses, schools, communities, faith-based groups, all the way down to individual and family preparation, which really focuses on getting everyone right now to stockpile weeks of essential supplies to shelter in place during a pandemic, isolating ourselves and our families in our homes until the danger passes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Is now using as a key planning assumption that the U.S. population may be directed to remain in their homes under self-quarantine for up to 90 days per wave of the pandemic, to support social distancing. Kind of like a snow emergency, where you’re just told to stay inside; don’t go out unless it’s an emergency. But instead of lasting a day or two, lasts weeks or even months. Everyone ready to stay in their homes for three months? If we have to go out to the corner store during a pandemic to buy toilet paper or something, we may be bringing back to our family more than just groceries.

Let me end with a quote from the World Health Organization, The Bottom Line. “The bottom line is that humans have to think about how they treat their animals, how they farm them, how they market them— basically the whole relationship between the animal kingdom and the human kingdom is coming under stress. In this age of emerging plagues, we now have billions of feathered and curly-tailed test tubes for viruses to incubate and mutate within billions more spins at pandemic roulette. Along with human culpability, though, comes hope. If changes in human behavior can cause new plagues, well then, changes in human behavior may prevent them in the future.” Thank you.

Video thanks to Humane Society International

Doctor's Note

*Please note there is graphic human and animal footage*

This video is more than a decade old, so be aware that the stats are outdated, but I wanted to get something out on this important subject as soon as possible. I am currently working on updating the information, including with my upcoming webinar.

Now that the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is here, what can we do to protect ourselves, our families and our communities? That’s the subject of my upcoming live webinar on April 8 at 2pm ET: How Not to Die in a Pandemic. UPDATE: The webinar is now full (thank you to the almost 5,000 people who signed up!). The information will be available on NutritionFacts.org after the webinar. 

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

306 responses to “Pandemics: History & Prevention

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    1. Yes, hooray, he has gotten on-topic.

      Round of applause.

      Yesterday, S mentioned the building of character.

      Character is becoming a horrifying topic in the modern age.

      Today, a doctor was arrested for intentionally coughing on other doctors.

      The other day, a woman was arrested for intentionally coughing on $35,000 worth of food in the produce department.

      And a man was arrested for licking deodorant bottles.

      Those are the people with such criminal impulse control issues that they are going to try to spread the pandemic faster.

      In contrast to the severity of the situation.

      Today, in Madrid, they discussed that they don’t have enough respirators so they are removing them from people over 65 and are sedating them toward euthanasia.

      1. Hi Deb,

        I can’t find any information regarding doctor intentionally coughing on other doctors etc….can you please cite your sources.

      2. In Italy the cut off for plugging in is 45 years… So Madrid is still humane….tehy euthanase people, in Italy they let them die… (writing from Slovenia- the italian colleges let us know how they work…)

        1. You re wrong.I m Italian and I can assure you that it’ s not true.Our doctors saved the lives of many 80 years old people too.They take care of everyone with passion for their work.Thanks to Italian doctors.

      3. In Madrid, and everywhere in Spain, critical healthcare is conducted as usual. Every patient goes through triage, which means ICU measures are applied and decitions made, independently of their age. If you mean we are in serious trouble, yes, we are. We are short of ventilators, ICUs, masks, etc. But, we all need to already acknowledge that every country is lying about their figures.

    2. Thanks so much, Dr. Greger and all at Nutrition Facts. There needs to be far more awareness on how many diseases have come from our domestication and exploitation of animals as you do a quick synopsis in the beginning of this pandemic history video. The link to TB, chicken pox, and others, including some you mentioned, I read of some time ago (somewhere!) and cannot find anymore online. Would appreciate you doing an in depth video to elaborate on this price we pay for exploiting animals.

      1. it is quite likely we would not be here without domesticated animals . Animals like horses were very important to agriculture . Today of course we can use internal combustion engines for power , however they too have cost .

        1. It wasn’t the domestication of animals that is the foundation of these viral diseases. As Dr. G explained, the backyard chicken coupe does not harbor this type of pandemic ability. It is the CAFO farms of hundreds of animals kept together in concentrated numbers and force-contained in their own feces & urine that provides the proving ground. It is the moist medium under foot that allows the virus not to die – when exposed to sun and dried out the virus cannot live nor propagate.
          It’s important to get the facts right.

          1. Yes I see your point but Dr Gregors video is what we need to hear right now. I challenge you to take it to the media. Most people don’t realize the impact of these farms. Thank you.

        2. you cannot assert that we would not be “here” without domesticated animals.
          you need to look more into the history of the new world and the old world…
          their cultures were very similar, and even 10,000 years ago, there was evidence of agriculturalists who had an equal society where everyone was fed ..
          there were also lots of fights with pastoralists as well…. becaue they are terrible people who exploit animals to make their wealth, no different that slavers of men, who make wealth off the backs of human slaves…

          we are were we are today IN SPITE OF animal domestication fouling us up every step of the way.. but we wont be here much longer , exactly because of animal domestication.

          1. Thank you! Long before weapons and fire our ancestors lived without domestic animals and mostly without meat, which would have been eaten raw it at all. *Australopithecus Africanus and Sahelanthropus, were all tool-less vegetarians, whereas Homo erectus was a crude toolmaker, *with a more rounded skull, *Homo erectus* appeared on the scene with a multitude of physical changes, his use of tools and therefore flint weapons appeared when his newly rounded skull appeared, not before. If eating meat were the cause of the development of a larger brain, the signs of weapon use would have come first and gradually ushered in larger brains. So it is obvious that before the appearance of tool-making and fire, our human ancestors were primarily foraging vegetarians not hunters. Our basically primate biology is unable to easily adapt to things foreign to our biological type or anything that must be processed (cooking is processing), and those failures to adapt result in diseases, depending on what genetic weaknesses are present.

  1. “The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future – deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice,the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease.”– The World Watch Institute 

      1. if this ever does occur, the reality is that every other species on the planet would immediately benefit from our absence. meanwhile, the loss of l”lowly” ant’s, bee’s or earthworms would completely devastate ecosystems across the globe. kind of shows how important human beings are in the grand scheme of things- as the saying goes, we are legends in our own minds.

        1. Ahimsa42, there is a 1939 MGM cartoon out there “Peace on Earth” on the net that describes that very scenario. It is both artistically beautiful as well as profound. Worth searching out.

          1. thanks for the recommendation Sue-i will check it out and see if i can find it. btw, i wonder if that is where this came from too:

            “Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed. Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer. So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”~ David Coates

              1. after watching i did remember seeing it a while ago-still seems very human centered despite the message. interesting how it did mention flesh munchers though.

                have you seen the 3 minute animated by Steve Cutts on youtube called “Man”? it is another classic but with a far more in your face message..

    1. I absolutely agree. I’m intrigued with this evolution. Why has there been an increase in human hunger for meat?

      Thank you Dr. Gregor for this succinct information. I had intuited it but could not have presented it with any credibility!

    2. /“The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future – deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice,the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease.”– The World Watch Institute /

      And most of us consume a steady diet of media every day convincing us that we should continue with this horrible behavior.

      That’s what keeps change from happening.

  2. After reading the Nutritionfacts blog about Iron-Ferritin bloodlevels and decreased cancer risk for cancer I now realise that I have crazy high levels Ferritin for someone who eats a WFPB diet my levels are even higher compared to someone who eats a animal based diet. What could be causing this?

    So Ferritin (mg/L) levels in people eating a normal diet is 141 ± 93 and in vegans it is 72 ± 32. But my level is 233 µg/L… That’s crazy right? Where is all the iron coming from on a plant based diet.

    I started out on 261 µg/L Ferritin (which is the same as mg/L as far as I know) several years ago before eating WFPB. The years after this transition it kept dropping down to 234 µg/L and finally to 177 µg/L after about 3-4 years. But last year, whitout much change in my diet it shot back up again to 233 µg/L, the same blood test also shows my iron (not Ferritin) test being at 122 µg/L.

    If iron toxicity starts at 50 µg/L like Dr. Greger says in the recent blog, I’m almost 5 times higher as this level, all while eating a near vegan diet, presumably with very little heme iron.

    Anybody here any idea what gives? I cannot tell my regular doc because the “normal” values indicated on the blood test are between 20 – 280 µg/L.

    The only thing i can think of is the pressure cooker that I started using last year to cook which is made from stainless steel… That would explain for the recent rise in my number. But seems like I started way up with my levels even before I changed towards WFPB too.

    1. Netggate,

      Fyi:
      µg stands for microgram, i.e. one millionth of a gram, so very different from mg (milligram), which is one thousandth of a gram. mcg is the recommended symbol in the US and UK for medical information (µg = mcg).

      I am wondering whether you know what your other iron test results are, in particular, Total Iron, TIBC, % transferring saturation? Without that information you are flying blind.

      You might want to review the chart on iron level patterns at
      https://labtestsonline.org/tests/iron-tests

      Take a look at the chart showing test result patterns for various problems including iron poisoning and hemochromatosis.

      I am a WF vegan who has often in the last decade had high total iron and high % transferrin saturation, but ***normal*** ferritin (but up to 123) and normal TIBC. This is the pattern shown for iron poisoning. Note in the chart that TIBC is low in hemochromatosis.

      I have not figured out what’s going on in my case either. But to combat absorption, I am careful not to eat any food high in, or take any supplement with, vitamin C at meal times, and I usually drink black tea (through a straw so as not to overly stain my teeth) or coffee at meals to block iron absorption (black tea is better than coffee).

      However, I was still having trouble bringing down my levels and so gave blood twice over about 4 months. That dropped my ferritin from 123 to 32, and my total iron from 192 to 113.

      Blood donations work.

      1. I should add, although it is likely obvious, that I am not a medical professional and think that anyone with a problem should consult with their doctor.

  3. Very relieved when I read that this is a recording and not really filmed on 3/27/20 with a live audience NOT practicing social distancing!

  4. There should be a warning with this video.

    The primate images are so upsetting.

    I immediately thought of Michael the gorilla signing about remembering his mother being killed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXKsPqQ0Ycc

    But even without all of the animal killing, I don’t understand where some food concepts come from.

    Who in the world would ever think that coffee would be healthier if you fed it to foxes and collected it again on the other side?

    1. There is a warning under the video. Doesn’t seem to stop some from fanning the flames of cruelty, hysteria, and insanity in text.

  5. Oh dear I’m getting sick just by watching what people have done and are doing….. Really coffee from that fox!!!!!!! ugh disgusting!
    I’ll have to watch the rest of the video later. I’m drinking my coffee right now.

  6. The last 5 minutes are very prophetic, even mentioning toilet paper. The whole video is VERY helpful. Thank you for re-posting it.

  7. I want to point out that humans are like any other living species – no better and no worse. Please read between the lines: it is the capitalist economic model which produces industrial farming and breeding. We don’t need to change who we are but how we are. We need a new economic model and government which puts the health and interest of the people before any economic interests.

    1. Liliana,
      I don’t think changing the economic model is the answer. The socialist model of China and the capitalist model in the US both contribute to these pandemics. The answer lies in educating the masses that eating animals is bad for humans physically and environmentally.

      1. Patty,
        I wouldn’t believe everything that comes through the news, including info on 5G.
        FCC is a captured agency (corrupted agency) and is essentially controlled by the industries they are supposed to regulate.
        See Harvard report: http://ethics.harvard.edu/files/center-for-ethics/files/capturedagency_alster.pdf by NormAlster
        Senator Blumenthal Raises Concerns on 5G at Feb 2019 Senate Hearing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekNC0J3xx1w&t=2s
        See https://ehtrust.org for trustworthy information! Everyone needs to be better informed than listening to the telecoms and those who
        are in business with them. We are all in big trouble if we don’t stop 5G!

      2. Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, founder and chairman of the Institute for Neurobiology in Germany, said that they found that Wi-Fi radiation enhances mold growth. So my question is – If WiFi radiation enhances mold growth, why cannot the radiation that comes from cell phones, cell towers, routers, etc. contribute to the spreading of viruses, bacteria, etc? I don’t know, but it’s certainly food for thought! Another interesting note, Dr. Klinghardt also said
        that Lyme Disease without WiFi is easy to treat. Important information to know since there is so much Lyme Disease and illnesses connected to it.
        And they are wanting to increase the radiation we will all get with the 5G roll-out!! Doesn’t sound good to me!

        1. Perhaps the most effective response to these radiation issues is to build Faraday cages into the walls of our homes.  And reducing our own use of WiFi, etc.

          Protecting us where we spend the most time.

  8. Thanks for the reactions.

    It’s kinda weird that the ferritin levels would rise from an instant pot though.
    So there’s higher retention from beans and the likes but this is all extra non-heme iron which wouldn’t lead to too high levels normally. That’s when i though about iron molecules directly leaching from the cookware into the food but this also wouldn’t be the originator because;

    1) DA pan’s iron is in the non-heme form, which isn’t absorbed as well as heme iron from meat. In principle the body can regulate non-heme iron as it sees fit so it doesn’t accumulate throughout life.

    2) Pressure cookers have stainless steel pots and these don’t really leach due to its protective shield of chromium oxide. Leaching is something you see in cast iron skillets.

    Some more info.
    https://examine.com/nutrition/are-cast-iron-pans-unsafe/

    But like the other person said, Gengo, I’m kind of in the dark here because Ferritin doesn’t really say how much iron the body has either, other iron parameters need considerations. I guess safety wise, blood donations it is.

    1. interesting, as I didn’t think of my favorite pan (cast iron) as a hazard! However, I DID know to never ever cook any acidic food such as tomatoes in it. So my chili goes in my 18/10 stainless steel using Trader Joe’s fake hamburger. Nevertheless, my nails are showing damage indicating an issue with my liver being unable to dump excess iron. Thanks for the tips! So you know, I do still eat some meat, but in small amounts and it must be grass fed, free range and organic. I won’t put non organic food in my mouth, as I have found that the glyphosate (roundup) in non organic foods causes me to have ulcerative colitis (now gone after switching to organic). This was no joke! I was vomiting almost daily. Now I have energy and am free of constant nausea, going on three months. Same thing for bread. If I eat even a little bread including whole grain, I blow up like a 9 month pregnant woman having twins. But organic, sprouted bread does nothing to me. I even switched to organic sprouted rice (which is really good, by the way.)

  9. Sincere thanks for this amazing article……………..staggering information, certainly enough to keep my mind occupied for some time to come.

  10. To re-use another commentator’s word, Dr. Greger’s 2008 video was “prophetic” and also much easier to watch and absorb with his calmer approach.

    It should be required reading/viewing before viewing his other videos – it lays the groundwork very clearly and convincingly.

  11. My mind ended up writing a vegan whole food plant-based version of We Didn’t Start the Fire.

    Seems like that melody should be the background music to this video.

    But there were enough names of plant-based proponents and animal-based diseases that it just flew together in a song.

    I am not posting it. I am putting the original Billy Joel version in honor of all of the people out there trying to fight this current fire.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFTLKWw542g

  12. This is Stunning! This helps us understand the big picture and root causes of what we are going through right now with COVIN19. And this was predicted 12 years ago in 2008 by Dr. Greger and others. Thank you very much Dr. Greger. You need to get on the cable news and tell the world about this.

  13. I have been sharing this video for the last two weeks; I was wondering why Dr. Greger himself was not sharing it! In fact, I have also been sharing, and reading the book birdflubook.org, of which the video is a short summery of important points. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Dr. Greger made it vaguely clear what needs to be done long term in the field of animal husbandry. He said nothing about what you need to do to survive the pandemic that is here right now.

      Luckily, I wrote the instructions for that in my new book: THE BEST WAY TO STOP THE CORONAVIRUS IN ITS TRACKS. It will be on Amazon in a couple of weeks or so I hope, maybe three as an Ebook and a pocket book released simultaneously.

      It’s all stuff the medical community should be telling people but are not. What to do? Go back and read my past posts and pay attention. The clues are all there.

      I wrote most of the book before anyone ever heard of Covid-19. Just like Dr. Greger said, these viruses are not new. They have been here billions of years longer than we have. What changed as Dr. Greger said was our relationship with animals. What he did not talk about was our relationship with food.

      No one else on the planet is giving you instructions. Plenty of you here hammered me for my views. Now you will be in a position to either follow my instructions and live or ignore them and die.

      That is not to say any of you will die. We know for example that the most vulnerable are people over 70 with high blood pressure and underlying causes that are never described on any newsfeed I’ve seen. We know to self isolate, avoid touching our faces, especially eyes, mouth and nose, wear masks, (that we can make ourselves). Today it was revealed that Tylenol is the only drug safe to take and that Advil will make Covid-19 10x worse and Ibuprofen will have a similar effect.

      In the meantime there are about 170 pages in 9 point type packed with stuff that may save your life.

      So if you don’t fit the criteria listed and are not overweight which is one of the markers that will be a problem for many North Americans, you won’t likely need my book.

      1. John Newell,

        Re your comments about Tylenol being the only safe drug to take:

        “The Ibuprofen Debate Reveals the Danger of Covid-19 Rumors
        An online furor over whether it’s safe to use the fever reducer reveals how people are sharing incomplete—and sometimes bad—information.

        … In the end, risking liver damage from taking too much acetaminophen, rushing to rule out ibuprofen, and even consuming fish medications all come back to the same thing: Feeling threatened by an unfamiliar pathogen makes us reach for something that we think can fix the problem right now. But quick fixes pose their own dangers, too.”
        https://www.wired.com/story/the-ibuprofen-debate-reveals-the-danger-of-covid-19-rumors/?fbclid=IwAR2qg1FnCkwpJhFMS-BtM1M4nIxmdWGl9xVP2sEg9UrJV62YWefqr1Y_Cek

        1. That’s why I’m spending most of my time trying to get the word out about vitamin C.

          It’s about the safest thing there ever was.  And it’s been proven to protect against viruses.  Even been proven to protect against Covid-19 in China.  Real reports from doctors in hospitals there.

          Take some vitamin C with every meal and you very likely won’t be adding to clogging our hospitals.

          http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n04.shtml

          https://www.reddeeradvocate.com/life/more-research-is-killing-covid-19-victims/

          https://www.reddeeradvocate.com/life/more-research-is-killing-covid-19-victims/

          https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-interview-larry-brilliant-smallpox-epidemiologist/

          There is tons of science behind all this from the 1930’s until now.  Hundreds of papers and dozens of books.

          If you don’t want to become part of the problem then take some vitamin C daily.  And tell others, please.

          Let me know if I can help further.  We’re all in this together. *Clogged hospitals are entirely unnecessary!*

          Thanks.

          1. You’ve posted these false claims before, Richard.

            There is no evidence that vitamin C supplements prevent covid infections. This is wishful thinking at best and deliberate misinformation at worst.

            The study you refer to started on 14 February and will not be completed until 30 September. The fact that you are claiming now that the study shows positive results is therefore also clearly false. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the dangerous stage of this infection. It is interesting that the Chinese study you referred to noted of another study

            ‘Among patients with sepsis and ARDS, patients in the high-dose vitamin group did not show a better prognosis and other clinical outcomes.’
            https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04264533

            Please stop spreading your fake news.

  14. I teared up when I saw that MyPillow has changed to 75% of their production is face masks now.

    I love that vacuum wars is trying to get the vacuum companies to either make masks from HEPA filters or to give the material to MyPillow and have the doctors get the good stuff.

    I feel a little sick at the concept that I have a mask with a filter because we got them for our workers, but the stockpile of masks for doctors which had been depleted last pandemic never got re-stocked back then.

    That and NY could have gotten ventilators years ago but decided to ration them instead.

    Someone mentioned that governments didn’t handle this well.

    MyPillow guy gets a virtual hug from me.

    1. I wonder if someone with influence. Someone like Oprah could mobilize the various industries who make HEPA filters and Vacuums to switch to masks and ventilators.

      People are already being euthanized. We won’t tell anybody if we euthanize people in the USA.

      1. Deb, Over the last week or so, I’ve read about many companies voluntarily changing their production to make more needed medical supplies.
        I haven’t seen a full list but many are doing it .

        1. Darwin,

          That is fabulous!

          I would like to see the list.

          I was thinking that hospitals should change how they do things now.

          They could do what the grocery stores are doing and have a plexiglass screen big enough for doctors and nurses to stand behind, but small enough for them to take blood pressure and pulse and it could slide back and forth if it was on wheels.

        2. Darwin,

          Your comment caused me to realize that I have a President who is on Twitter. I am going to give him ideas. Who knows, maybe he will read them and we will get plexiglass shields protecting doctors and patients. If the grocery stores got them installed that quickly, why can’t hospitals do the same?

    2. ‘Someone mentioned that governments didn’t handle this well.’

      They seem to be handling it a lot better than the private sector, libertarians or anarchists would.

      1. Laughing.

        Yes, anarchists would be coughing all over everything intentionally.

        Libertarians would not be shutting down anything.

        My father would be gathering all of the young people and would be having the old chickenpox style parties and would be making sure they all get it this year.

  15. Thank you for this timely presentation while we are fighting yet another unnatural disease. When will we learn the consequences of our actions? Looking forward to your upcoming presentation. Keep safe and well to everyone.

  16. I hope Dr. Greger can testify in Congress about the relationship between factory farms and pandemics. It is so frustrating that knowledge of real value is so hard to come by. I was a radiologist for 45 years, and did not have my head in the sand, but I never heard of the whole food plant based diet until about five years ago, or the virus transfer from animals to humans until just now when I watched Dr. G’s 12 year old video!
    If we the people could be told about really important information half as much as we hear about walk-in bathtubs and mesothelioma lawyers, it would be so great.

    1. Yeah, I noticed. About the time he made this recording, I attended a speaking engagement he gave. He had a bulging belly and the bottom button of his shirt had come unbuttoned. I wonder if he wasn’t consistently practicing what he preaches or if he was scarfing down too many nuts and other fat rich vegan food. I believe it was also before he got his treadmill and started burning some 2000 extra calories a day.

    2. Perhaps he was just a ‘vegan’ then Many ‘vegan’ food are unhealthy.and fattening.

      Now he promotes WFPB diets rather then ‘vegan’ diets. Big difference – if you see what I mean.

  17. Oh wow!

    Human beings never learn!

    It is a very interesting and easy to understand video that explains how pandemics are born… and that feels totally prophetic now!

    I guess it’s a bit late to go and check: pandemicflu.gov right?

    I think in the States you say: “The horses have left the barn…” or something like that?

  18. 90 days of supplies for hunkering down. Well, I’ve been ‘preaching’ that for years. And, even with all my own efforts at practicing what I preach, we could get by, just barely, for 90 days with a 100% national shutdown / collapse. It’s difficult. Requires discipline, money, effort, time, space and total commitment, but it can be done.Will sadly also require a few weapons, because as it all crashes down, humans tend to revert to type….savages.

    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/156802

    1. Hopefully the 90 days MAX preparedness recommendations, for a potential influenza outbreak, doesn’t also make others finally feel justified after years of paranoia. This sentiment, believing the world is likely crashing down, and that therefore one should arm yourself to protect from your fellow savage is saddening to me, but too its illogical in its mitigation process.

      Because, one will only find in short order, that Influenza cannot be shot.

      After the first 90 days of killing people in desperate need, (who we feel, in our new found and finally justified moral superiority, deserve it anyway because they were too stupid to prepare), one will simply run out of one’s 90 day supply of food.

      Then…. we can perhaps…eat our guns? Or better, perhaps we should eat the ones we’ve shot, and steal from those we haven’t, as we become the savage.

  19. I like toward the end when he says “imagine if you have to go out and buy toilet paper”. The whole thing is very prescient!

    When asked, I would tell people there are three reasons people go vegan: Health, Animal Welfare, and the Planet. Now we have a fourth, checking pandemics!

  20. They aren’t euthanising people 65+ in Spain. That’s ridiculous and the link you posted has been taken down.

    There is all sorts of rubbish posted on YouTube and the internet generally, Including stuff by ‘doctors’ who are mad, bad and dangerous to know. They are more dangerous than the coronavirus to me mind. Social distancing from these con artists and cranks would be a very beneficial public health measure to my mind. The only saving grace they have is that they argue against consumption of highly processed foods like refined carbohydrates (though they are usually silent on processed meats).

    1. STFU!

      I disagree with your anti-Deb-ness. She is putting voice to things that many here feel or are unsure of being true? And (although I sometimes chastise him for it ‘-) Fumbles is a foil for mis-information or even pumping the brakes on good information.

      How can we de-bunk something if not brought to our attention?

    2. I think we all know enough to check any information we receive by other means.

      Trying to stifle conversation at a time like this is not the least bit helpful.

      Judging from your chosen moniker that may be all you’re here for.

      Please stop.

      Each entry here some merit, some usefulness.  Even if it eventually leads to a dead end.  It invokes new thought, which we need right now.

      1. Posting fake news doesn’t have any merit. It causes confusion and is misleading.

        It would be helpful if you stopped posting pseudoscientific claims from someone with a pseudo-doctorate..

        1. Posting fake news doesn’t have any merit. It causes confusion and is misleading.
          ———————————————————————————————————-
          Just because a claim is “scientific” doesn’t mean it isn’t fake news… what if you dissuade anyone from taking vitamin C for instance and one day doctors that pooh-pooh that now do a turn-around and say that vitamin C saved many lives.

          Your adherence to only years-long-science-proven evidence may actually be causing people to shy away from something that is prophylactic.

          Being the resident naysayer (unless it is in a DR Greger video or blog ‘-) I don’t expect you to consider the consequences of your actions. Nor do I ever expect you to admit when you are proven wrong.

          1. Jeeze, Lonie.

            Try providing some evidence to prove my statements wrong instead of just waffling on and engaging in industrial-grade wishful thinking.

            Just because somebody claims something you wish were true, it doesn’t mean that it must be true.

            Incidentally, talking of people with flexible attitudes to scientific evidence, YR has been surprisingly quiet lately. Any body know why?

            1. Try providing some evidence to prove my statements wrong instead of just waffling on and engaging in industrial-grade wishful thinking.
              ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
              This statement punctuates what I am complaining about… that is, your insistence that only *scientific evidence* is acceptable.

              Using the Vitamin C example, you discount the possibility that it might work because there is no evidence that is acceptable to you (while there are years and years of scientific evidence to others) that it works.

              Even a worst case scenario is that it is harmless, while a very good case is that it might save lives and suffering.

              A good de-bunker only chooses obvious (to just about anybody but the most gullible) memes to de-bunk, as mis-targeted subjects can have unintended consequences.

              1. More thoughts:

                didn’t I read somewhere you aren’t that concerned about getting Covid-19? If so, that could explain a lot… that perhaps it is not yet present in your location, so you don’t actually have a human connection with the virus and therefore are afforded the luxury of narrowing down your thinking to only a “proven-by-science” modality.

                I’m in a similar situation… that is, in the county where I live there are no confirmed cases of Covid-19. But reading the responses from people who are in places where there are cases (thanks Deb and others) I am more attuned to how someone in that situation is feeling. I also understand how they are interested in things that are being reported as working for others.

                I saw the President and Dr. Fauci having different opinions of a malarial drug being efficacious. The President is like the rest of us… hoping that this is that safe drug that can save lives. Fauci is like you… let’s spend a year or two testing to see if it proves out.

                I prefer to see someone in charge willing to try everything that has a smidgen of promise than someone slow and methodical like Fauci.

                In my eyes, you are Fauci-like. ‘-)

                1. Yes, I am not too bothered about covid. There has been at least one covid death in my neighbourhood though and more confirmed cases so your assumption that I have purely selfish reasons for that position

                  The reason is that when I was growing up, large numbers of people died of pneumonia. Nobody seemed too concerned about it then. -Even if the 2018 rate of pneumonia deaths doubled as a result of covid,, it still wouldn’t be anywhere near the rate back in 1960. I have lived a significant proportion of my life when death rates from pneumonia/ARDS were much, much higher than they are now even with covid 19

                  It seems to me that what covid does is mainly to bring forward the deaths of people with existing serious health problems/risk factors. That’s highly regrettable. but it’s not a threat on the level of the 1919 flu pandemic level.

                  Sorry if I ask for scientific evidence to disprove scientific statements on health and nutrition issues. I just don’t think that statements of personal opinion. wild speculation, testimonials or marketing hype by people selling stuff are credible evidence. Nor do I think that (YR’s) claims by medical mediums and by supposedly channelled supernatural entities make the cut either.

                  As for this bloke Richard (an unfortunate name for those familiar with British rhyming slang), he has repeatedly posted (deliberately?) false statements about the Chinese Government using vitamin C to fight covid 19 (FALSE), that vitamin C has been proven to fight covid 19 (false) etc . He has not acknowledged these ‘errors’ let alone apologised for them.

                  On the question of fast-tracking unproven drugs, most times this practice only benefits the bottom line of drug companies and seldom benefits patients. In fact, it may even harm patients because side effects/risks have not been adequately studied. I’d suggest reading Michael Moss’ book “Cancer Inc” for an insight into drug company practices (and President Trump’s favouring of the drug industry to the detriment of patients). it’s available free on line. It’s another reasons why I don’t share your optimism about high tech ‘targeted’ drugs. Although your investments in those companies may well be highly profitable.

                2. ‘In my eyes, you are Fauci-like. ‘-)’

                  Thanks Loni. i think that is a good thing. Would that make you Trump-like?

                  I got a bit distracted earlier and didn’t complete my first para

                  ‘….so your assumption that I have purely selfish reasons for that position isn’t correct (or at least not for the reason you put forward)’

                  i prefer to think of it as a rational assessment of the problem but I’ll settle for phlegmatism.

                3. As for this bloke Richard (an unfortunate name for those familiar with British rhyming slang), he has repeatedly posted (deliberately?) false statements about the Chinese Government using vitamin C to fight covid 19 (FALSE), that vitamin C has been proven to fight covid 19 (false) etc . He has not acknowledged these ‘errors’ let alone apologised for them.
                  ——————————————————————————————————————-
                  I’ve read the same statements as Richard… you discount when Drs in China are saying they truly are getting good results for shortening the time of the illness from the disease and are having good recovery numbers.

                  I’ve seen the knee-jerk responses that maybe the patients would have gotten better on their own and so forth. They sound like someone who made up their minds years ago rather than giving the doctors the benefit of the doubt. To be clear,

                  I’m not saying it is a viable treatment… but if I had the disease and was on death’s door (maybe sooner) I’d give it a try.
                  ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
                  ‘In my eyes, you are Fauci-like. ‘-)’

                  Thanks Loni. i think that is a good thing. Would that make you Trump-like?
                  —————————————————————————————————
                  In re this particular instance of trying anything to save lives… yes, that would make me Trump-like.
                  ______________________________________________________________________________
                  ‘….so your assumption that I have purely selfish reasons for that position isn’t correct
                  ———————————————————————————————————————————
                  I’m not calling your reasons selfish, just that they define why you are seemingly unconnected to people and rather stand off at a distance coldly observing things through your filters of what you believe are proven scientific facts (which often are de-bunked as inaccurate somewhere down the line. ‘-)

                4. See, Loni Your latest post is just another example of your usual waffle and wishful thinking dressed up as cod common sense. That’s just your MO I know but must you b so holier than thou about it and dismissive of anyone who demands evidence before believing extraordinary claims? Credulity is not a virtue. Nor is flakiness.

                  And just how do you know that “Drs in China are saying they truly are getting good results for shortening the time of the illness from the disease and are having good recovery numbers.”? Could you provide some evidence for that statement?

                  The only evidence I am aware of is the statement by Richard to that effect. This is the same bloke who claimed that the Chinese government is telling its citizens to take vitamin C supplements and using vitamin C to treat covid 19 patients. Both statements are utterly false. What rational person would choose to believe him now?

                5. but must you b so holier than thou about it and dismissive of anyone who demands evidence before believing extraordinary claims?
                  ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
                  Heh, I once spoke your name as Mr. MIDDLE FINGER because you seem bent on having that attitude toward everything … no matter if it is accepted by the people as being safe and effective. If there is just one negative study against, that seems to be the one you latch on to as being true. I normally just scroll by your posts as I’m not a fan of negativity for negativity’s sake.
                  __________________________________________________________________________________
                  The only evidence I am aware of is the statement by Richard to that effect. This is the same bloke who claimed that the Chinese government is telling its citizens to take vitamin C supplements and using vitamin C to treat covid 19 patients. Both statements are utterly false.
                  —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
                  Maybe you’ve shown proof that what Richard has stated is utterly false rather than just repeating it over and over like Herr Goebbels did from his propaganda ministry during WWII.

                  Like I said, I don’t read your posts unless addressed to me or if they show up in a back-and-forth with an individual, I may take a look to see if you are out of lane and require guiding back into your lane.

                  This is not the first time you have attacked… I remember you dismissing PHD David Sinclair, a Harvard researcher who is working on extending healthy life span… accusing him of being a charlatan who’s in it for the money. Granted, his recent book is (I think) a #1 best seller, so other than you, a lot of people seem to think his message is on point.

                  Sorry, not sorry Mr. MF. I can’t take your anti-everything not from DR Greger stance seriously. I’ve spent enough time with you. You have the last word if you wish to vent against yours truly. ‘-)

          1. I read this stuff when you first posted it. I also read it years ago when I followed the orthomolecular site.

            The claims are based on methodologically flawed studies. Those are the ones you link to. And on downright falsehoods about the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus For example, you claimed that China was using vitamin C to fight the coronavirus and telling its citizens to supplement with vitamin C. Those claims of yours are fake news ….. which is a more or less polite way of referring to lies.

            If people want to learn about vitamin C, they need accurate scientific information not the claims of some internet guru who bought his ‘doctorate’ from a diploma mill. It’s fake news from a fake doctor. I think it’s mischievous of you to continually repeat the claims of that individual here. Over and over again.

            if people want accurate scientific information, they should go to reputable sources not people who make false claims and have diploma mill ‘doctorates’

            https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
            https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C
            https://www.coronavirus.gov/
            https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/sites/lpi.oregonstate.edu/files/pdf/lpi_vitamin_c_special_statement_on_covid-19.pdf

            And factcheck
            https://www.factcheck.org/2020/02/fake-coronavirus-cures-part-3-vitamin-c-isnt-a-shield/

  21. Wow, never have I seen a more eloquent case for deleting most animal products from our diet. The issues of certain deficiencies that may arise from going vegan pale into insignificance when compared with the individual morbidities and the population-level diseases that arise from consuming animal products.

    1. I am laughing because I watched the video again and I must have subliminally picked up the “high-intensity growing methods” of the birds and I am ending up wanting to grow my greens that way.

      I wonder if there will end up being unnatural effects on the greens?

      1. Google or YouTube may have helped me.

        The computer brain trying to figure out what I am interested in and it came up with “high intensity growing for vegans” as a topic I might like.

    1. Deb,
      Mullein, often considered an opportunistic weed, can be used as a wipe and a lung expectorant when smoked. I’ve sometimes grown it as an ornament. It is a hardy plant.

  22. I’m very glad to hear Dr. Greger is going to talk about this very important issue.
    Thanks so much, Dr. Greger!
    May I provide my humble opinion for your reference.

    “Pea Protein May Help to Block Coronaviruses into Host Cells”

    The Virus Cannot Survive Alone Outside the Host Cell:
    After the virus enters the host cell, it uses the host cell’s machinery to replicate, and the replicated viruses will then spread to infect more organs, causing severe symptoms or even death.

    Novel Coronavirus’s Key to Entering Host Cells:
    Studies confirmed that both the novel coronavirus and SARS virus use the spike protein (S protein) on their outer envelop to connect to a receptor on the host cell membrane called ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) to get into the cell to replicate and infect the host. In other words, the coronavirus must have the key that can open the door to the cell in order to infect the human body, that key is the S protein.

    The Current Fastest Strategy for Treating Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia:
    is to use a soluble version of receptor ACE2 to neutralize the coronavirus, as proposed by Professor Kruse at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Encouragingly, recent studies found that ACE2 has high affinity for the S proteins on both the novel coronavirus and SARS virus. In vitro studies also show that soluble ACE2 can effectively block the novel coronavirus.

    ACE2 Can Also Treat Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome:
    In July 2005, Nature journal published a study reporting that ACE2 can protect mice from severe acute pulmonary edema and injury mimicking a SARS virus infection, establishing the key role ACE2 plays in preventing acute lung injury. Theoretically, ACE2 not only can block the entry of new coronavirus into human cells, it also has the potential to treat acute respiratory distress.

    Literature Shows Some Foods Can Significantly Increase ACE2:
    The good news is that several studies in the literature have shown that consuming pea protein hydrolysate or rapeseed peptides can increase ACE2 in the body and significantly reduce blood pressure within 2 weeks.

    Eating more peas can increase the amount of soluble ACE2 in the body, which can neutralize the viral spike proteins and block entry for the novel coronavirus into host cells, prevent infection and may help treat acute pulmonary edema. In addition, eating more vegetables, fruits, and drinking green tea can increase phytochemicals such as proanthocyanidins and catechins, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties to help fight lung inflammation.

    Figure. Pea protein hydrolysate can increase soluble ACE2 to block coronaviruses into host cells.

    References:
    1. M Hoffmann & H Kleine-Weber.: The novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) uses the SARS-coronavirus receptor ACE2 and the cellular protease TMPRSS2 for entry into target cells. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.01.31.929042
    2. Y Zhao, Z Zhao, Y Wang, et al.: Single-cell RNA expression profiling of ACE2, the putative receptor of Wuhan 2019-nCov. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.01.26.919985
    3. W Lin, L Hu, Y Zhang, et al.: Single-cell Analysis of ACE2 Expression in Human Kidneys and Bladders Reveals a Potential Route of 2019-nCoV Infection. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.08.939892
    4. H Zhang, Z Kang, H Gong, et al.: The digestive system is a potential route of 2019-nCov infection: a bioinformatics analysis based on single-cell transcriptomes. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.01.30.927806
    5. R L Kruse.: Therapeutic strategies in an outbreak scenario to treat the novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China. F1000Research 2020;9:72.
    https://f1000research.com/articles/9-72
    6. C Lei, WFu, K Qian, et al.: Potent neutralization of 2019 novel coronavirus by recombinant ACE2-Ig. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.01.929976
    7. W Li, MJ Moore, N Vasilieva, et al.: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 is a functional receptor for the SARS coronavirus. Nature 2003;426:450-454. DOI:10.1038/nature02145
    8. Y Imai1, K Kuba1, S Rao, et al.: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 protects from severe acute lung failure. Nature 2005;436:112-116. DOI:10.1038/nature03712
    9. R He, YJ Yang & Z Wang, et al.: Rapeseed protein-derived peptides, LY, RALP, and GHS, modulates key enzymes and intermediate products of renin–angiotensin system pathway in spontaneously hypertensive rat. J. Agri Food Chem 2011;59:9854-9860. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41538-018-0033-5
    10. H Fan, P Liu & W Liao.: Identification of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) up-regulating peptides. Journal of Functional Foods 2019;60:103395. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2019.05.051
    11. H Li, N Prairie, CC Udenigwe, et al.: Blood pressure lowering effect of a pea protein hydrolysate in hypertensive rats and humans. J Agric Food Chem 2011;59:9854-986. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf201911phttps://doi.org/10.1021/jf201911p
    12. J Wu, WLiao, C C Udenigwe.: Revisiting the mechanisms of ACE inhibitory peptides from food proteins. Trends in Food Science & Technology 2017;69(Part B):214-219.
    13. L Actis-GorettaJ, I Ottaviani & CG Fraga. Inhibition of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Activity by Flavanol-Rich Foods. J Agric Food Chem 2006;54:229-234. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf052263o
    14. Chen, H.; Du, Q.: Potential Natural Compounds for Preventing 2019-nCoV Infection. Preprints 2020, 2020010358. https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202001.0358/v1

    Thank you very much for your attention!

    1. Thanks very much, Dr. Hwa.  Very interesting and most appreciated.

      Does this blocking of the virus’ entry into cells negate the possibility of gaining immunity to the virus?

      1. Dear Richard:

        If no virus enters our cells at all, then our immune system will not response to the virus.

        If only small amount of viruses enter our cells, the advantages are not only not dying from serious pneumonia, but also getting immunity against the virus. Our immune system will produce IgM antibody first, and IgG antibody later.

  23. ‘There is a tremendous amount of misinformation on the internet and in social media. If someone offers you a product or advice for treatment or prevention of COVID-19, be skeptical and check to see what the reliable sources such as WHO and CDC recommend. For example,
    • There is no evidence that vitamin C will help to protect you from any infection unless you have a deficiency, and you can easily meet your requirements for vitamin C with ordinary foods such as oranges.
    • As of today, there is no evidence that higher air temperatures will kill the coronavirus. Influenza and colds tend to be seasonal, but we do not yet know if COVID-19 will diminish with warm weather.
    • Drinking water frequently or gargling will not reduce your chances for infection.
    • So far, there are no home test kits for COVID-19 that have been approved by the FDA.’
    https://www.drmirkin.com/health/morehealth/the-current-coronavirus-epidemic.html

    1. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3550308
      https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3556998
      https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2003/2003.05003.pdf

      There is evidence that coronavirus may be influenced by weather. Saying there is no evidence that higher air temps will kill coronavirus is strange as high enough air temps will most certainly kill coronavirus. But killing virus is not really the point. The important thing is whether weather changes will change the spread of the virus. Unknown but some studies suggesting it.

      But I also see a great deal of nonsense about the virus.

      1. If there was one thing the Chinese, the Italians, the Iranians, the Koreans and so on were not short of was Vitamin C from better produce than we get in North America.

        1. It’s very difficult for humans to get enough vitamin C from food.  Most of the animals make vitamin C in their livers all day long.  A goat the size of an average man makes 10,000 mg of C per day when he’s healthy.  And 100,000 mg when he’s sick.  Way more when he’s sick!  Hmm, must be important!

          Man has the mechanism to produce vitamin C in his liver too. Unfortunately, the last of four steps doesn’t work anymore, due to a genetic mutation in the past.  So man should probably make lots of C constantly too but can’t anymore.  And food only provides tiny amounts in comparison.

          Remember, 100,000 mg when sick!  That’s a lot.  But it works. Compared to man, goats hardly ever get sick.

          The documented uses for saving lives with large doses of vitamin C go back more than 80 years.

          Here’s just one recent life-saving development: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adYqbucF8M4

          There is a suggestion that as vitamin C finally starts seeing more widespread use the cost to the drug companies will be enormous.  Which may explain the active suppression of this information for so many decades.

          If you take vitamin C with every meal you greatly reduce your chances of adding to our dangerously clogged hospitals.

          This is just too important for words.  And vitamin C is too safe to give a second thought about not taking it.

          Please be part of the solution!

          Stay safe.

          1. Richard – Interestingly, Dr. G has done a number of videos on Vit C for various ailments, etc. One of the more interesting was how much VitC one could absorb with various administered amounts. It appears that the stomach lining allows only a certain amount to come into the system at any one time and the remainder discarded. The implication being that large bolus’ of Vit C may not do anything to help us. And perhaps smaller regular amounts may work better – who knows.
            The vegetable with the highest amount of Vit C that I’ve been able to find is not oranges (typically about 60 mgs). Bell peppers contain a very high Vit C value – 209mgs per whole medium pepper, about 314% of one’s daily value on a 2,000Kcal/day diet.
            This site will let one see various amounts of various nutrients:
            https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2896/2

            1. Oh my, please don’t say ‘who knows’.   We know!

              There is so much solid research about vitamin C use that it hurts.  Books.  Written by doctors that use it every day for their patients for decades.  Yes, much of the vitamin C we consume orally is lost in the digestive process.  So you have to take two or three times the amount you want to actually absorb.  This has proven to be not a problem at all!  After all, it’s cheap and very safe.

              To say that large doses ‘do nothing’ is simply and utterly wrong, and entirely refuted by the data.

              I assume you didn’t read my post about animals making 10s of thousands of milligrams in their livers, which our genetics suggests that we used to do the same.

              Vitamin C is natural.  Huge doses of C are natural.  (Though not absolutely necessary for life, fortunately.)

              Small doses like from your bell peppers are helpful.  But sometimes we need much more.  When the goat gets sick he makes upwards of 100,000 milligrams per day!  (In China they’re saving lives against the virus with similar amounts of C applied intravenously.  No digestive process in the way.)

              http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n07.shtml

              It’s true that the larger the dose of Vitamin C, the less is absorbed.  This is why doctors are using and suggesting ‘divided doses’.  Smaller doses every few hours, or even every few minutes when necessary help to work around that issue.

              That may be why the current suggestion from doctors for prevention is to take vitamin C with every meal.  That also helps to keep the level in your system up since Vitamin C is water soluble and passes somewhat quickly through the system.

              Be safe.

      2. This is your usual fake news.which you post over and over again.

        This carpet bombing of the website with the same false claims is irritating.

        Isn’t there some kind of comment etiquette rule which prohibits this seemingly endless repetition of the same (false) claim?

      3. Richard

        This carpet bombing of the site with false claim after false claim from your guru with the diploma mill ‘doctorate’ is simply tiresome

        1. Everything about what you say screams drug company disinformation.

          From referring to the Linus Pauling Institute to back your claims, when their site removed all of Paulings good information after the drug companies gave them massive research funding.

          To constant character assassination.  I cite works from lists of other doctors and you focus your scurrilous lies on the messenger.

          You folks have targeted vitamin C since before Linus Pauling wrote his seminal book about Cancer and Vitamin C.  You even fund various bogus research done to attempt to refute it.  Usually by replicating his work only with much smaller doses so it was sure not to work.  Or not just small doses, but pretending to replicate intravenous C by using only oral doses!  The summaries simply say it didn’t work, and few read beyond that.

          Too much evidence here.  You’re one of the many folks in the drug companies army that go out and water down conversations and move people away from talking about things that will cost them profits.

          You’re essentially helping to keep people sick and killing others for money.

          Linus Pauling was a genius, considered one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time.  When he learned about vitamin C he devoted his life to it.  Mostly because the message wasn’t getting out.  Because of people like you.

          Linus Pauling, is the only person to ever receive two unshared Nobel Prizes.  How many Nobels do you have?

          Linus wrote a number of good books, as did a number of other good doctors and researchers that your company is suppressing.

          People are getting sick and dying needlessly from this virus. Vitamin is a universal virus killer.  This is proven in the literature.   Proven by the works of dozens of doctors using it in their practices over lifetimes.   But there’s a lot of bogus ‘replications’ out there too, sadly.

          The more people that simply take some, preferably at every meal. The fewer deaths we will have now.  Please see that your mothers and fathers and grandparents are taking some.

          I’ve been following this issue for about 15 years and the disinformation is breathtaking.  It’s amazing what a few billion dollars can do.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRweBPHk1Go

          http://orthomolecular.org/

          1. You are obviously a starting handle even if you aren’t actually an item of fractured pottery. However, that doesn’t give you a licence to make false claims over and over again.

            Of course I am not employed by drug companies. That claim is evidence of your inability to address the evidence on vitamin C. Like all your kind, when confronted by the facts you resort to attempting to explain away all those scientific studies that refute your beliefs by blaming them on some massive global conspiracy. And then accuse people who point out that the claims you post are blatant falsehoods, of being agents of that self-same conspiracy.

            I take vitamin C myself when I have a cold but there are times when encountering people like you, that make me think that the C in vitamin C stands for charlatan, crank or crackpot.

            For your own sake, take time out for some self-reflection

      4. Give it a rest Richard.

        this is more of your fake news. There is no evidence that vitamin C will protect anyone from corona viruses.

      1. It seems like a very sensible analysis to me.

        Pneumonia has long been called ‘the old man’s friend’ for this reason ………………

        ‘A popular term for pneumonia in elderly Pts with strokes or other debilitating illness, which allows them the dignity of a quiet death, often while asleep.’
        https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/the+old+man%27s+friend

        Pneumonia is usually the result of bacterial infections but can be caused by viruses (or fungi) like covid-19.and influenza.

        i was born in 1950 and things like pneumonia (and TB, polio, measles, and even smallpox) were still notorious killers. In the US for example, there were 53.7 deaths per 100,000 from pneumonia in 1960. There are about 14 now. Even with covid-19, pneumonia deaths are unlikely to bring rates back to anywhere near 1960 levels.
        https://www.statista.com/statistics/184574/deaths-by-influenza-and-pneumonia-in-the-us-since-1950/

        Perhaps I am living in the past but I am left totally unmoved by all the current concern about covid 19 even though I have a number of risk factors ie male sex and over 65.

  24. Yep, megadoses of C is what they used in Shanghai. No one died! And most left the hospital a week early. That’s the early report. Still waiting for the paper.

    1. Yeah sure. You are the same guy who claimed the Chinese Government was telling its citizens to supplement with vitamin C and was using vitamin C as a first line response to the virus. Both claims are utterly false. Why should anyone believe you now?

      There is also a difference between IV vitamin C used as a medical treatment for pneumonia and vitamin C supplements for general prevention and treatment.of coronavirus infections

      ‘The Linus Pauling Institute is closely watching the clinical trials with intravenous (IV)
      vitamin C and COVID-19-related pneumonia with great interest. However, there currently
      are no available data to show vitamin C can prevent or successfully treat COVID-19
      infections. Once the trial data are available for review, the LPI will comment on the
      efficacy of IV vitamin C in COVID-19……………….., there are no data
      to suggest that vitamin C supplements can stop respiratory infections in the general population.*
      https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/sites/lpi.oregonstate.edu/files/pdf/lpi_vitamin_c_special_statement_on_covid-19.pdf

      1. Interesting that you point to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

        They have divorced themselves from almost all of Pauling’s findings since receiving large investments from the drug industry.  Hmm.

        Linus himself had said that Vitamin C would eventually cost the drug industry billions in lost revenue.

        I guess they’re not going to let that happen, are they?

        1. Sure.

          The evidence hasn’t substantiated Pauling’s more extreme statements about vitamin C. So that evidence must all be faked by Big Pharma.

          So let’s just claim Big Pharma provides buckets of cash to the LPI to misrepresent the science. No evidence necessary. After all, it would explain why the evidence and scientific assessments contradict your opinions. So the claim must be true. It’s more simple logic.

      2. If they are using IV vitamin C in a hospital setting, it is not for preventing infection or even for stopping or slowing viral replication. The mechanism of action of IV Vitamin C in the treatment of sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS} (which can result from many types of infections and even trauma) is the inhibition of the release of neutrophil extracellualr traps (NETS).

        I’m not interested in megadosing C for prevention, but I am very much interested in IV vitamin C therapy should I become infected and require hospitalization. I am hoping that the doctor I get is open minded and does not think that because it is not a $10k / dose mAb drug it couldn’t possibly work.

        If you want the research here is a talk at the Fralin Institute by a lead author of one study:
        https://youtu.be/HXs5Xzr6qCI

        A succinct review of the research by a pulmonologist:
        https://youtu.be/lYGoaW1gKQw

  25. Dear Dr Greger,

    As usual a very well set up presentation. It’s always such a joy to see and hear you talking.
    I’m looking forwards to see your presentation and book on Covid-19 and will point my Belgian government to the info you provide. I hope humanity will learn after this disaster but I’m afraid all stupidity will start all over when this has passed. I admire your work, your books and presentations are so valuable but not enough viewed trough out the world. More people are getting the message, I only hope in time.

    Warm greetings from Belgium and keep up the good work!

  26. Wow! This is so well researched, and well presented. I was absolutely clueless as to the causes of so many diseases to mankind, because of the domestication of animals – and, the treatment of animals in captivity! Thank you for this valuable information.

  27. This is a very informative video. And being a WPF person, myself, I see no need for any animal products, much less these animal factory farms where they put thousands of chickens into a large warehouse with no room to move. Same for the factory farms of pigs and cows.

    But is the same thing happening with the human animal as with the farm animals? All I see being built these days is apartment buildings and condo buildings where thousands of families are being crammed into very little spaces. There are very few single family dwellings being built and when they are built, they are about 15 ft apart with no land around them to speak of. It seems to me that this is putting a tremendous load on the infrastructure; water supply, sewage disposal, etc. Not to mention all the “trash” that humans generate. Will we start seeing new diseases pop up due to overcrowding of humans as well as other animals?

  28. When the twin towers were attacked we spent billions of dollars and sent first responders, peace keepers and soldiers to their deaths relentlessly and hatefully tracking down Bin Ladin.
    COVID-19 happens, smashing our economy, putting countries on hold for weeks/months, tens of thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have permanent lung damage, while essential workers put their lives on the line. We are so scared and mad yet the meat industry gets loyal investors gobbling down their product multiple times a day. Why don’t people hate this antagonist the same way?
    The evidence against industrial animal flesh production is getting unbearably obvious.
    I’m scared of and hate the cause of COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, SARS, MERS, The Flu, Measles, Small Pox, west Nile, Strep Suis, The Whooping Coigh, Typhoid Fever, Lepricy, H1N1, Bird Flu, Ebola, Mad Cow, Polio, etc……
    How many more pandemics can we take before we wake up and see the real enemy is our demand for more meat???I’m awake. When can we relentlessly take down this terrorist too?

    1. Things are changing.  This current crisis will help the change happen.  But it takes time.  Most of us were raised thinking meat was proper food.  Few things are more important to us than our food.

      Those of us who have the time need to continue to make inroads with others.  To teach people about the consequences of our choices.

      Don’t get upset.  Become as knowledgeable as you can, then spread the word.

      Thanks for caring.

    1. That’s one of the usual conspiracy theory explanations. Or fabrications.

      Much more likely is that it is a version of SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) contracted by humans eating bushmeat (chimpanzees, gorillas etc)

      ‘Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVs) is a species of retrovirus that cause persistent infections in at least 45 species of African non-human primates.[1][2] Based on analysis of strains found in four species of monkeys from Bioko Island, which was isolated from the mainland by rising sea levels about 11,000 years ago, it has been concluded that SIV has been present in monkeys and apes for at least 32,000 years, and probably much longer.[3][4]

      Virus strains from two of these primate species, SIVsmm in sooty mangabeys and SIVcpz in chimpanzees, are believed to have crossed the species barrier into humans, resulting in HIV-2 and HIV-1 respectively, the two human immunodeficiency viruses. The most likely route of transmission of HIV-1 to humans involves contact with the blood of chimps that are often hunted for bushmeat in Africa. Four subtypes of HIV-1 (M, N, O, and P) likely arose through four separate transmissions of SIV to humans, and the resulting HIV-1 group M strain most commonly infects people worldwide.[5][6] Therefore, it is theorized that SIV may have previously crossed the species barrier into human hosts multiple times throughout history, but it was not until recently, after the advent of modern transportation and global commuterism, that it finally took hold, spreading beyond localized decimations of a few individuals or single small tribal populations.’
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simian_immunodeficiency_virus

  29. Conclusive arguments. Switching to WFPB in 2015, in large part thanks to Dr G, reversed every disease I had. And I realize now that this is also the single most important thing I can do for the well being of the population and our planet. Dr G has long been my most trusted source in nutritional science. And he lived up to these high standards again.

    1. Dr. Greger is a national treasure.  I’ve been following him for a long time and have learned much and gotten healthier along the way!

      Secondary to WFPB (or perhaps equal to) is taking a simple Multi-vitamin and mineral supplement too.  I have too many friends adhering to a whole food, plant based diet and still having bad health issues as they get older.  Stroke and other things that shouldn’t be happening.

      My reading of the research says that lack of vitamins and minerals are often the problem.  And I’m finding so many ‘incurable’ diseases are being cured with them.

      Doctors are taught to eschew these nutrients.  If you end up in the hospital they will often take your vitamins away!

      Dr. Greger has gone a long way to rise above many of the illogical ideas he was taught in school.  But I think this one still persists.  It’s one thing to be a purist about something. It’s something else to not follow simple logic.

      Vitamins are incredibly safe.  And the RDA is absurdly low.  To adhere to this doctrine that says everything must come from food is simply not helpful or wise today.  Though it IS helpful, I think, for drug company profits.

      Please be healthy out there.  And look after your neighbors too in this troubling time.

      1. Some people’s ‘simple logic’ is too often simplistic logic. Look at the simple logic employed by paleo/keto/low carb gurus for example.

        Greger follows the evidence not simplistic logic. The evidence on these things are unclear. For example, this 2013 meta analysis of RCTs noted

        ‘Background: Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplement in the developed world. Recent epidemiologic findings suggest that multivitamin use increases the risk of mortality.
        ……………………………………….
        Across all studies, no effect of multivitamin-multimineral treatment on all-cause mortality (RR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.94, 1.02) was observed. There was a trend for a reduced risk of all-cause mortality across primary prevention trials (RR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.00). Multivitamin-multimineral treatment had no effect on mortality due to vascular causes (RR: 1.01; 95% CI: 0.93, 1.09) or cancer (RR: 0.96; 95% CI: 0.88, 1.04). No statistical evidence of heterogeneity or publication bias was observed.

        Conclusion: Multivitamin-multimineral treatment has no effect on mortality risk.’
        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23255568/

        1. Sure multivitamins are dangerous.  And the moon is made out of green cheese.

          Which drug company do you work for?

          The definition of the word vitamin is ‘essential for life’.

          How many people do you think you kill over time with your continued disinformation?

          As Dr. Greger points out there’s a lot of fake and misleading research out there.  And you seem to have your finger on all of it.  How much do you get paid to keep people sick?

          No conscience.  Very sad.  I guess there’s little protection against such things on a forum like this.

          I seen that the information suppression drones are out it force on this one:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adYqbucF8M4

          What do you have to say about that?

          As Linus Pauling said, the drug companies are suppressing this heavily because they know it’s too good.  Better than any of their poisonous drugs.

          For anyone else that’s still listening, take some vitamin C every day.  It will help keep you out of the hospital while this virus makes it’s rounds.  It’s safe, cheap and otherwise harmless.  (I suspect Mr. Goff will have something to say about that.)

          I’m not here for money.  But I’m pretty sure ‘Mr. Goff’ is.

          1. Sure I am a drug company shill …. for posting evidence that refutes the claims of cranks. QED.

            This is how cranks work – the evidence disproves their claims, so it must be faked. And anybody who refers to the evidence must be an agent of Big Pharma

          2. Incidentally, if all these wild claims were true and Big Pharma has been deliberately faking the evidence, wouldn’t we know about it by now?

            Western Big Pharma doesn’t control N. Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China, Russia etc. So, you’d think that in at least one of those countries heart disease, cancer, respiratory infections etc etc would all be history now – cured by megadoses of vitamin C or whatever. Well, it’s not happened because the claims of effectiveness are simply wrong.

            Why not just accept what the evidence shows instead of coming up with bizarre conspiracy theories to try to explain away the facts? And of spreading falsehoods about what the Chinese Govt is doing? That just reeks of desperation. In Saul’s case, he would have to get off the gravy train of course but surely that isn’t the case with you?

            1. All the data shows that Vitamin C saves lives with coronavirus and any other virus it’s ever been used against, and there have been lots of them.  Look at the works and life of Dr. Kenneth Robert Klenner.  He documented and even gave a talk before the AMA about having saved 60 patients from Polio with intravenous Vitamin C.  In the 1940’s before there was a vaccine available.  Polio is just another virus to Vitamin C.

              I’ve been studying this for a long time.  And taking large doses of Vitamin C myself for the last 6 years.  I seldom get sick anymore, except when I get behind in my doses.  No more allergies.  When I drink too much I don’t get drunk anymore!  I don’t drink anymore …  :-)   The couple times I’ve actually gotten the flu I just take more C every half hour or hour until the symptoms go away.  It’s that simple.  And the symptoms do just go away.  You can do the same thing with coronavirus!  And keep our hospitals free for those that need them!

              C is meant to be an integral part of our immune system.  But we, along with chimpanzees and a few others can’t make it in our livers any more due to broken genes.

              I have nothing to gain by spreading this information other than saving lives.  I’m just a retired programmer who’s been studying Vitamin C for a very long time.  And spreading the word.  My 95 year old mother takes 4,000gm per day and is very healthy.  She just renewed her drivers license, and takes care of her house mostly by herself, just the way she likes it.

              I found it very interesting that you, Tom Goff, did not respond at all to the video about Sepsis and Vitamin C, where the nurses were raving about how unbelievably well Vitamin C worked to cure sepsis time after time.  One of the most deadly diseases.  No response from you at all.

              My little sister died of sepsis, so I’m pretty sensitive to the issue.  She’d probably still be alive today if the drug companies were hiding this information from today’s doctors.

              I’m sure the drug companies are working on minimizing the ‘damage’ that video has created for them.

              Vitamin C is a truly amazing, yet simple substance that could be keeping people out of the hospital, and curing those that are there now in this crisis.  If only the drug companies didn’t have other plans for all of us.  Keeping us all sick makes them more money.

              For other gentle readers, please look into the works of folks like Linus Pauling, Dr. Thomas Levy, Dr. Frederick Klenner, Irwin Stone, Dr. William Kaufman, Dr. Huge Riordan, Dr. Abram Hoffer and a long list of others.

              There are lots of good doctors out there.  But they all start out being taught by the drug companies.  They fund the schools and dictate the curriculum and books.  Thus all new doctors are told vitamins are dangerous.  Only the best doctors, like Dr. Greger continue to reach out and ask questions, rising far above their original training.

              There are doctors out there that advertise offering intravenous vitamin C for when you need it.  Hepatitus, pneumonia, tetanus, encephalitis,  and a long list of others.  Those are the kind of doctors that can help you get and stay healthy.  Doctors that prescribe drugs just keep you coming back.  Better business model for them and the drug companies, but a lousy situation for their patients.

              Stay healthy and be safe.  And keep a close eye on this Tom Goff turd.  He clearly values his money over your life.

              http://vitamincfoundation.org/stone/

              http://doctoryourself.com/vitaminc.html

              1. The science shows that the claims of fake news purveyors are at best overblown and at worst simply lies

                Present the evidence to them, though, and they respond with links to websites run by people with fake ‘doctorates’ that rely on old, poorly designed studies And they also cite old sensational books etc by the small number of people with similar views, that have not been validated by modern scientific studies.. \ Anyone can write a book or post a dodgy YouTube video.. What does the peer reviewed scientific evidence show is a far more important question than what do a few sensational books or videos claim.

                Point out that the claims they make about the Chinese Government using vitamin C to fight the coronavirus are false and expect a torrent of personal abuse. Then there are the inevitable conspiracy theories to explain why scientific studies fail to confirm their beliefs.. .Standard operating procedure for this type of person of course.

                It hardly needs repeating but ignore fake news and crank claims on social media and stick to reputable sources of scientific information like the WHO, CDC and government health authorities eg

                https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1
                https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?

                1. Fumbles, the constant flooding of text by a few individuals on here has gotten to the point of being overwhelming. I don’t know why they don’t open up a word program or notepad, and text away to their hearts’ content instead of burdening us with nuisance posting.
                  I feel NF has really dropped the ball on this aspect of the site. I really wish people would be more considerate of others.

                  1. Thanks Barb.

                    NF is very tolerant of posts by people with very strongly held unorthodox views and counsels us just to ignore them. My concern is that some people may think such claims are correct if no-one takes the trouble to present the facts. In other words, there is a danger that their claims will be accepted by default.

                    In the current situation though, I agree with you, that NF might usefully review its policy of tolerating fake news. The corona virus pandemic changes things. it wouldn’t be so bad if Richard just posted this stuff once or twice. We could live with that. But he posts it over and over again.

        2. Some people’s ‘simple logic’ is too often simplistic logic.
          ——————————————————————————-
          But sometimes simple/simplistic logic gets it right… demanding the science be followed can lead to one paying the price:

          Your DUCK IS DEAD

          A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.

          After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, “I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”

          The distressed woman wailed, “Are you sure?”

          “Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead,” replied the vet..

          “How can you be so sure?” she protested.. “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”

          The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

          The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

          The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

          The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman..

          The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “$1,500!” she cried,”$1,500 just to tell me my duck is dead!”

          The vet shrugged, “I’m sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it’s now $1,500.”

          1. Thanks Lonie. An oldie but a goodie.

            And sometimes simple logic tells us that humans can’t fly, and heavier than air flight is impossible. Isn’t that why we have to test?

            Also, simple logic is often only as good as its starting assumptions. And it’s simple because it ignores a whole range of possibly relevant variables.

  30. I hold DR Greger in even greater esteem after watching this video. The more people who see this presentation, the more people we have thinking about it and working on ways to solve how we break the chain of disease.

    I remember reading that science had apparently found a universal treatment for disease in the early 2000s, by attacking it through the spike that was seemingly the same Achilles heel for most all these types of disease. Apparently that didn’t pan out as I never heard of that again.

    1. Lonie,

      Yes, it is such a good presentation.

      And, for all of the Covid-19 information out there, I haven’t seen many presentations giving this type of historical data but none of the people have talked about the age of emerging plagues.

  31. Crikey, prophetic or what?!!! Clearly nobody took the slightest bit of notice about preparedness. Horse, stable, door, bolted!

    1. Elaine,

      From this time forward, in my life, whenever there is a novel virus any place in the world, that is when it is time to start backing away from people and making sure you have months worth of supplies.

      The more people I talk to, the more people think they and their loved ones might have had it – several of them think they had it around Thanksgiving.

      It makes sense to me that they might have.

      It took time for China to process the information and, while that information was being processed, people were traveling all around the world.

      That has to be how it happens every time.

      I didn’t do that poorly at preparation this time, but I only had a few months worth of supplies and I started following it last year and I had too much to learn and didn’t have a sense that I would use up my supplies and would be dealing with the reality of people panic buying and would end up out shopping when the risk was higher.

      I actually should have known better because Australia had panic-bought toilet paper – and maybe because I had enough toilet paper I didn’t know that it was going to be everything under the sun that would be panic-bought.

      I had already shifted over to ordering a steam cleaner and a UV sanitizer, but, at work, those weren’t workable because we needed to be able to deal with every time people come in and out and touch door handles and everything else, so I am starting to run low on wipes at work, but I still have some, just not enough and, again, I am going to end up having to go out when many more people will be testing positive.

      I take this as something to learn from.

      I know now that I need to be prepared with things like how to have greens if it lasts for months.

      I am believing it will be like the flu and will be no longer an issue in the Summer or that we will have herd immunity, but this will change things for me.

      I will spend these months learning how to grow broccoli sprouts and microgreens and how to do high-intensity container gardening and other things like that.

      I have been looking at storing dehydrated potatoes, but now I am comparing that to buying a few seed potatoes. 4 or 5 seed potatoes can yield 10 pounds of potatoes. It is messier, but it is another way to do it and doesn’t require storage space.

      The internet is filled with people with concepts of how to do things.

      I am going to take advantage of this time and learn each way so I can process through what to do next time.

      I had already known that I needed to figure out a way to lower the cost of buying food and I think learning all of this will help me with that eventually.

      It takes a lot of time to learn and then it takes time to implement.

      That is why people aren’t prepared.

      1. All winter I had been saying, “Everybody keeps getting sick this year” and it was often fevers and dry coughs and GI problems starting from November. I know that there was also the flu, but the people around me got sick 3 or 4 times and for each of them one of those sick times had the COVID-19 symptoms.

        Mentally, we need to get prepared when the people around us are getting sick or when there is a virus anywhere in the world.

        The other thing I didn’t consider was that I would end up giving wipes and toilet paper and things to other people. I need to plan way ahead with a margin.

        And, yes, I will not panic buy and cause shortages and I didn’t do that.

        I prepped starting in November, but it took me until March to figure it all out.

  32. I’d like to plant an idea-seed with this WFPB community.
    I am going to send a link of this presentation to my local Public Television station as well as my local over-the-air stations. Given the interest in pandemics right now and the need for better understanding, I am hoping that they will consider airing this presentation to the general public. I am hoping that Dr. G and/or his group will give their permission to allow the public airing of this most valuable information.

    If we all, on this site, ask our public television stations to consider airing this, it may help to educate the public.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the initiative, Ruth.  I will do the same for my area.

      Wonderful idea.

      Hopefully others will consider following suite.

  33. EXCELLENT VIDEO. I cannot say enough good things about this video – absolutely true; and so timely. This current Covid-19 Pandemic has brought about many theories as to its origin … but one thing is for certain: animals (through no fault of their own) can be the major- if not the sole derivative – to propel these outbreaks. Of course this is due to human beings. I think of the famous quote by Ghandi:
    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.”

  34. I found this absolutely fascinating but I don’t see how this theory of mass chicken/animal production explains the present Covid19 pandemic. Did I miss something? Scientists say that the SARS-CoV-2 differs to other coronaviruses and mostly resembles related viruses found in bats and pangolins.

    1. Kurious – this Covid pandemic began in a live-animal market in Wuhan, China. The animals are housed in crowded cages where the virus can propagate and then jump easily to humans.

    2. Hi Kurious – This video is from 12 years ago as a background to what we are seeing today. The COVID-19 info is being researched now and will be out through the upcoming webinar and also on the site as soon as possible. Hope that helps clarify!

  35. Great talk back in 2008! A year earlier, a study called the corona virus a time bomb: “A large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals, is a time bomb.”
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2176051/

    The situation didn’t get better since. E.g. Antibiotic resistance in food animals nearly tripled since 2000:
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191009132321.htm

    I wanted to point an important contributor. It’s not only that the amount of factory farms and drugs have increases. It’s also that we have been inbreeding animals for decades on a massive scale.

    It was Robert Bakewell who noticed in the 17th century that we can control how animals look like by forced inbreeding. Before Bakewell, inbreeding was a taboo and rarely practised except in emergencies or royalty. There were no “breeds”, only naturally evolved races. When we introduced “artificial insemination” (aka real rape) after WWII in the name of the green revolution, a single bull could father the children, of his children, of his children… 60,000 children at a time. The result is called inbreeding depression aka the worst and weakest immune systems the earth has seen.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inbreeding_depression

    Needless to say, it’s one thing to put thousands or millions of animals in concentration camps, it’s quite another when all of their immune systems are genetically very weak. Today, this doesn’t bother farmers and consumers, because we have learned how to kill animals before they grow up. Due to genetic manipulation, pigs and hens grows so fast that we can kill them as children. Their weak immune system is balanced by antibiotics. Nobody cares. Even dog “lovers” who get “bred” dogs, don’t really care about the health of their loved ones. But inbreeding depression will catch up to us all sooner or later in ways we cannot imagine. It speeds up the emergence of new viruses and superbugs.

    Similarly, hunting has let to genetic depression of the few wild animals that are left. Only 4% of all mammals live in the wild and only 30% of all birds are free. But those we hunt all over the world. How do we hunt? In contrast to carnivorous animals who kill the young and weak, we go after the big, strong adult animals. In other words, we reverse natural selection. Those who have proven to be fit for life, we kill. When humans hunt (or fish), the gene pool deteriorates instead of improving.

    If we could learn to end slavery, rape and forced inbreeding, we could learn to live happy and healthy lifes.

  36. I heard that GM will be coming out with 100,000 ventilators over the next 100 days.

    A little bit late, but the hospitals will be ready for next time.

  37. Tesla is making ventilators, too, and no matter what type Tesla makes, that is the one I am going to want to see.

    Wondering if it will drive itself over to the patient?

    Dyson is making new types already.

    Boy, ventilators are about to change design several times over.

  38. I’m sorry, but I am going to ask this here instead of watching the entire video again. I don’t understand how an avian flu like the one in 2015 that caused millions of chickens to be killed actually starts in a factory farm. I saw the video explain how it could go from wildlife to farm raised in an open air market, but how does it initially get into a factory farm. Again, understanding how it can get out via ventilation, etc. Been investigating on the Google, but can only get how deplorable conditions allow it to propagate within the farm, not how it starts.

      1. Thank you for your response. I actually had read this as one of my Google results prior to my question. But I still don’t think it is answering my question. Yes, it fully describes why and how it spreads so quickly once it starts. But not how it actually starts. How did that first virus organism get into the housing? How did it start? How did the first chicken or the first dozen chickens get if if they all sheltered away from the outside wildlife. Was it brought in by workers, the ventilation system (although I would have thought that was blowing air outside only)?

        1. A significant part of the human body consists of viruses (known as the human virome). Chickens will also have a virome although I haven’t seen anything on this.

          Viruses mutate naturally. A rare mutation to an existing virus that is infectious can easily spread when animals are confined closely together. Chicken farms are breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. Most are harmless but a few will be dangerous (to humans).

  39. I have been thinking about the ventilator situation and, honestly, I tried to do the math that we might need 900,000+ ventilators and have 200,000+ ventilators and might get 100,000 more over the next 90 days.

    It seems like retrofitting the 200,000 ventilators to take 2 patients each, like the hospitals around me are trying to do is more efficient.

    200,000 goes to 400,000 quickly and they don’t need to manufacture everything, just retrofit.

    Obviously I am not an expert. It just seems like retrofitting, plus, adding is the way to go.

    1. Serving two patients with one ventilator is war-time makeshift. Really not something you want to do if you can at all help it.

      Ventilators have various patient specific parameters you can’t address with two patients on one.  You can only split the difference.  There are very ill patients we’re talking about.  Not the best idea.

  40. Hi all,
    I dug through all the NutritionFacts videos looking for ways to enhance my family’s immune system against COVID-19. Of course, eating a healthy plant-based diet is itself great protection. But the specific items that stood out to me were wakame seaweed, raw garlic, nutritional yeast, green tea, and amla. We increased our green tea consumption and were already supplementing with amla. For the other three I came up with this recipe twist on guacamole I wanted to share with the community. I hope you like it. Best wishes! (P.S. if there’s a better place to post this, please let me know).

    Inoc-amole!
    1 avocado
    Juice of 1 lime
    2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
    Fresh ground black pepper to taste
    2 g (approximately 1 tsp) ground or powdered wakame seaweed per person
    1 tsp nutritional yeast per person
    1/2 clove garlic minimum per person
    Salt not needed due to saltiness of seaweed

    Mash, mix, split evenly and eat with chips or toast.

    If you need to conserve your avocados, use up to 3 doses per half avocado.

  41. A fascinating review of how factory farming, the wildlife trade and the world’s insatiable appetite for animal protein has given us AIDS, SARS, Ebola, influenza and now, coronavirus.

  42. A pre-question for Dr. Greger.

    The South Korean head of their COVID-19 treatment said that people get it back after a few weeks? South Korea has the best results in their process so far, so I take this man seriously, but he is saying they get it back.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAk7aX5hksU

    I ask because I can look at my sister-in-law who did get pneumonia and her husband, and my 9-year-old pal and her friend have had the symptoms multiple times since November. I know that it is not in the timeline of COVID-19, and I am probably paranoid, but I have been talking about how sick everybody around me has been getting over and over again for months.

    Well, they are all healthy and quarantined right now, but the “get it back” part is my question.

  43. Thank-you Doctor for a very persuasive presentation on the history and causes of the acceleration of the existence of harmful viruses that we are plagued with in today’s world. I very much look forward to seeing more of the science and evidence in your updated upcoming video that must be available in the 12 years since this video! How frustrating it is that so little progress has been made on changing these horrific animal conditions. I do hope it will be a little less graphic And gruesome as I did not see the cautionary note in that regard until after I’ld seen the video. Perhaps it’s a blessing that the Covid-19 virus is not as deadly as some of the bird flus that perhaps we will be able to make the necessary changes to animal and indeed people’s overcrowding environmental conditions like NY city (similar to the train box car troop transport in the 1918 epidemic) where viruses are spread more rapidly, before it will be too late to avert an even more deadly virus than our present situation. It’s great that the social distancing is happening fairly well from what I’ve seen locally, although there is still considerable denial out there of some who aren’t complying sufficiently, certainly making the case for a 90 day food stockpile for shelter-in-place scenario. If we do manage to “flatten the curve” wouldn’t that actually be more like an 180 day shelter in place extending out the time period for extinction of the harmful virus? China seems to have gotten to the herd immunity in ~ 90 days but they applied much more draconian measures like locking down the origination site and quarantine those who came in contact with the virus at ground zero, and also blocking borders from reinfection, little of which the US is doing! Thank you!!!

    1. D.E.,

      Yes, I am interested to see what happens now that China is back to work.

      They did a process that no politician would ever do.

      The thing about how deadly it is, there are places that took too long to close down and those places have such a high death rate that we don’t know how deadly COVID-19 is yet.

      Maybe someone in a lab knows.

      But Dr. Lisle said in an interview that he thinks that it will be closer to a tenth of a percent and he said that his colleague thinks it will be closer to 1%.

      I am thinking, if we hadn’t done this major shut-down already we could have had millions of people die and maybe because of how many restrictions there are and how that will flatten the curve, we will only have thousands of people die.

      States like NY where the politicians asked people to keep going to parades and restaurants and to not stop gathering are ones that will show us just a glimpse of how bad it could have been and they are shut down now, so we won’t know the worst-case scenario.

      We could have had millions of people needing respirators and only 200,000 in the USA.

      Flattening the curve has allowed the production of new ventilators to come out and has allowed masks for the doctors.

      24/7 those are being worked on.

      If we hadn’t shut down, we would be facing such dire outcomes already this week.

  44. It’s so incredible to me that in the old testament of the bible, there was a story where God fed the people by sending them down manna (a heavenly bread), but the people demanded quail. So God gave them quail but with it came pestilence.

    1. S,

      Yes, that is what I have thought about many times. Biblically, when God wanted to take the diseases off of the people, he removed the eating of meat and instituted fasting and eating plant food.

  45. I may have missed something. Dr. Greger seemed to be saying humans were the only animals on earth with no viruses 10,000 years ago. I’d be interested in learning how cows and the others got them.

  46. This video from 10 years ago is prophetic of our pandemic now. Why doesn’t the public realize that these diseases began with domesticating and eating animals? I am vegan, thanks to you, but I was unaware of these diseases originating from unhealthy breeding of pigs, camels, chickens, etc.. Dr. Greger, please get this info out to the mass public. Now, the main emergency is to save as many lives as possible. But you need to get on CNN, MSNBC, etc., to inform the public about the origin of these diseases. Maybe now, that we are in trouble with a global pandemic, the public will finally listen to you.

  47. Thanks Dr Greger. I am using your video to help make the case that politicians and local planners in my locality (West Suffolk, UK) should stop granting planning permission for the construction of new chicken-rearing sheds.

    1. Louis,
      Looking forward to hearing of your success !! Thanks for spreading the word on how we landed in this situation.

      Keep asking them how they can insure the health of the neighborhood and do they have mulit-zillions of dollars of insurance ( Both those granted permission and the town council ? especially now that your testimony will be on the record)

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

  48. I woke up and the ventilator news changes daily.

    It looks like no matter what the fact that the people who make them can’t get parts and GM has pushed their delivery concept out to the summer, social isolation is the only real concept.

    South Korea and China showed that it can work pretty fast.

    We can’t ramp up fast enough and couldn’t have possibly ramped up even if we had started in January.

    The nations that make the spare parts aren’t shipping them.

    Back in January and February, NY politicians said to keep gathering because the risks were low and that they were highly prepared.

    They still don’t want to be quarantined.

    Trump couldn’t have gotten 30,000 ventilators made even if he started last year.

    Social isolation is the only option.

    1. I am not political about it all but when the NY politicians know that we can only manufacture hundreds of ventilators working 24/7 and they ask for 30,000 and GM couldn’t even do that, NY lied about being prepared and might as well be asking for a Bazillion ventilators instead of doing what it takes to flatten the curve. And, yes, Trump did the exact same downplaying that NY did but the press will push for drama rather than saying, “your life depends on socially isolating” is all we can say.

    2. If you look on Youtube there are a zillion folks working on the ventilator problem around the globe.

      Some folks in India appear to have already been using some small, cheap, portable units run by cell phones …

      Apparently, the super-expensive industrial models are far from the only way …

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgAR4yWDsg0

      That’s just one of many …

      Necessity is the mother of invention.

  49. I’d like a copy of the 21 tweaks but it’s not printable
    I would also like a copy of the info on the daily dozen such as weight grams or cups he recommends for food item

    The basic daily dozen is printable but not the sub categories

    I have also donated. And thank you for what your doing

  50. Someone in Dr. Campbell’s comment section put my favorite quote from the pandemic.

    “How to defend your country:
    1940: Storm the beaches dodging bullets and bombs. Done.
    2020: Lounge around in pajamas all day watching TV. Toooo hard!”

  51. We sent this on to a friend whose only comments were, “I’m never not going to eat meat!” and “He’s financed by anti-meat industries…” – well, we were primarily sharing the virus info, but she locked on to the two things she thought they could comment on. That brings on one question for me:

    How is all of this financed? I’ve sent a contribution after getting my “How Not To Diet” book, but it sure wasn’t enough to pay for all the research and production that goes into the videos. Is this information available someplace?

    Overall, EXCELLENT presentation and information – both here and all the Youtubes. Please keep it up, and I’m glad to see that in the 10 years since this presentation, the WFPB diet has helped Dr. Greger, too!

  52. OMG! Talk about fulfillment of a “prophecy!” I had chills, especially at the end when he was highlighting the fact that in 2007 the CDC compiled the resources about a flu pandemic, that included needing to shelter in place for up to 90 days per wave. 13 years ago! And it was interesting to see how much Dr. Greger has changed, in a good way. Check out his chubby belly and cheeks. And he talked and moved so much more slowly.

    1. Lonie,

      I don’t know what to say about that.

      I am still shell-shocked that the doctors don’t have masks.

      Plus, I read something that I am hoping is a scam saying that China did a successful double-lung transplant and that uncovered that they are doing forced organ transplants.

      They said that if you can pay, you can get an organ transplant scheduled in China and that the wait time can be 2 weeks versus waiting for people to die here.

      I honestly feel sick about the world.

      I hope it is a scam but they have a whole lot of organ transplants performed and yet almost nobody in China is registered as organ donors. Well, this is all officially too much for me. I don’t even understand concepts like that.

      https://www.theepochtimes.com/lung-transplant-for-virus-patient-in-china-tips-ccps-hand_3284336.html

  53. There is a documentary called, “Davids and Goliath,” about organ harvesting from live prisoners of conscience. The film won best documentary at the Hamilton Film Festival in Canada on Nov. 9, 2014.

    Yikes.

    There are times that I genuinely can’t handle the truth and yet we have to, but if they are doing that to people, it is surprising that they agreed to stop allowing people to eat wild animals at those markets and if they treat people like that, who will convince them not to do the high-intensity animal farms.

    Reduced to tears. Praying.

    1. Reduced to tears. Praying.
      —————————————
      Deb, you are misusing the Internet by doing negative searches… this will affect your ability to deal with Covid-19 should you contract it.

      Look for cures… not fails.

      1. Lonie,

        I am not doing negative searches.

        I am looking probably at both sides because both sides appear on my YouTube and Google searches because it is all so political and I try not to be.

        I was just looking at the new 5-minute test and what surprised me is that they said that the old test by the CDC was only 30% to 50% accurate.

        It will be interesting to see what happens when the new tests start rolling out.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDUgfMTlmyE

        I was listening to Trump talk about the new hospitals and mobilization efforts. All of that is genuinely inspiring.

        So there is a balance.

  54. I didn’t know that viruses are relatively new to mankind. I have been wondering why we have to deal with all these viruses (cold, flu, ebola), and why bats and other animals spread such terrible disease.

    Well, it turns out we don’t have to live with these viruses because we are causing them. This isn’t well known. After researching COVID-19 I was under the impression that we are displacing animals and uncovering new diseases due to our growth. That isn’t the full story.

    How we treat animals and the earth will determine our future. When will we wake up and see this? Let’s address climate change, treat animals humanely, eat less meat, and treat the earth well.

    1. Kristen,  this is why we have an immune system.  Our bodies develop immunity to these things and we go on living.  Mothers pass their immunity on to their children (assuming they don’t give birth by C-section.)  Humans have a huge shared internal database of disease couple with the ability to create antibodies against any invaders when they arrive.

      It may sound icky, but we live in a sea of bacteria and other microbes.  Many of them are helpful.  Some are not.

      We’re still not doing the best we can to understand and support our immune systems.  Dr. Greger certainly offers a lot of great guidance.  But we need to learn more and do more, and stop poisoning our environment.  We need to say no to our doctors when they suggest antibiotics without good proven cause.  Stop putting bad stuff on our skin and in our bodies.  We need to be more careful and more discerning.

      There are essentially two factors to health: intake of nutrients and avoidance (and removal) of toxins.  Pay close attention to these factors and you and your family will live longer and healthier lives.

      And smile more.  Stress is also toxic.  It’s good the deal with issues when they come up.  But do not spend a whole day frowning. It’s not healthy.

    1. Thanks, Deb.  Helpful.

      If anyone wants additional information about the Vitamin C protocol I posted about earlier, without the constant interruptions from the attack trolls, please feel free to contact me at:

      *    richard888x@gmail.com*

      This is real, simple, cheap, and safe stuff that’s easy to do and important to know.

      I just watched a video from 60 minutes Australia that showed that some COVID survivors were left with permanent lung damage.  This is all the more reason to catch things as early as possible, which the Vitamin C protocol will do.

      I’m not making any money from this.  Just very concerned that it’s not getting out.  We all need to work together right now. I’ve spent over a decade studying this stuff and using it.  And the dozens of doctors I’ve followed have spent most of their lives working on it.  I’m not a doctor myself.

      Richard

      https://nypost.com/2020/03/24/new-york-hospitals-treating-coronavirus-patients-with-vitamin-c/

      Please be safe.

      1. I just watched a video from 60 minutes Australia that showed that some COVID survivors were left with permanent lung damage. This is all the more reason to catch things as early as possible, which the Vitamin C protocol will do.
        —————————————————————————————————————————–
        I thought this might be a good place to add that losing one’s sense of smell due to a virus have an avenue to treat that with A-Lipoic Acid. (Personally I take R-Lipoic Acid as it has the natural chirality while A-Lipoic Acid is synthetic. They didn’t mention R-Lipoic Acid in the study below so I can’t say unequivocally that it has the same effect.

        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12439184/?from_term=Anosmia+virus&from_page=6&from_pos=6

          1. The NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements and the Linus Pauling Institute are better, safer and more reliable sources of information than some individual promoting his own beliefs via a self-published book.

            Note also that despite your allegations (unsubstantiated of course, like all your other claims) that the LPI is funded by Big Pharma to trash supplements, its funding apparently comes from the NIH

            https://ods.od.nih.gov/
            https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic
            https://research.oregonstate.edu/department-health-and-human-services

      2. A good link at last. Note that that article is about treatment of people with diagnosed covid-19. It is not about prevention and for influenza patients at least

        ‘ Among patients with sepsis and ARDS, patients in the high-dose vitamin group did not show a better prognosis and other clinical outcomes.’
        https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04264533

  55. If you only watch one of those, this is the one.

    It shows things like what happens if people wash their hands more and what happens if they go to the grocery store 1/5 of what they used to and what happens if 10% of the people cheat at social distancing.

    I found it so empowering. Of course, I have stopped going to the grocery store now altogether, which looks beautiful in the visual models.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxAaO2rsdIs

  56. BTW, the virus that Greger mentions regarding Argentina is the “Argentinian mammarenavirus, better known as the Junin virus or Junín virus (JUNV)”.

    (It doesn’t show up in the subtitles.)

  57. There are a lot of companies doing 3-D face masks and face shields.

    The shields seem like a good idea.

    https://combatingcovid.com/

    If you google face shields, it is as if there is a company from every state making them.

    That is so exciting. People are mobilizing so quickly.

      1. Okay, I am going to give Trump props for mobilization of industry. There are so many good things.

        He didn’t take it seriously enough at the beginning but neither did anybody else.

        His building hospitals in days and his relationship with the public sector will save lives.

        Someone asked why he didn’t start in January and impeachment trials is an answer. Not one politician in the USA was thinking about it.

        Dr Campbell was holding Q&A’s in October, but nobody here was mobilizing except the preppers.

      2. Deb.
        Fabric (T-shirt) is a low cost way for protection in the construction industry. Respirators are better and the replacement cartridges are expensive. Fabric can be reused after washing.

        1. Yes although fabric only keeps out dust and grit. They are still permeable to viruses and fumes/gases.etc

          But, as you say, better than nothing.

    1. Yes, they went back 50 years to a time when all vegetable oils and spreads (margarines etc) were routinely hydrogenated and consequently contained very high levels of trans fats.

      Nobody really knew about trans fats in those days and never bothered measuring them. They were just described as linoleic acid-containing oils etc.

      We know now (but didn’t then) that trans fats are even more unhealthy than the saturated fats found in butter.

      The same team pulled the same trick with another 50 year old study, performed in Sydney, Australia, to again generate headlines that vegetable oils are worse than butter.

      It’s quite untrue of course because vegetable oils in Western countries these days are not hydrogenated and they are a lot less unhealthy than butter. That’s why these people had to go back 50 years to find studies that would support an argument that saturated fat is ‘healthier’ than vegetable oils. Modern studies completely refute such beliefs. You might want to look at the scientific advisory from the AHA on dietary fats and cardiovascular disease:

      ‘Clinical trials that used polyunsaturated fat to replace saturated fat reduced the incidence of CVD.9,10 In contrast, trials that used mainly carbohydrates to replace saturated fat did not reduce CVD. However, the types of carbohydrate-containing foods were often unspecified and typically included sugar and other refined carbohydrates to maintain energy balance. Evidence from prospective observational studies indicates that carbohydrates from whole grains reduce CVD when they replace saturated fat.18’
      https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510

      That said, oils are simply liquid fats while butter, lard etc are hard fats. None of them are really heart healthy but non hydrogenated oils appear to cause less CVD than saturated fats

      1. It is important to note that trans fats today are mainly found in butter and beef. After the trans fat laws of 2009, artificially produced veg trans fats have been reduced. So much that butter now has 20 time more trans fat than margarine:
        https://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2010/09/28/heart-foundation-butter-has-20-times-the-trans-fats-of-marg.html

        But trans fats can also be found in vegan whole wheat bread. In the US, many trans fats such as DATEM, Mono- and- Diglycerides don’t have to be on labels.

        The main problem with trans fats is that they block the production of DHA by the body.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1606388
        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0024320504000530

        No wonder that many people consider taking additional DHA but it’s not the right step imo. I’m surprised that most omega 3 studies don’t look at things like PUFA and trans fat intake – without it, the studies are worthless (as if one did a salt study without looking at potasium)?

        A bad n-3:n-6 ratio can also harm us. Another invention of the last century, refined PUFA cooking oils has now become too big to fail. One teaspoon of sunflower oil and you get more n-6 fats than you can balance with n-3 flaxseeds. These artificial oils are everywhere (also cosmetics) now and most of them are rancit (free radicals). Heat them up too much and they turn to trans fats too.

        Only use raw virgin oils that have not been heated up for refinement.

  58. I’ve posted some information here about protecting one’s self from the virus with Vitamin C and gotten tag-teamed by apparent drug company trolls to suggest the information is not correct or proven.

    It is correct and proven and published.

    I’m simply trying to save lives. If you’re interested in the simple protocol for using Vitamin C to protect from the virus then please contact me at: richard888x@gmail.com

    I’m not selling anything, just very concerned that this information isn’t getting out. There seems to be an embargo on information concerning the virus right now across various media.

    I’ll be glad to provide help to a few folks, email or phone. It’s simple, safe and effective. (Please ignore the trolls.)

    Please be safe out there.

    Richard

    1. Let’s be honest Richard.

      You have repeatedly posted lies here about vitamin C and the corona virus. They are untrue claims and that’s why you are never able to produce any scientific evidence to back up your assertions.

      There are trials of intravenous vitamin C for viral pneumonia under way but no results have been published. That is nothing to do with oral vitamin C supplements

      At least one of those trials notes

      ‘ Among patients with sepsis and ARDS, patients in the high-dose vitamin group did not show a better prognosis and other clinical outcomes. ”
      https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04264533

      Accusing people who point out the facts in responses to your deluge of falsehood-containing posts of being drug industry trolls is a typical tactic of charlatans, cranks and crackpots everywhere.

      Stop posting fake news. I don’t whether your problem is an inability to distinguish fact from fantasy or a deliberate policy of pasting fake news but stop it. Stick to actual facts. if you must post.

      1. Sorry Tom, not reading your garbage any longer.  Just using the message to post another really good cure for COVID-19.

        This comes from the Vitamin C guru, Dr. Thomas Levy.  But has nothing to do with Vitamin C.  Though you can use both together just to be safe.

        This one is the Hydrogen Peroxide Nebulizer protocol:

        http://www.drwlc.com/blog/2020/03/21/hydrogen-peroxide-nebulizer-to-treat-covid-19-infection/

        Easy, simple, safe and effective.   Please pass it on.

        Be healthy everyone.

  59. My trusted sources suggest that there is no advantage to paying more for the R- version.
    ————————————————————————————————————————
    Thanks Richard. That’s useful information.

    But I’ve been practicing natural chirality supplementation when I have the choice for many years now… old habit is hard to break. ‘-)

  60. With Doctor Greger’s recent literary successes and considering his distinguished background in the public health arena I hope he seriously considers the possibility of writing a “How Not to Die from a Pandemic” book in the near future. In my opinion this would allow for some good to emerge from the current public health crisis. With the world’s attention currently focused on this issue if he were able to shed some light on the role that animal agriculture plays in the emergence of these contagions then perhaps some positive change can be realized both on a personal and society wide level.

    1. considering his distinguished background in the public health arena I hope he seriously considers the possibility of writing a “How Not to Die from a Pandemic” book in the near future.
      —————————————————————————-
      Speaking of books on how not to die, here is a link to a talk by the author of “Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To”, David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nXop2lLDa4

  61. Is it safe to consume fresh Salad greens and Raw veggies (lettuce, Kale, cabbage, fennel, tomatoes, etc) from grocery stores. These are handled by employees/stockers and other customers who handle several before selecting one. I wash produce with cold water, and veggie wash, but wonder if that kills or removes a virus if someone who has the virus handles it first. OR should I only consume veggies I cook.

    1. Hi, Charles Bailey! This is what the CDC says:
      “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

      It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

      In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.”
      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#anchor_1584386553767

      I am confident enough that I am still eating fresh fruits and veggies, washing them first and, of course, washing my hands frequently. I hope that helps!

    2. /Is it safe to consume fresh Salad greens and Raw veggies (lettuce, Kale, cabbage, fennel, tomatoes, etc) from grocery stores./

      It’s probably not safe to avoid fresh greens!  These are what help to keep you healthy and fuel your immune system.

      So wash them and eat them.  Eat more!

  62. This video was incredibly informative as to how these bird pandemics have started and propagated. Although this video is 10-yrs old, it’s amazing how it predicted today’s world pandemic with covid-19 has come about. I hope the President and all of Congress have been sent this video. We need to get rid of factory farms in the USA, and stop importing goods from other countries which have them immediately!!

    1. Yes Gar I agree. I’ve sent it to everybody I know. Most of America is watching the news. What a perfect opportunity for some reporter to get this out there. How? Any ideas?

      1. Hi, Kathy! Most news outlets have email addresses for viewers to ask questions or suggest story topics. You can search for them online. Animal agriculture is big business, however, and most media outlets do not want to publicize information that is damaging to their sponsors. Animal agriculture organizations have even been known to sue those who made public comments disparaging to their products, including, famously, Oprah Winfrey. It could still be worth a try! I hope that helps!

    1. Hi Howard, are you referring to next week’s webinar? If so, that information will be available on the website afterward, but TBD if the entire webinar will be posted as-is. It will for sure be made into a blog that will go up shortly afterward. Hope that helps.

  63. As the cartoon character Pogo said many years ago, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

    Does anyone have any information regarding the use of ozone and/or ultraviolet light in relation to COVID-19?

    1. Yes ozone is a powerful oxidizing agent and will kill the virus on contact as long as you can get sufficiently high concentrations of O3. Do you have the ozone sterilizers used in hospitals?

    1. There are many TED talks on this topic already as the issue has been around for decades:

      Factory farms, antibiotics and superbugs: Lance Price at TEDxManhattan
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwHapgrF99A

      Antibiotic Resistance: What You Can Do to Prevent a Future Pandemic | Ravina Kullar | TEDxBend
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGtYvQCSfFA

      Maryn McKenna: What do we do when antibiotics don’t work any more?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3oDpCb7VqI

      Most people don’t want to hear about this.

    1. Brad,
      Without setting into motion a tsunami of upset, what about the adsorbents, preservatives and other materials found in most injectables. There is an overwhelming amount of information that should be evaluated in addition to the obvious….

      Safe for whom and in what amount and under what circumstances would be appropriate will take years to recognize.

      Safety is relative and all about a multitude of factors. On the other side of the argument is the cost/benefits ratio, if it’s still in our favor it might be a legitimate consideration.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

      .

      1. As the nebulous 18-month lead time suggests, vaccines are problematic.  The last one didn’t work and killed people.

        Ultimately it simply wasn’t needed.  The problem went away, at least for now.

        There are other ways to deal with the problem besides vaccines and most of them don’t require huge numbers of the population to be directly involved with potentially harmful agents.

        Listen carefully as Fauci talks about these things and downplays vaccines over other methods.

        Anti-virals are likely the primary winner.  They seem to be slowly winning the war on the front lines.  With protection from future viral strains provided as a bonus by boosting the broad spectrum immunity tools we were born with.

        Other animals appear to be largely immune to these viruses, and we are learning from them.

  64. I’ve registered for the webinar today 8th April. Tho date I haven’t got a link our invitation. How do I join the webinar?

    1. Hi there, if you registered for the webinar, you should have received an email with instructions from us on April 2. You should also be getting an email from Zoom 1 hour before the webinar begins (as long as you also registered on zoom). If you still need help, please email researchwebinar@nutritionfacts.org or submit a question through the green support button on the lower right of the page and someone will be able to help you out!

  65. Congrats, Dr. G!! You are featured in a rap video!! LOL that’s awesome!!! LoL

    I’m sure it’s something you’ve always aspired to! actually, the song is no joke and this plant-based rapper talks about Heart Disease and COVID-19.

    You’re at 2:20 into it the vid:
    https://youtu.be/oaiBf6I-g0Y

  66. Isn’t anyone going to comment on the elephant in the room? Dr. G was packing a lot of pounds. I’d love to hear his story of transformation!
    Great info. As usual, no one listens until it’s too late and even then they remain deaf.

    1. Devo,
      Absolutely the first thing I noticed! HA!
      I love Dr. G, and he has helped change my life, but Doc’ was sporting a Spare Tire back then!
      I got no room to talk myself, but just had to respond!
      Got his HNYDiet book, will read it next with more attention to his personal experiences, LOL!
      How foreshadowing is this video from 2007? UNF……believable!
      Stay Safe!

  67. “Diseases such as covid-19 and influenza can be fatal due to an overreaction of the body’s immune system called a cytokine storm. Cytokines are small proteins released by many different cells in the body, including those of the immune system where they coordinate the body’s response against infection and trigger inflammation.” https://www.newscientist.com/term/cytokine-storm/
    “A dangerous immune overreaction known as a cytokine storm caused the deaths of many SARS patients and is suspected to be responsible for some of the fatalities among young Covid-19 patients.” https://www.wired.com/story/why-does-covid-19-make-some-people-so-sick-ask-their-dna/
    “What is a cytokine storm? Doctors are only now coming to understand cytokine storms and how to treat them, he adds. Though there’s no fail-safe diagnostic test, there are signs that a storm may be underway. For example, blood levels of the protein ferritin may rise, as may blood concentrations of the inflammation indicator C-reactive protein, which is made by the liver… ” https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/health-disease/2020/what-cytokine-storm
    “C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein made by the liver. CRP levels in the blood increase when there is a condition causing inflammation somewhere in the body. A CRP test measures the amount of CRP in the blood to detect inflammation due to acute conditions or to monitor the severity of disease in chronic conditions.” https://labtestsonline.org/tests/c-reactive-protein-crp
    “This brief lifestyle intervention, including a vegan diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and various legumes, nuts and seeds, significantly improved health risk factors and reduced systemic inflammation as measured by circulating CRP. The degree of improvement was associated with baseline CRP such that higher levels predicted greater decreases. The interaction between gender and baseline CRP was significant and showed that males with higher baseline CRP levels appeared to have a more robust decrease in CRP due to the intervention than did their female counterparts. It is likely that the vegetable and high fiber content of a vegan diet reduces CRP in the presences of obesity. Neither the quantity of exercise nor the length of stay was significant predictors of CRP reduction. Additionally, those participants who had a vegan diet prior to the intervention had the lowest CRP risk coming into the program. Direct measure of body fat composition, estrogen and other inflammatory mediators such as IL-6 and TNF-alpha would enhance current understanding of the specific mechanisms of CRP reduction related to lifestyle interventions.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25637150
    “A systematic review from 2018 reported that several studies have linked consuming more dietary sugar — especially from sugary drinks — with chronic inflammation. People with higher sugar diets have more inflammatory markers in their blood, including a marker called C-reactive protein.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326386#sugar-and-inflammation
    “Non-digestible carbohydrates not only act as prebiotics by promoting the growth of beneficial microorganisms, but also reduce proinflammatory cytokine production, concentrations of serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6478664/#B54

  68. HIV was propagated by promiscuity? That is victim blaming and false. I respect you and your work and would hope that you would also publish an update in the description on things that you got wrong, including this stigmatizing phrasing. It was propagated by ignorance, like our current administration, and people refusing to care that thousands of gay men were dying in the USA. All the while, HIV was growing in other places like Southern Africa amongst the general population. Ronald Reagan is just as much at fault for the millions who have died as Trump will be for the thousands for COVID-19. As a note, I am a global HIV advisor with a Masters of Science in Public Health from Johns Hopkins and have been doing HIV programming and research for 15 years.

  69. Ronald Reagan is just as much at fault for the millions who have died as Trump will be for the thousands for COVID-19. As a note, I am a global HIV advisor with a Masters of Science in Public Health from Johns Hopkins and have been doing HIV programming and research for 15 years.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Dee, you seem quick to blame but slow to praise. Assuming you are Democrat-centric, I kinda understand why you didn’t want to give credit to George W. Bush (admired by Elton John no-less) for his attention and direction of the People’s Purse to finding a cure for AIDS.

    As for Reagan, being gay was still thought of as being a choice back then (and you may wish to proclaim it still is ‘-) You may need to stop and think of a leader of a democracy’s authority. That is, the leader serves at the pleasure of the people, when you get right down to it.

    If you have a problem with how things have gone in the past… blame We The People.

  70. First when was this video done? It seems like we’ve been warned and not a lot was done. Do you have any hope that our Federal government is going to take significant action, or are we really on our own in our local communities to prepare for the next one?

    1. We need to be more active and speak out more!  We need to organize.  The moneyed interests are still controlling the game.

      We also need to fend for ourselves.  Fortunately, it’s easy.

      My sweetie tripped and hurt her knee yesterday, so I took her to Kaiser today.  After all was taken care of I gave her doctor a printout of the following link:

      http://www.doctoryourself.com/sars.htm

      She thanked me and said *she and her family were already taking lots of vitamin C.*  She voiced some concern about the possibility of kidney stones.  I explained that that was an old wrong theory and that doctors are using C to dissolve stones now.

      So many doctors are catching on regardless of the disinformation onslaught in the media lately.

      Become aware of the power of vitamins and you will live longer. I promise.

      Low vitamin C is the main cause of heart disease.  (Yes, I have links to proof of all of this.)

      Take good care of yourselves and everyone around you!

      If you go to the doctor for something please take him or her a printout of that link.

      Thank you!

  71. Lots of stories on how plant based diets can protect your immune system. Is anyone collecting data on how many vegans vs. meat eaters are dying from Covid-19? It wouldn’t be a double blind, placebo based, randomized test anymore than how many black/brown/white people are dying, but the results would be interesting.

    1. I have been wanting to find out the same thing. On a related note did you see the research on vegans and cytokine storms that I gave in a previous comment? Here it is again just in case: “Diseases such as covid-19 and influenza can be fatal due to an overreaction of the body’s immune system called a cytokine storm. Cytokines are small proteins released by many different cells in the body, including those of the immune system where they coordinate the body’s response against infection and trigger inflammation.” https://www.newscientist.com/term/cytokine-storm/ “A dangerous immune overreaction known as a cytokine storm caused the deaths of many SARS patients and is suspected to be responsible for some of the fatalities among young Covid-19 patients.” https://www.wired.com/story/why-does-covid-19-make-some-people-so-sick-ask-their-dna/ “What is a cytokine storm? Doctors are only now coming to understand cytokine storms and how to treat them, he adds. Though there’s no fail-safe diagnostic test, there are signs that a storm may be underway. For example, blood levels of the protein ferritin may rise, as may blood concentrations of the inflammation indicator C-reactive protein, which is made by the liver… ” https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/health-disease/2020/what-cytokine-storm

      “C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein made by the liver. CRP levels in the blood increase when there is a condition causing inflammation somewhere in the body. A CRP test measures the amount of CRP in the blood to detect inflammation due to acute conditions or to monitor the severity of disease in chronic conditions.” https://labtestsonline.org/tests/c-reactive-protein-crp

      “This brief lifestyle intervention, including a vegan diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and various legumes, nuts and seeds, significantly improved health risk factors and reduced systemic inflammation as measured by circulating CRP. The degree of improvement was associated with baseline CRP such that higher levels predicted greater decreases. The interaction between gender and baseline CRP was significant and showed that males with higher baseline CRP levels appeared to have a more robust decrease in CRP due to the intervention than did their female counterparts. It is likely that the vegetable and high fiber content of a vegan diet reduces CRP in the presences of obesity. Neither the quantity of exercise nor the length of stay was significant predictors of CRP reduction. Additionally, those participants who had a vegan diet prior to the intervention had the lowest CRP risk coming into the program. Direct measure of body fat composition, estrogen and other inflammatory mediators such as IL-6 and TNF-alpha would enhance current understanding of the specific mechanisms of CRP reduction related to lifestyle interventions.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25637150

      “A systematic review from 2018 reported that several studies have linked consuming more dietary sugar — especially from sugary drinks — with chronic inflammation. People with higher sugar diets have more inflammatory markers in their blood, including a marker called C-reactive protein.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326386#sugar-and-inflammation

      “Non-digestible carbohydrates not only act as prebiotics by promoting the growth of beneficial microorganisms, but also reduce proinflammatory cytokine production, concentrations of serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6478664/#B54

      1. /Besides metabolic functions, *vitamin C* is also known to contribute to immune homeostasis. Recently, it has been demonstrated that *vitamin C* has an inhibitory effect on the expression of *pro-inflammatory cytokines* such as interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) in adult whole blood cells in vitro./

        https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/96972

        http://www.doctoryourself.com/IVAA-COVID19-Hospital-Use-Anderson-03.24.2020.pdf

  72. I am so grateful for Dr. Greger’s and his team’s work. Finally, a credible science-based source that does not cherry pick studies that support their point of view. Now I see that Dr. G is helping the world with pandemic prevention and survival information – one of the very few voices speaking about prevention which has so many implications for how we rebuild our economy (esp re food and agriculture and global health governance). I have a suggestion, however, for how Dr. G can make is presentation style as credible and accessible as his valuable information. Whenever I try to share his videos or podcasts will others, they find his style so offputting that they beg me to turn it off and they think he must be a crackpot. He’s a brilliant guy and a fit attractive person, there is no reason why he cannot master a presentation style that invites people in instead of repelling them. We need Dr. Greger’s voice to have more influence because what he offers is so important. There are many presentation style coaches around, and he could perhaps ask Oprah to recommend a coach, since they know each other. I just know one coach and she is great and has worked with people all over the world, Sylvia Larrass https://www.sylvialarrass.com/ . I know that academics focus more on the science and are not typically strong in regard to communication, but I am confident that the brilliant Dr. G can nail down a much more inviting and credibility-building presentation style!

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