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Good comment by Mr. Saguier about vitamin D. I might point out that supplemental vitamin D, provided that it is D3, is beneficial for people who are deficient in it. But there may be other effects of exposing the skin to sunlight that are not yet recognized. Ultraviolet light in sunlight is known to kill bacteria and viruses in a very short exposure time, sometimes in a just a few minutes. Hospitals have used it for decades to sanitize their surgery suites. Probably there is no cleaner and safer air to breathe that at an ocean beach on a warm sunny day. Even tuberculosis before the advent of antibiotics was treated in TB sanitariums by taking the patients outside on a sunny day for fresh air therapy, even in the winter.

There are multiple articles on the internet supporting what Mr. Saguier has said. Here is one taken from the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal (BMJ):

"In 2017, a large analyses of prospective clinical trials showed that taking vitamin D reduces the odds of developing a respiratory infection by approximately 42% in people with low baseline levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D; below 25 ng/mL." Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 2017¬;356:i6583.

This COVID-19 exercise has pointed out just how unhealthy a large portion of the human population is. Obesity is rampant in developed countries with morbid obesity becoming more common particularly in some geographic areas of the United States. Lack of adequate Vitamin D is only one of the problems but it is an important one relative to virus infections because it supports a strong immune system. Unrecognized important underlying illnesses include insulin resistance with the resultant weight gain, pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. And, with obesity comes other chronic diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and various breathing problems.

Few people are acknowledging that if viruses are to be resisted people need to be healthy to begin with. A good start includes losing excess weight by changing one's diet to exclude sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other refined carbohydrates promoted by the Federal Government with their food pyramid. That includes all pastas, rice, potatoes, and food products made with corn or wheat (bread, donuts, muffins pancakes, chips). The elimination of Omega 6 fats found in artificial refined oils (corn, soy bean, cotton seed etc.) are recommended to be reduced and replaced with healthy saturated fats, mono-saturated fats (olive oil) and Omega 3 oils as are found in fish oils.

People need to understand that there may be other reasons for dietary recommendations than making people healthy. Often dietary recommendations are promoted by the government for the benefit of the food producers. Just think of the negative financial effects that would ensue if people were encouraged to reduce eating the amount of foods made with wheat flour or corn or stopped cooking their foods in soy bean oil or conquered their addiction to things sweetened with sugar, including high fructose corn syrup. - AOD

“ And while people blindly follow the official story, ”

I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. Speaking only for myself of course, it’s hard to know what the real truth of the matter is.

The situation reminds me of the debates between the more capable “skeptics” and those who accept psi. If all I hear is the debate, I end up with a beige opinion that doesn’t help me to reach a conclusion.

At least with many parapsychological subjects it is sometimes possible to look at the original research and reach my own conclusion to some extent.

With coronavirus, the “original research” being used as basis for government advice doesn’t seem easy for me to find (if it even exists in a form I could digest) and even if I did, I don’t think I’d be confident about having the knowledge and brain power to form an opinion.

I’m not suggesting the “official line” is correct. It’s just hard for me to know or form a view which is likely to be more prudent.

I agree totally with the advice to get out and get some sunshine and fresh air. I’d add - talk to (the right) friends regularly and adopt some sort of structure to the day.

If you're going to take vitamins do it with a meal. All the fat soluble vitamins, of which vitamin D3 is a member of, are absorbed better in the present of some kind of fat in the diet. Better to take your vitamins with a meal, preferably one that includes some kind of fat. I learned this in one of the nutrition courses I took in college at Uni. of GA.

Take them or not? That's your decision.

I just re-read my post... I said take them (vitamins) in the "present" of some kind of fat. I meant to say "presence" of some kind of fat. Oh well, c'est la vie! LOL!

I hadn't seen "national house arrest" before. Good one.

Get out and catch some rays? Not here in Seattle. I was out 20 minutes ago to take in some tools that were getting rained on. (-:

Paul said: "I’m not suggesting the “official line” is correct. It’s just hard for me to know or form a view which is likely to be more prudent."

Agreed. See here:

"8 Possible Reasons for the Huge International Differences in COVID-19 Deaths
For each plausible theory, there are puzzling counterexamples.
JACOB SULLUM | 5.4.2020 2:30 PM

"If you're trying to figure out why some places have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic while others so far seem to be largely unscathed, there is no shortage of hypotheses. But for each seemingly plausible explanation, there are counterexamples that complicate the story."

Che, amigo, que onda?!

Congrats on the cool guest post, Emi! :)

Here is a listing of countries by percent of population considered obese. You might note that the United States is high on the list with 36.2% of its people considered obese (2016). While India is at 3.9%; Japan 4.3%; Viet Nam 2.1% and South Korea 4.5%,. Correlation is not causation however it is interesting that some of the countries with the lowest incidence of COVID -19 deaths also have the lowest percentage of people considered obese. Insulin resistance is a major cause of obesity and consequently, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and breathing problems. - AOD

It's natural that a sunny summer should cheer us up. More that that, it's logical. Given that there is such a thing as a "Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)," it follows remorselessly that there is an UNdisordered seasonal state from which it descends. I dub it RAD.

(Now I just need to find clever words to fill out the acronym. I'm too "down" at the moment to attempt it.)

Great post,Emiliano and great advice!


You also have to look at the actual rates of diabetes, though, as it doesn't always correlate well with obesity rates. India is 7.2% diabetic and China is about 10% (adult populations).

A lot of what are typically thought of as thin adults there have diabetes.

Another thing about obesity rates is they are typically not based on a measurement of body fat (which is hard to do accurately) but on something like BMI. I have read that a lot of Asians are skinny-fat with body fat percentages comparable to those of people who look fatter but really aren't.

"Che, amigo, que onda?!

Congrats on the cool guest post, Emi! :)"

My man. My main man, even. Do I have a few stories for you! Mainly, I'm chilling in sunny Cancun, waiting for my repatriation flight on the 20th. Hit me up anytime and I'll tell you all about it.

For those not in the know, I've been traveling since early February, which resulted in not only encountering a deluge of people coming from Wuhan at LAX, but also following this crazy itinerary:

Feb 8th-March 27th - Maui, Hawaii
March 28th-April 22nd - San Mateo, California
April 23rd-27th - Mexico City
April 27th - Present - Cancun (where rescue flights to Argentina take off from)

What was I doing? Taking out my freelance writing career for a spin (I'm a copywriter, mostly) and seeing if it was sustainable on the road. It was, but then this whole situation happened and writing took a backseat to navigating the mix of actual danger and madness coming from both the pandemic and my revolving cast of roommates.

So far, this whole thing has been a mix of a coming-of-age movie by Noah Baumbach via David Lynch, a bizarre, ongoing spiritual experience, and a technothriller Michael Crichton would've had wet dreams about.

I *will* have to write about this someday. As soon as I get home, I'll start unpacking my thoughts about it; there's a best-seller somewhere in there. Something like "How I hacked the job market and got a six-pack while surviving a global pandemic"

It was a four-pack, actually. The six-packs were mostly beer, but it doesn't have the same ring to it.

For now, I just want to thank you for the opportunity, Michael. This blog sparked an ongoing interest in developing a practical spirituality that was sorely missing in my life. I remember reading a post on past-life regression in 2009 and, after trying it for myself, I was hooked.

And I got a friend for life in Matt from the comment section as well, so that's a helluva bonus.

For now, let's just say that I never thought one of my ramblings would see the front page of this blog, and especially a post I fired off at 2:00 am while writing about "The 8 Best Car Waxes in 2020."

I just want to comment that what is called ‘diabetes’ is really two different diseases. One is hypoinsulinemia, that is, little or no insulin is produced by the pancreas and that is called type 1 diabetes and usually is evident at an early age. The other is hyperinsulinemia which is an over production of insulin by the pancreas resulting in insulin resistance and becomes increasingly evident when one eats a diet high in carbohydrates the consequence of which becomes more evident as one ages, that is, when one enters into the 4th or 5th decades of life. These two diseases are the opposite of each other. One is caused by too much insulin and the other is caused by not enough insulin but both are called ‘diabetes’. I understand that not all people with ‘diabetes are fat. It is more likely that people with type 1 diabetes are thin since they have little or no insulin to utilize glucose for energy or to store glucose as fat.

By eating an excess of carbohydrates e.g., sugar, corn syrup, and starchy foods the body eventually becomes resistant to the amount of insulin the pancreas produces and as a result more and more insulin is needed to allow cells to utilize glucose for energy. The excess insulin allows more of the glucose from sugars and starch to be stored as fat and therefore most people who are insulin resistant are overweight, obese or unfortunately morbidly obese. More than a third of Americans are in that group, some of them diagnosed but many of them undiagnosed with pre- diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

By switching to a diet very low in carbohydrates, less than 20 grams per day, people with type 2 diabetes can be cured of their disease. - AOD

For those inclined toward an authoritative presentation about insulin levels and weight gain or loss the linked video of Dr. Paul Mason M.D. might be interesting. It is only about 34 minutes in length but Dr. Mason is somewhat of an authority on low carbohydrate diets and he has many other accessible videos in which he presents information related to that subject. - AOD

AOD, I tried a very low-carb diet once and had real success with it. I lost weight, and my triglycerides, which had been high, declined to well within normal. My (then) doctor refused to credit the diet for these results; he insisted that a high carb diet was healthier and that my outcome had nothing to do with the change in my eating habits — that in fact my new diet really "should have" made things worse. This was an interesting illustration of a closed mind in action — or in inaction, as the case may be. It helped me to become skeptical of experts, or as I call them, "experts." (The scare quotes tend to infuriate them, which is fun.)

The diet had other interesting results. I found I lost any craving for sweets. No desire for ice cream, cake, etc. An apple was a perfectly good dessert. Somehow it tasted sweeter than it used to.

So am I still on the diet? I am not. I was brought down by the one craving I could not vanquish — bread. I like bread and bread products. Eventually I could no longer deny myself French bread, garlic bread, rolls, buns, bagels, crackers, pizza, and so on. Once I started consuming carbs again, an apple no longer satisfied. And so I am back to eating ice cream. And now I take a pill to lower my triglycerides.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Yes Michael, a low carbohydrate (less than 20grams a day) can dramatically lower triglycerides and assist with weight loss. And it is low triglycerides that are most important in preventing atherosclerosis. A low carbohydrate high fat diet can also raise the “good” HDL cholesterol, and that’s good, but it can also raise the so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol in some people, which may or may not be bad. Mainstream physicians who follow the ‘party line’ will be appalled at the cholesterol numbers of someone on a strict low carbohydrate high fat diet and demand that a statin be taken to reduce the numbers. (It is interesting to note that people who are starving or not eating anything have high cholesterol.)

Ancel Keyes’ diet hypothesis, that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease, has been forcefully debunked by current young scientists who revisited Keyes’ original study, and classify it as another government boondoggle. Ancel Keyes manipulated his data to prove his preconceived ideas about the relationship between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease. The government and the recommended food pyramid helped him to promote that theory. People have been misled for the past 30 or 40 years to think that Ancel Keyes conducted a valid study. Even the Heart Association of today still makes its recommendations based upon the study of Ancel Keyes and the government still recommends a food pyramid high in carbohydrates and low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

There are some scientists and physicians who study cholesterol and its effects on health and longevity who do not believe based upon their current studies that cholesterol, either HDL or LDL, nor saturated fats are significant factors in atherosclerosis but that to the contrary their studies have shown that people with high cholesterol, especially older people, have increased longevity and an absence of or less chronic diseases.

My weakness is sugar. I am addicted to it and as an addict I cannot have one taste of it before I throw caution to the wind and indulge in ice cream and whole package of brownies. Currently I am hooked on cherry pie as my one and only sin. Fortunately I am holding my weight but an increase in carbohydrates will start the indicator on the scale to go up.

There are many good videos about low carbohydrate diets on YouTube. Just use the search engine on YouTube and many very good resources will come up. Those videos are produced by many reputable scientists and physicians who have clinical contact with many patients whom they have treated with a low carbohydrate high fat diet---who have lost weight, lowered triglycerides, raised HDL (and LDL) and reversed their type 2 diabetes. - AOD

(P.S. Michael: If you are inclined to cook, there are many very good recipes that use coconut flour or almond flour instead of wheat flour for use in making bread, cakes, pancakes, cookies and similar products. And there is ice cream without sugar but unfortunately the sugar substitutes in ice cream may be worse health-wise than regular sugar. I use Stevia for sweetness and LaKanto Monkfruit is another acceptable sugar substitute except that people who cannot digest sugar alcohols (erythritol) may experience gas, bloating and diarrhea when then eat too much of it)

I just would add one more comment that one should not expect the government to ever recommend anything that would decrease the use of wheat, corn and soy bean products in the United States or the world for that matter. Lobbying groups are too strong to allow a recommendation that people decrease the use of wheat, corn and soy bean food products,. It doesn’t matter if those things turn out to be unhealthy if eaten in large amounts as Americans do, it doesn’t matter if people die of obesity and its related illness. What matters is that food companies sell their products in the largest amounts possible.

Food advertising encourages people to eat large quantities of those processed foods and sugar or high fructose corn syrup is added to almost every manufactured, processed or otherwise manipulated food to entice and hook people into eating them. Look at the labels on processed foods! Some form of sugar (there are many under other names so you won’t know it is a sugar) is certain to be lurking as an ingredient in almost every processed food, often in foods that you wouldn’t think have added sugar, e.g., frozen broccoli or brussels sprouts. - AOD

"So am I still on the diet? I am not."

One benefit of the national house arrest has been that I no longer eat out and my wife cooks the meals. She's actually a pretty good cook. No gourmet menus, but just natural well prepared fish and meat. She can't handle much gluten. So my consumption of carbs has gone way down in the past two months. No fries, onion rings or other fried foods. The gym has been closed, but I've got some home made workouts for strength training and I'm "power walking" a lot (tried jogging, but I've got a bad ankle that flares up almost immediately and it really hurts). There's a stretch of about a mile that is all fairly steep uphill on my regular route. Between the walking and strength training and the simple diet, I'm actually losing weight. I hope I stick with it after the restaurants and pubs re-open (whenever that will be).

\\"I was brought down by the one craving I could not vanquish — bread." - Michael Prescott//

I have been on a low carb diet since December, 2016 and have lost 90 lbs and 10" in my waist. All my blood work has also dropped back into normal range since losing weight and avoiding (as best I can) carbs. I just try and keep my carbs down below 60 grams a day. Pretty much the same diet I was on in high school and lost 60 lbs on it back then.

When I first started this low carb diet my wife also tried lowering her carbs. It lasted about 3 days and she said "I can't live without bread" and that was the end of that. She is an ovo-lacto-vegetarian and won't eat anything with a face, or any kind of seafood which I suspicion she never much liked anyway? She has been a vegetarian since the mid 1990s. Her whole family is really into carbs and her mother makes awesome homemade rolls and biscuits and pies and cakes and stuff like that. They are difficult to resist... but so far so good.

Outstanding interview with an epidemiologist who pulls no punches in dismissing the conventional wisdom.

Sorry Michael! Knut Wittkowski lost credibility with me when he said, "The ideal approach would be to simply shut the door of the nursing homes and keep the personnel and the elderly locked in for a certain amount of time, and pay the staff overtime to stay there for 24 hours per day. How long can you do that for? For three weeks, that is possible."

Surely he jests!

Who is their right mind would think that all nursing home care givers---nursing aides, housekeepers, nurses, therapists, cooks and administrative personnel would ever stay locked up in a nursing home for up to three weeks and ignore their responsibilities to their children and other family members who depend on them for care and support. I can't even imagine the logistics of how that would ever work! - AOD.

The article Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic provides good detail on the efficacy of fresh air and sunshine for dealing with viral and bacterial infections.

AOD, I agree that "all" nursing home staff couldn’t do it, but perhaps the facility could be run by a skeleton staff — no pun intended!

For three weeks, with generous overtime, you’d probably get at least a third of the staff to go along.

Another option would be to focus 90% of mitigation efforts on nursing homes — funnel the protective gear (masks etc.) primarily to them, maximize educational efforts aimed at their proprietors and staff, test all patients and staff daily and immediately sequester or remove any who test positive. As it was, some states like New York took the opposite approach. They required nursing homes to accept COVID patients but didn’t supply them with the necessary equipment, training, or tests.

Great article. That is what some of us have been saying all along. Somebody needs to tell Dr. Fauci about that article. Maybe send him a copy! Staying cooped-up in the house was never a good idea. - AOD

As if this was only a nursing homes issue. The fact is that the virus is dangerous for everybody even if the relative risk is very low. One sailor onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt died from the virus and 3 sailors from a french carrier ended up in intensive care. These people were obviously healthy beforehand otherwise they wouldn’t be qualified to serve on those ships.

And it’s the fear of the virus - that will truly prevent the economy to recover any time soon even with the lockdown fully lifted soon.

In celebrated Sweden the private spending has declined just as much during the last 2 months as in neighbouring Denmark (where a strict lockdown were imposed) even though Sweden kept their society open (

I believe if we want our western economies back and kicking any time soon we need to embrace the asian approach to dealing with the epedemic.

This is from Central Florida near the Villages which is a huge retirement community made up of about 95% retired conservative Republicans. I thought ya'll might find it interesting?

POSTED BY, Sheri Altman Sebree, RN
"Just saw a news report that says Waterman, LRMC and The Villages Hospital (UF Health facilities) are COVID free and have closed their Covid units. No new hospitalized virus patients in 2 weeks. Great job NE Lake Co!! I have no idea about South Lake Hospital. They were not mentioned in the article.💗💗💗

Thank you Lord, and thank you to all of our health care workers!!!"

//As if this was only a nursing homes issue.//

Not only. Just mostly.

//The fact is that the virus is dangerous for everybody even if the relative risk is very low.//

So it’s dangerous and low risk at the same time? I think you mean it’s unlikely that any given (non-high-risk) person will develop serious symptoms, but a few will, and for them it can be very serious. That’s probably true. It’s also true of many other diseases. There are always outliers. But we don’t base public policy on outliers.

With regard to the USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor who died, I found there was surprisingly little follow-up or media interest in the details. But after some diligent Googling, I did find this:

//Assuming that 41 yo CPO Thacker‘s death was at least partially caused by the Wuhan coronavirus, the IFR from the experience of the Roosevelt’s crew of 5,000, is 0.12%. (1 death out of 840 infected)

CPO Thacker had tested positive, but had displayed no symptoms before being found unresponsive in quarters ashore. Without further information, the range of possible causes of death must include suicide, a coronary event, a stroke, or other medical or non-medical misadventures related or unrelated to Wuhan CoV-19. As is the custom, the death is counted as a coronavirus death.//

I can’t vouch for this report, but if it’s accurate, it casts doubt on the idea that CPO Thacker was necessarily a COVID victim. If he really exhibited "no symptoms," it seems doubtful he died of COVID, which in its advanced stages has very obvious symptoms (high fever, respiratory distress, etc.).

Still, I’m sure there are *some* relatively young, seemingly healthy people who have succumbed to the virus. Some of them may have had undiagnosed pre-existing conditions. Others may just be among the inexplicable tragedies that happen in medicine.

But a small number of poorly understood cases shouldn't drive public policy.

Something else about the USS Theodore Roosevelt - those sailors live in really tight close quarters. They sleep, literally, on top of each other in their racks. They have to turn sideways to walk past each other in the gangways. The overhead (ceiling) is low. Surfaces are metal and perfect for a virus to hang out on. Air down below/below decks is stale. Everyone shares the head (bathroom).

If there was ever an environment for covid to show its lethal power and rampant infectiousness, it's on a navy ship. I mean it is the absolute worst case scenario for an infectious disease. In fact, when the fleet goes out on a cruise, the first week or two there are always waves of illnesses. That's part of life in the fleet.

I don't see where covid did anything novel at all on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

It was merely another cruise and another bug moving through the crew.


I'm not sure my dermatologist would agree with the sun exposure, although perhaps 20 minutes a day maximum would be OK, at least if you don't have Irish blood.

I've had five or six surgeries over the past 10 years to remove melanoma (skin cancers) from the face and upper body. In addition, I've been zapped for potential cancers several dozen times. My present dermatologist and my prior one both blamed it on sun exposure before the age of 30. I used to run hatless and shirtless for 1-2 hours a day, although much of it was in the evening hours, after work, when there was little sun. Weekend runs were usually under a hot sun. But it was not the Hawaii sun until age 34.

Both doctors said that those with Irish blood are more susceptible to such cancers. I'm at just 37.5% in that regard.


I should have added that even 20 minutes of sun in now contraindicated by both my present dermatologist and prior one, who retired. They say if I must go out in the sun at all, to wear a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeve shirt and long pants. It's not easy wearing all that in Hawaii.

On one of these threads, I mentioned that I thought I might’ve had a mild but nagging case of COVID early in the year. Just to follow up on this, I should report that I recently was tested for COVID antibodies, and the test came back negative. So I guess it was some other form of sino-respiratory grunge.

By the way, the CDC now says its best estimate of the fatality rate in symptomatic COVID patients is 0.4%. The CDC also estimates that 35% of infected persons have no symptoms. I suspect the percentage of asymptomatic persons is higher, but even the conservative 35% estimate gives an overall infection fatality rate (IFR) of about 0.26%. Compare this to the figures that were bandied about early on: 3.4% in China, maybe 2% worldwide. The IFR estimates were off by an order of magnitude at least.

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