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Here, over the last few decades, human pathogens have emerged at a rate unheard of in human history, mostly from animals. So, you know, HIV has been traced back to the butchering of primates in the bushmeat trade in Africa, mad cow disease, because we turn, you know, cows into carnivores and cannibals, SARS and covid-19, and traced back to these exotic live animal markets. But, you know, our last pandemic, swine flu in 2009 arose not from some backwater wet market in Asia, but was largely made in the USA right here on industrial pig operations in the United States.


So when we take thousands of animals and crammed these filthy football field sized sheds to lie beak to beak or snouts not atop their own waste, it's just a breeding ground for disease. It's not just the sheer numbers and the overcrowding, the stress crippling their immune systems, the ammonia from the decomposing waste burning their lungs, the lack of fresh air, lack of sunlight. Put all these factors together. We have is kind of the superstorm kind of environment for the emergence of spread of super strains of influenza.


Tragically, we don't tend to shore up the levees until after disaster strikes. And the bottom line is it's not worth risking the lives of millions of people for the sake of cheaper chicken. This is the time we're ever going to start an exercise program or stress reduction or get your sleep schedule right or reduce stress or start eating healthy. This is the time. Let's take advantage for those of us who are privileged enough, not have to be out on the front line to clean up our act and really protect us against the current infectious disease from chronic disease stress.


In the future, we really have to accelerate the movement away from animal agriculture towards plant based milks, plant based meats plans, bazza egg products. And so this message to better take care of ourselves and families. Never been more poignant. That's Dr. Michael Gregor and this is the Rich Role podcast. The Rich Roll podcast, greetings, fellow sequestered earthlings of the coronavirus universe, I remain rich roll. This is still my podcast and you, my friends, are always welcome.


Today, my good friend Dr. Michael Gregor returns for his fourth drop on the pod, the king of how not to books, books like How Not to Die, How Not to Diet, and also The Man Behind Nutrition Facts. Doug is back and he's got a new how to book for a refreshing change. It's called How to Survive a Pandemic, to be specific, which I think just as easily could have been titled How to be very timely and on point.


Given what we are all collectively enduring right now, I think this one is important. It's super instructive. It's powerful. And if there's anything certain in the known universe, given what Dr. Gregor will soon inform you about the relationship between animal food production and the advent of zoonotic disease, it's a conversation that will leave you highly motivated to once and for all put those animal products in the rear view. But how how do I do it, Rich? I get that question a lot.


So to answer your prayer at scale, we created an easy to use digital platform that takes all the guesswork out of starting and most importantly, sustaining a healthy plant based diet. It's called the plant power meal planner. And what it does essentially is craft highly customized menus for you from our huge library of recipes, literally thousands of recipes. It also creates a grocery list to make shopping for ingredients hassle free and even grocery delivery integration in tons of metropolitan locations, which means everything you need to eat, right.


Just shows up at your doorstep. It's really an incredible, powerful tool. I'm really proud of it. And it's crazy, affordable, just a dollar ninety a week. So listen to Dr. Kroger. And when that's done, go to meals Dautrich Roll Dotcom to learn more and sign up. In addition to my obsession with getting all of you eating more healthy and plant based, I'm also obsessed with dialing up my sleep and my recovery. And the best tool that I have discovered to calibrate this process is this fashionable doodad you might have seen strapped to my wrist called Whip.


I have seen that rich. What is that thing? Is it a watch? Is it jewelry? No clothes, but no, basically Wu is a fitness tracker and an app. But it doesn't just track your steps. It focuses on a much more meaningful metric strain throughout the day and night. It captures this crazy amount of biomarkers like resting heart rate, heart rate variability, metabolic rate sleep states. It then crunches all of that data to give you a reliable metric of how your body is responding to exercise, to training and arrest.


And in turn, it then makes recommendations to help you adjust your routine to perform optimally. It's sort of like a tuning device for the body. I love it. Like I said, I'm obsessed. I've not removed it from my wrist since I got it. So if you're looking to be smarter about how you sleep, recover and train so you can be at your best and if you're not, you should be. You got to check out Woop right now just for you guys.


My listeners group is offering something super special, 50 percent off when you use my super special VIP discount code rich role at checkout, go to woop dotcom, that's dotcom and use the code rich. Roll a check out to say 15 percent of your order. Unlock your best self today. Dr. Gregor, I feel like he was just on the show because he kind of was, but I just had to bring him right back for a powerful primer on all matters pandemic pertinent.


Because here's the thing. We all know the good Doctor G as a nutrition expert, but less well known is the fact that before all of that, he basically had an entire career in public health specializing in infectious disease, including sounding the pandemic alarm. In fact, Dr. G wrote a whole book about this back in 2006, but nobody was listening then, and now they are. So Michael dusted off that 2006 book. He got to work dialing it up to date with the latest science and put it into the world.


It's called How to Survive a Pandemic. It's available as an audio book or on Kindle with a paperback version coming August 18th. So this podcast is basically my opportunity to ask all my personal coronavirus questions, questions you likely have as well about what exactly is happening, how we got here, hints it has something to do with human interaction with animals and animal. Culture, how we prevent things like this from happening in the future, like maybe start putting an end to factory farming, there's one idea and what we need to know to be and stay safe, like what is the difference between covid and a typical flu?


How is it being transmitted specifically? And why do some people fall gravely ill while others experience only mild symptoms? What's the deal with herd immunity and what's it going to take to get there? How do we make sure our immune response is intact and healthy? What's the deal with all these different kinds of tests and when is it appropriate to get tested? Do I need to constantly disinfect everything like my groceries? How important is handwashing? What exactly is the utility of masks and what kind of mask should we be wearing and when should we be wearing it?


Perhaps the most fundamental question of all, how can we stop the emergence of pandemics in the first place? Again, let's look at our dysfunctional relationship with the animal kingdom. And a good place to start is the eradication of factory farms. It's scary out there, but Dr Gee, ever the enthusiastic optimist is hopeful.


That gives me hope and hopefully gives you a little hope as well.


So here we go, round four with the great Michael Gregor, M.D.. Back in the house, ready to rock and roll. So good to see you. I feel like I just saw you, but it was a little while ago I wasn't there. The world is very different. Spend time at all out the window.


Whether what's super interesting about you is that we all know and love you as this nutrition specialist expert, the man behind nutrition facts dog. But actually you earlier in your career had this whole path in public health, specializing in emerging infectious diseases, and you've been shouting from the mountaintops about pandemics for over a decade. So here we are. And suddenly that book that you wrote back in two thousand six is more relevant than ever. You've got this new book out, so I can't wait to just roll up our sleeves and get into what exactly is going on right now.


Well, yeah. I mean, first half of my professional life was all emerging infectious diseases. In fact. I mean, that's most of my scientific publications. That's how I got on Oprah. That's how I got on, you know, all the I mean, that that was really that was and no one was listening, right? Yeah. In fact, the whole public health community was warning people about the coming pandemic. No one listened. I was like, all right, I'm you know, I'll I'll let it let me let me default to the leading cause of death every single year from from 1919 to twenty nineteen for the last hundred years, always realizing in the back of my mind, well, you know, the reason that heart disease wasn't the leading killer for the last hundred and one years because in 1918 there was a pandemic flu and the next one's coming.


And when it comes. All right, and then maybe when people listen, I'll be able to delve back. And that's how I was able to, you know, to write a book in such a short time because the researchers done it was just a matter of, you know, throwing together a few chapters on the on the current situation.


And, you know, well, the first book was really focused on bird flu. Right. Do you think if at that time people really perked up and paid attention that I would have shifted your whole career trajectory, you would have stayed in that field? Oh, I think so, yeah.


I mean, because I mean, it's as critically important today as it was back then. In fact, the leading candidate, according to the CDC, of the next pandemic after covid is a bird flu virus by the name of age seven and nine, which is a hundred times deadlier than covid-19. That's the one with 50 percent.


No, it only has a 40 percent mortality rate. It's the H5N1 was higher, but has has dwindled as age seven and nine has taken to the forefront of a global spread. And so that's the leading candidate. Although H5N1 still may be waiting in the wings of chickens, of course, eight, seven to nine seems to be the most likely. And so instead of one 250 people dying, it's 100 times deadlier, 40 percent. And so, you know, as devastating as covid-19 has been to the lives and livelihoods around the world, you know, you know, imagine a pandemic, you know, that that that you know that every other person.


Right. So the. Well, so, you know, you know, 1918 had a two percent fatality rate. And so. Yeah, but imagine a pandemic where billions are infected, but 40 percent people die. And that was and that was the last time a bird flu virus jumped directly to humans and triggered pandemic. It caused the deadliest plague in history, the 1918 pandemic. And so it's you know you know, it's it's just it's just a matter of time.


And so but the good news is there's nothing we can do about it, you know, just like closing down live animal markets. And, you know, the wild animal trade will reduce the risk of future coronavirus pandemics. Reforming the way we raise domestic animals for food may help forestall the next killer.


Well, that's a good place to start, the very root cause of what's leading to these pandemics that ultimately are an inevitability. So let's start there. I mean, we're all kind of familiar with what triggered covid with the pangolins. I guess that's the reigning theory of the moment as to how this began. But there's a larger issue at play here, which is the institutionalization of animal agriculture and how we're creating, you know, on a systemic basis, the breeding ground for the next pandemic and the next pandemic and, you know, perhaps much more virulent strains of a virus that are going to be far more deadly.


Over the last few decades, human pathogens have emerged at a rate unheard of in human history and emerged from where? Mostly from animals. So, you know, HIV has been. Raced back to the butchering of primates in the bushmeat trade in Africa, mad cow disease, because we turned, you know, cows into carnivores and cannibals, SARS and covid-19 traced back to these exotic live animal markets. But, you know, our last pandemic, swine flu in 2009 arose not from some backwater wet market in in Asia, but was largely made in the USA right here on industrial pig operations in the United States.


Now, thankfully, swine flu only killed about a half million people, but the next time we might not be so lucky to be. Well, just came out that last week, this new story about pigs in China and and a couple slaughterhouse workers getting sick. Yeah, this is very alarming. So it's actually. Yeah. So it's actually a new mutation of that very swine flu virus, this triple hybrid mutant, which contains genes from a human pig and avian flus that was known up to the human immune system that was able to spread around the globe and is still with us to this day as a seasonal flu.


But but all it has to do is, you know, change enough to kind of overwhelm the pre-existing immunity. Huh?


But but yeah. So so but we happen to pick the two species that that are vulnerable to the virus, the only known virus on the planet capable infecting billions of people within months of time. And that's influenza. And so most species actually are don't get the flu. Very few species. So it's pigs and it's birds and things.


Two are chickens and chickens, you know, so so chickens emerges in waterfowl, but in fact, as a waterborne, innocuous aquatic virus and only travels to the lungs when placed in a land based bird, a terrestrial bird like chickens. And how would the duck and the chicken ever get together at the live animal markets? It's a way to pack them both together. And once the virus finds itself in the guts of a chicken, it no longer has the luxury of easy water-borne spread like chickens are paddling around in the pond.


Also, it's a fecal oral route in ducks and waterfowl as it existed for millions of years before we domesticated ducks. Once it finds its way into a chicken, it needs to mutate or die. It has to find a new way to travel. And does that, by changing to an airborne virus, actually infects the lungs. And that makes it that much more risky for terrestrial mammals such as ourselves. So what goes into it goes into, you know, chickens as this harmless virus comes out as the flu.


And what is it specifically about CFOs, animal agriculture that's fomenting this? Is it just the crowded conditions? Is it the way that they're, you know, immersed in their fecal matter? Is it the way that they're fed or treated like what are the contributing factors? So, yeah, all the above. So when we take thousands of animals and crammed these, you know, filthy football field sized sheds to like beak to beak or snout just now to top their own waste, it's just a breeding ground for disease rates, not just the sheer numbers and the overcrowding, but the, you know, the stress crippling their immune systems, the ammonia from the decomposing waste burning their lungs, the lack of fresh air, lack of sunlight.


Put all these factors together. Where you have is kind of the super storm kind of environment for the emergence of spread of of this perfect storm of the bird, the spread of super strains of influenza. Tragically, we don't tend to shore up the levees until after disaster strikes. And the bottom line is it's not worth risking the lives of millions of people for the sake of cheaper chicken.


Mm hmm. And I suspect that when you have so many of these animals in these types of conditions, that that then creates a situation in which you're kind of exacerbating the potential for mutation. Right. Because if it's getting spread amongst that population, then there's an exponential amount of it. And so it's replicating more rapidly.


It's like crowding a thousand pigs in an elevator. Right. One of them sneezes like what do you expect would happen? It's really the perfect, if you want if you were a mad scientist and wanted to breed a deadly, you know, flu virus, this is exactly the kind of conditions where you do in fact, they actually do these so-called serial transmission studies in a lab where when you want to make a pathogen more deadly, more lethal, more virulent, what you do is you pass it from animal to animal.


Normally, virulence is a controlled. There's a there's a there's a there's kind of a balancing act, a teeter totter between virulence and transmissibility. If the that's why in its natural state, influenza is completely harmless. Ducks never get sick. No waterfowl get sick because a dead duck can't fly. That virus wants to get to the next lake. How does it do that? By completely being innocuous, harmless, no symptoms. The duck doesn't even know it has it and just multiplies in the intestinal.


All and and goes on OK, but only when forced into environment where there is no cost to the virus to get virulent, I mean, the virus would like to get more virulent. The more views this, the more it could produce titers of virus. You have a huge viral load, but has to be really, really quiet about it because it might not spread as far. But as soon as you remove that restriction, remove that constraint. When a virus can knock you like a two by four and still transmit to the other because you're so backlogged.


Right. Because even immobilize hosts can spread. When that happens, then there's no limit to how virulent the virus can get. And that's what we had in the trenches of World War One, which is where we think the 1918 virus emerged from the trenches. And basically from the viruses standpoint, those same trench warfare conditions exist today in every industrial chickenshit, in every industrial egg operation, confined crowded stress, but by the billions, not just millions. That's fascinating.


Yeah, I never thought about it in those terms. Normally, yes, the virus would not want the host to perish because then the virus perishes. But when there's a population of, you know, hundreds of thousands of these animals, what's one dead animal if it can jump to the next one to continue to populate? So there's an evolutionary advantage. There's a selection pressure to get even more virulent to kill the animal quicker to make this violent hacking cough, I mean, to you.


And so it just ratchets up, but only in those kind of rare circumstances, either in the lab where you can literally dose an animal, you stick a needle down their throat, and then and then you can take the take their lungs. You grind them up into a blender and you stick that needle down another animal. But you do that you do that 10 times. You can a and you can take a harmless virus turned into a lethal virus, kills 100 percent of the animals because which virus is selected for when they're guaranteed transmission to the next one, the one that the outcompetes the others.


Right. Otherwise, normally it would you know, if if in the millions of years where influenza exists, naturally, if some crazy mutant strain came up, that was more it would instantly be selected against and die there with that animal because it's just not going to spread much farther, just created this system to create, you know, virulent, particularly virulent pandemics. So or we may always have pandemics, but there's a difference between a pandemic with a point four case fatality rate, one 250 people dying and something like like so-called Category five pandemic, that the CDC has a pandemic severity index similar to like hurricanes severity index with categories one through five and a Category five pandemic starts at two percent mortality.


So nineteen there's only been one Category five pandemic in 1918. And that's but that's just where Category five starts at two percent. Wow. And so covid coeds are two, right?


No covid point for the correct category. What category is it in.


So. Oh, so, so that makes it a Category one pandemic. Right now we are in a Category one pandemic, which is less of a sorry Category two pandemic point under point five. So we are Category two pandemic and never before has there been flu viruses.


With a fatality rate on order of something like Ebola or untreated HIV, I'm assuming you have the worst of both worlds, something like the common cold, a respiratory virus easily transmitted, infecting a significant percentage of the population within months, and a virus with just unprecedented lethality with H5N1 and and ten other bird flu viruses that have emerged completely unknown in the last few decades, ever since we started exporting our taison model of industrial poultry production to South Asia.


It's terrifying. It's absolutely terrifying. What determines the jump to humans? How does that work? Because we you know, we hear about these wet markets in Asia and that's really about one species to another species. And then a subsequent jump to humans.


Right. Right. And so right for the the there's been three deadly coronavirus outbreaks, SARS, more and covid-19. And they all seem to have evolved. It seemed to involve this transitional species starting in bats, the reservoir species, just like for influenza, its ducks and waterfowl. Sure think. But yeah, but the virus is so far removed from something that can infect humans. There is never been a single reported kind of human clinical infection from a duck virus.


I mean, they all all influenza viruses. But there's one case of someone cleaning out a duck Barngarla piece of straughn there. I get a little conjunctivitis, a little pink eye as the worst a duck virus has ever been able to do. Only through these land based terrestrial birds like quail and chigger. Is the virus able to mutate to the flu, the respiratory pathogen that can infect humans and pigs and other kind of land based mammals. So in coronaviruses, bats are the original.


And the reason why bats and ducks are I have these herd viruses is because they congregate in massive ma in the huge herd. And it's a group that roosting colonies can be a half million bats together and only have those kind of circumstances. Can you get a can you get a viral pathogen able to infect large populations? Because normally if there's just small colonies of various animals, everyone gets immune to the virus. The virus dies. So you don't have so you can't really have kind of a herd virus.


But when you have these massive colonies of hundreds of thousands of dogs or bats, they can develop they can start basically an infection on one side, go all the way to the other side of the population, and then this one loses immunity to go back and forth and it can exist. So in bats, we have this coronaviruses, but it takes but people are getting infected directly from bat. There's an intermediate species kind of halfway between kind of a stepping stone species between bats and people.


In the case of SARS, it was this cat like creature called the civet cat raised in these live animal markets. In the case of Meurs, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, it was camels with bats, to camels, to people like Scopa, 19, leading candidate for the intermediate species is these Penglase, these scaly anteater type creatures, again, in these live animal markets where you can get this kind of confluence of unusual species that you'd never really get together in nature and can and create these viruses with the characteristics we haven't seen.


And what is the degree of difficulty for, you know, the virus that's, you know, being harbored in the chicken farms, the pig farms to jumping to humans? Like, what are we looking at in terms of, you know, we've had swine flu is, et cetera. We've never seen a true pandemic emanate out of factory farming yet. I mean, you're painting a thousand nine. So that 2009 was our first factory farm pandemic. We just got lucky.


That was there is a narrative that that came out of China, though. But did that actually come out of the United States? It was actually factory farms or was the origin story out of aging. So influenza viruses, influenza virus has segment segmented genome. There are eight genes. I mean, six out of the eight came from a triple mutant hybrid. This was a never before described bird swine human virus, a virus with genes from all three species that arose in North America.


And in fact, the first the double hybrid first was discovered in this factory farm gestation crate facility of pregnant pigs in Newton Grove, North Carolina, very rapidly this triple hybrid being spread throughout North America. And then we exported it to Mexico. We exported it around the world where it mixed with a Eurasian swine flu to create the pandemic. But six out of eight of the of the pandemic virus came was birthed in here in North America.


Well, given that factory farming is essentially how. Most Americans are getting their food and the prospect that this is a breeding ground for future pandemics, what do we do? I mean, is there a solution short of eradicating this entire system? You know, I want to talk about Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren's new bill that they just proposed to. I'm not sure exactly what the details are, the Farm System Reform Act and what's packed into that. But, you know, what is the path forward?


What is the solution to this? Knowing that we can't flick a switch and end factory farming overnight, how do we get on on the right side of history with this so? Well, it's important to realize that the public health community has been has a consensus. So the American Public Health Association, which is the largest and oldest association of public health professionals in the world, came out over a decade ago calling for a moratorium on factory farms, no more factory farming.


So the public health community has recognized the risk and has been shouting from the rooftops and no one's been listening. So this is I mean, this is this is what the public health community understands to be the risk not only for the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, but because of the threat of pandemic flu, both from poultry production and from pig production. And certainly there are things we can do to reduce the risk. So, for example, there are studies showing that just providing straw bedding for pigs so they don't have the immunosuppressive stress of lying on bare concrete their whole lives significantly reduces swine flu transmission rates.


The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production came out specifically against these extreme confinement practices, like the gestation crates for pregnant pigs, these kind of veal crate like boxes that are where pigs, pregnant pigs are kept for four months at a time, and specifically because of the human health risk of putting animals under these kind of conditions. And so, you know, these are the animals needed social distancing. Frankly, they could use a little breathing room at this point.


But if we really want to eliminate this threat, we really have to accelerate the movement away from animal agriculture towards plant based milks, plant based meats, plant based egg products. And for those of you thinking that such a move is a pipe dream. Have you looked at a dairy case lately? Right. Major U.S. dairy companies declaring bankruptcy because of crashing fluid milk sales, because of this preponderance of new consumer choices. And we're seeing that same kind of increase in consumer choices in the meat aisle as well.


And ironically, who is leading this charge in innovating us out of this precarious situation? Tyson, Perdue, Smithfield, Hormel, JBS, the largest meat packers in the world. All right. Now have plant based meat products out. Now, JBS, the largest ME burger in the world, just came out with their own line. A plan because, you know, Smithfield is partnering with KFC in China to put these chicken nuggets on the menu. I mean, these are so this isn't like the tofurkey of give for some vegetarian niche product.


Right. They are recognizing, particularly with the pressures on the on the you know, the the sauce chain that this pandemic has shown. It's more profitable. It's less labor cost, less food safety issues. I mean, all down on down the risk of the externalities of business as usual. They see the writing on the wall and they're reorienting themselves as protein companies rather than meat companies. And so that so they're the ones that that are really leading the charge in terms of putting these these products into the hands of kind of, you know, regular, you know, regular consumers.


And now from a personal health standpoint, you know, it'd be better if they just eat some black beans. But from a pandemic threat standpoint, zero risk.


Yeah, I think it's it's imperative that these companies pivot and evolve. They're just responding to market pressure and consumer demand. They see that this is the direction that people are moving in. They understand that they're going to quickly become antiquated unless they diversify their product line and it's working. And that's why they're doing it right. We all hear about the beyond meets and the impossible foods. But it is interesting that these stalwart, you know, gigantic conglomerates that have been around forever are also waking up to this reality and making these pivot shifts.


Yeah, the question is, are we going to do it fast enough?


Well, I mean, the clock is. Ticking, I mean, that's why and but if they're so what we needed is some kind of kick in the pants, some kind of dress rehearsal, some kind of fire drill to wake us out of our complacency. Right. And to really rethink the food system. And if, frankly, if this doesn't do it right, I don't know if it is, it will. But I mean, you would hope it would unite us.


It would really take something like this serious enough to really get people to rethink weightism. Where did this come from? What can we prevent future much potentially worse threats down the road? But now the idea of a pandemic is not some just, you know, something on policy papers and people been yelling about in the scientific literature. Now it's real life. Yeah. And so and we can and we can see what kind of viruses are in the pipeline and realize, look, even more innovative approaches.


I mean, for those out there who are like, you can you can yank that pork chop from my cold dead hands is the cultivated meat revolution. The thought that look which Winston Churchill wrote in this 1932 Popular Mechanics article, you know, will, we will escape the absurdity in 50 years of growing a whole chicken just to get a wing or brassed or whatever. Well, now we're making real meat with animal cells, right? With muscle cells.


Right. I make I make a skeleton. I make all that stuff and eat. And again, from a personal standpoint, right. Meat is meat. Certainly from a food safety standpoint, it'd be safer. I mean, you don't have to worry about intestinal pathogens like E. coli, salmonella when you're making meat without intestines or you don't have to cook the crap out of the meat. No crap to begin with. Right. And just like you don't have to worry about brewing up new respiratory viruses when you're making meat without the lungs.


Right. And so that may that that's another route to to escape us from this sort of Damocles dangling over us, which hopefully finally people will recognize.


Yeah, well, a year ago, the Booker Warren Bill would have seemed preposterous. But here we are. The world is very different. People are paying attention to this in a new and different way.


We all saw the news articles when the meat producers were putting out ads about or there were articles coming out about the supply chain problems and the threat to the workers. And there was this sort of conversation around should these people go back to work, should they not? I was looking at videos of some of these slaughterhouse workers who are basically putting themselves in harm's way and frustrated that the meat packer employers were not enforcing some level of social distance or kind of health standards to protect its workforce like this is, you know, also about those workers who are in peril as a result of this.


And I think it is good that we are talking about these things. What do you know what the the Booker Warren Bill is proposing?


So it's it's proposing reforms like the elimination of some extreme confinement practices, like you mentioned, would help me.


So anything, you know, reducing broiler stocking density, you know, in terms of meat type birds, I mean, and we can show in laboratory settings you double the space per bird and you can dramatically drop influenza transmission rates in these birds. And so, I mean, look, you know, anything, all right? The situation is so dire. Anything is better than anything we can do. And this is the time to have this opportunity. And look, right now is the last I mean, at this point, the last thing we need to do is prop up the meat industry, even for the current pandemic.


I mean, look at the the comorbidities, the underlying health risk factors, increasing one's risk of covid-19 severity and death, type two diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, all of which can be prevented, arrested or even reversed with a healthy enough plant based diet. I mean, look, you don't even have to be obese. Just being overweight at a BMI of twenty eight puts you at nearly six times the risk of a severe course of covid-19.


So that's being about 175 pounds that the average average American height nearly six times the risk of a severe course. You know, the average BMI in the United States. Twenty nine. So being skinnier than the average American could still leave you with so much excess body fat. That puts you at nearly six times the risk. Wow. And yet so, you know, so so this is the time to you know, if you're ever going to start an exercise program or stress reduction or get your sleep schedule right or, you know, reduce stress or start eating healthy, this is the time.


Let's take advantage for those of us who are privileged enough, not have to have to be on the front line to, you know, clean up our act and only protect us against the current infectious disease.


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OK, back to the show. I want to get into some of those practices, but before we do that, I want to talk about where we're at right now. We're looking at the potential of 100000 new cases a day. You know, anybody who's looked at any of these graphs is seeing this spike upward. That's relative. You know, it's pretty alarming. Clearly, we've done a poor job at containing this.


It's been a political disaster, a public health disaster where what is your sense of where we're at, how we've handled this and what we should be doing, not just a poor job, but the poorest job and I mean the world over.


So you look at I mean, you don't have to go, you know, dig up, you know, South Korea and Singapore and Australia and, you know, these these islands look the look at Europe, for example, about the similar population as U.S. and Western Europe. And they are, you know, got caught unawares just like everybody and had the spike but came back down. They truly have a wave. Right.


We're talking about is it going to be second wave, the first wave in the United States going to Westway? We're still in the first wave. And so if you look at the pandemic, the the epidemic curves around the world. They go up. They come down even with comparable population sizes except the United States, which continues to rage on. But, you know, you look at, you know, Japan where you know, oh, my God, they had 10 deaths or, you know, Australia, a hundred deaths.


The milestone, they reached 100 deaths. And they said, yeah, they have ten times smaller population. Yeah. But we have a thousand times more deaths. I mean, you know. Yeah. And so when you hear all South Korea, they're having problems again. Oh they had do you know they had five cases somewhere in there. I mean and you know, my concern is not just these deep red states, you know, like Arizona and Florida, but look what's happening in California.


And I think it's because California never saw what New Yorkers saw. I mean, they never saw the hospitals overrun. Right, because we caught it early enough in California, the first state to really take action, that it worked too good. And so people didn't see the hospitals overrun. People didn't see, you know, doctors having to make triage decisions as to who gets the ventilator and who doesn't. And so there was this complacency that in this kind of black and white thinking, like we're just back to business, as opposed to still taking precautions, particularly for those who were elderly, particularly those with these underlying risk factors who are still at great risk.




And once the protests began, the floodgates opened. It's very hard to put that back in the bottle.


Right. Although, you know, now that we're weeks out, I'm thankful. We did not see the uptick that was suspected by many and we think it's because of of being outdoors. So in 1918, a lot of the transmission was actually driven by these war bonds marches where they got people together during the pandemic to raise money for World War One. And was and and that was implicated in a lot of spread. So even outdoors. But now with the current virus, whatever the transmission, it really does seem the high risk is enclosed, indoor, poorly ventilated, crowded spaces for extended periods of time.


That's where these so-called super spreader events are happening. That's where you can get, you know, 60 percent of people walking out of a bar or later coming down affected. Whereas despite the crowded conditions outdoors, you have once you're outside, you have the ultimate ventilation, one little air current and, you know, any little respiratory droplets or aerosol that gets, you know, that you you breathe out, even if you're chanting, even if you're yelling, even if you're hacking because of tear gas.


These are I mean, these are conditions built for the bars. You have the you know, all you need is a little breeze. And we did not see that kind of right.


Thankfully, it seems that were every week we're learning a little bit more and we're having to figure out, you know, how to dismiss what we thought was previously correct. You know, we were disinfecting all our groceries and we don't do that anymore. And I thought, are we supposed to be doing that? Should we be doing that or am I just being lazy? You know, wearing masks, of course, is a given. But I think it would be helpful to just point people in the right direction in terms of, you know, just kind of piggybacking on what you just said, what are the most effective things that we should be doing?


What are some of the things that we're doing that perhaps we don't need to? I just don't know where that demarcation line is. There's a lot and I'm trying to educate myself and I'm still confused. You know, I know that I need to wear masks. I watch videos of where you can see how it impedes the expectoration of your breath. But, you know, if somebody is smoking a cigarette, you know, 100 yards away from me, I can smell it.


So if I'm smelling that, does that mean that if that person is infected, that I'm potentially breathing that, too? Like, it's very confusing even for somebody who's actively trying to get to the best practices.


Right. So. Right. Even the most conscientious among us are still having difficulty separating kind of the wheat from the chaff and knowing what we know, what we really don't know. And so I think early on when we really didn't know the transmission characteristics of this virus, now all past pandemics have been influenza pandemics and we know so much about influenza, it was easy for us to know, OK, we know exactly how it spread. We know exactly how to to clamp it down.


But this is a new virus. And so we really didn't know the transmission characteristics. And so something like the surface disinfection of anything coming into the house. I mean, I think early on that was a legitimate act because we just didn't know how much the so-called Funmi transmission, the doorknobs and light switches and toilet flushes and gas pump handles, we didn't know how much was contact, you know, then touching our mucous membranes, eyes, nose, mouth before disinfecting our hands.


Now, we know that is that is not the primary means of transmission. And so and now that we had enough time where people have been isolated in home, their only contact with the outside world was delivered groceries and delivered food. And we have not seen valid cases even among people that aren't taking any special precautions. OK, so now we can breathe a sigh of relief and we can and we can take in this information, realize, OK, now we we know what to prioritize in life in terms of of reducing our risk.


And what's the priority? Distance, distance, distance. That's really I mean, there's this really overinflated reliance on masks that give us a false sense of security, that masks are not to protect us. The masks are to protect other people from us. Right. It reduces those respiratory droplets that come out of our mouth with conversational speech, which is normal exhalation. And and the thing about this virus as well as influenza, you become contagious before you start showing symptoms.


And so days after being exposed to this virus, you can feel perfectly fine, look perfectly fine and be exhaling virus with every breath. And that's why if you don't know who's infected and who's not, that's where the social distancing coming in without sufficient testing. You don't know who's infected is not thing. So you just have to try to keep everybody away from everyone else. That's what the social distancing measures were implemented for. And still, the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves is, I mean, it's like it's the good news that you cannot get the virus if the virus cannot get to you.


And how do we get the virus from other people. So reducing as much as possible our contacts outside of our outside of our household. And if we have to have contacts outside of our household, it's for a short time in as well ventilated areas possible, particularly for those that are vulnerable or. For those who come in contact with those who are vulnerable and so and so there's this great Asian's of risk, there's a risky behavior, there's the riskiest populations, and then all the way down to, you know, maintaining a sense of social cohesion.


But I mean, you realize, you know, as bad as covid-19 has been, we still the grocery stores are still being restocked. We still have electricity. We still have clean drinking water. Doctors are still showing up to work. You have a pandemic with something like eight, seven and nine H5N1 when case fatality rates like literally a flip of a coin, whether or not you die from this virus, then you can imagine how much worse the situation could be.


That's why it's OK. Yeah, it would be straight up apocalyptic if that was going on right now. And you hear stories like I just read a story the other day about a super spreader that a wedding in India. And I think 90 people contracted the virus as a result of attending that event. But there isn't some situation in which every worker at Ralphs is suddenly in the hospital, which is like I'm like, well, those people are kind of around people all day.


They're wearing masks, but. You know, I haven't heard of any grocery workers, at least on at scale, contracting the disease, so they're indoors, but I guess they're all wearing masks. So we're still trying to understand what's behind the super spreading event. So some of them like this, this famous choral group where 80 percent of those inlike got infected in one choral singing session. And you think, oh, well, not only indoors in one room, but they're you know, they're they're they're they're they're they're spewing virus out into the air.


And so that would that would that would make sense that that would be. And then you look at the meatpacking plants where it's so loud, you have to talk really loud shouting to people's ears and they're so packed tight and it's and it's chili, which actually may play a role in enhancing viral stability. And the prisons are now becoming hotspots. Again, that just makes sense. And so we can explain a lot of these, but there may be characteristics of certain people or certain strains of the virus that do in kind of whatever situation that would have been in could, you know, lead to mass infection and imagine being the bride and groom of that inviting people, I mean, or any kind of function.


Right. I mean, we really need to think before we have that, you know, before he went over to the House party. And just we should think, you know, what if our what if we heard what some of one of our dearest friends. Right. Or family.


So, you know, we just this is what Americans want, what they want when they know.


And this is this is they're seeing a little evidence of that. But this is the wake up call. This is I mean, it's really and it's not going away anytime soon. Right? I mean, I talk about in the book written months ago that, you know, that there's no reason we should respect that this should go away in the summer. Other coronaviruses, don't they, blah, blah, blah. And here it is, continued to rage on during the in the hot summer months.


And so and so the only way to stop a pandemic is through herd immunity. Having a certain portion of the populace immune to the virus and infection can only burn through a population if there are enough susceptible individuals for viral sparks to jump from one person to the next immune individuals who can't get or transmit the virus act as firebreaks to slow the spread or like control rods in a nuclear reaction to break the chains of transmission. Now, ideally, this herd immunity is achieved through mass vaccination, right?


Vaccines are a way to to use like fire to fight fire, use the virus to fight the virus by generating the benefits of infection immunity without generating the risks with disease and death. And without a vaccine, then herd immunity is only achieved the hard way through mass infection. But looking at the characteristics of the virus we have now, we suspect herd immunity will be achieved when 60 or 70 percent of the population is infected, when there's that many people who are immune.


This is assuming that we have some kind of at least short term immunity. One 60 or 70 percent of the population is unable to get or transmit this virus. Then the 30 to 40 percent who are completely susceptible are protected by everybody else. And the bar stops, the pandemic ends. And so the goal, particularly if you're older, particularly if you're if you're sick or any of these underlying risk factors, you want to end up in the 30 to 40 percent where at the end of all this the pandemic is over and you never get infected, you never were at risk.


And that's the goal. And hopefully we'll be able to get that through vaccines. But we need to realize reality check vaccines historically taken 11 years, that's the average and has a 94 percent failure rate. I mean, 94 percent never made to market. Now that this is a totally different situation, we have literally 150 candidate vaccines in the pipeline. So the whole world is is jumping on this. So we should certainly see an accelerated timeline. But, you know, you have to test in enough people to ensure its safety.


And so we should not expect to have a borehole vaccine for the general population until the second half of next second, unless it's a long way off and herd immunity is a long way off. Short of that, what would have to happen?


I mean, so we're about five to eight percent, five to eight percent of Americans have been infected so far now. I mean, now, unfortunately, some of the some of the early data on immunity is possible that immunity to this virus may be short lived. So we're seeing that a lot with coronaviruses. There's other coronaviruses for which you come back months later. So like cough, common cold coronaviruses, 45 weeks or so, four to five weeks immunity, and then you're just as susceptible again.


So it's possible we get. To a flu vaccine kind of scenario where you'd have to get vaccinated every year to maintain immunity to this virus, but some of the early data suggests that some of the people that got infected early may now start to become susceptible again based on the level of so-called neutralizing antibodies in their blood, the ones that really target kind of the receptor mechanism of this virus, we have yet to test. What's happening with their T cells is actually to memory immune systems in the body.


The antibodies and the T cells both can retain memory of of of an infectious exposure and gave that lasting immunity. So far, we've tested antibodies and they've been disappointing may only last weeks in terms of infection. So then herd immunity is much more difficult to achieve. But we have yet to really see what's happening with with these memory t cells. Maybe that will give us the and that's what we saw with SARS. SARS antibody levels went down. They had some memory.


Thankfully, we eradicated SARS from the planet. And how could we get rid of that deadly coronavirus? And we're having such problems with this one, because with that one, you only became infectious after you started showing symptoms. In fact, Peak Infectivity was 10 days after you started coughing, cough, fever. 10 days later, you're spreading it all, put up fever monitors in your ear. You stop it. I mean, it's still 8000 people got infected and killed, about 10 percent killed about 800 people.


But we could stop it. We didn't know that we could have a coronavirus where we'd have the flu like infectivity during incubation period, infectious before show symptoms. And that's that's what that's why we're in The Situation Room. Right. Right.


Well, it would seem important to be able to answer that question about whether we can contracted again, critical long that really it right for.


Yes, for vaccines, for everything. So have you know there was this talk of having an immunity passport, reproving? I have, Randi. And of course, the concern, if that gave you some kind of perks, you had better jobs or whatever, people would infect themselves, like I have like Corona parties, and then you could get the immunity. But if we really don't have immunity that don't last for a few months, then what what does it even mean to have gotten the virus, if you can get it again a few months later?


Yeah, we've been doing antibody testing here and with regularity. People are disappointed to find out that they didn't have it. And everybody, you know, thinks, oh, in February, I had a you know, I was sick, so I probably had it. I woke up with the sniffles, one of these wherever I am. But and and it's possible that having an asymptomatic case like you test positive, but you never really or you had a mild case symptoms, you actually may even get less immunity from that.


And that it really may take because it kind of passed under your immune system radar and you just had and that that your body was able to squash it so quickly that your body didn't have to mount much of a response at all. Right. Right. And so it considers it such kind of mild. I'm not going to worry about mounting this constant. Like right now, your your bone marrow is pumping out anti chicken pox vaccine antibodies right now. And will for the rest of your life, if you had chicken pox as a child, as almost everybody has, and your body's wasting lots of energy every single day, making chicken pox, making the measles, making a.


. And if a lot generates a lot, in fact, immune cells expend more energy than your heart cells, which are pumping every single day. These are huge. They're literally pumping out millions of antibodies every minute. It's just these little, you know, I mean, but that's because that was our one of our primary threats to our existence on this planet. Historically, throughout evolution were the infectious disease threats because bacteria and viruses multiply so much quicker than we do.


And so we had to was this back and forth, you know, they'd get a little better. Our immune systems would, you know, catch up. But they've got a few billion year head start on us evolutionarily. And so that's why we use our brains to develop technology, to be able to squash it. And vaccines are the technology that allowed us to, for example, eliminate smallpox from the planet Earth. Literally hundreds of millions of people used to die because of a disease that is now gone from the face of the earth and some bio warfare labs.


And and, you know, 1976, I think the last case ever thanks to vaccines. So anyone says, you know, questions, vaccines, you know, we that was probably the greatest public health victory of all time, was the elimination of smallpox. There is no longer disease. And that was thanks to vaccination. And so we should we should we should hope and pray we have a safe and effective vaccine for this in the future.


On the on the subject of herd immunity, what do you make Swedens.


Oh. Strategy? Well, you can ask what they made at it and they they now realize it was a mistake. And they have some of the highest infection, death rates in in Europe, in fact, around the world. And so they they but but but if we like, we're looking at that at a discrete point on the timeline two or three years from now, if we're still grappling with this in a in a, you know, in a material way and they're not, you know, I feel like, you know, are we able to really evaluate the merits or demerits of that strategy right now?


Well, even even in the most infected. So even in Stockholm, which I think has the highest post infection rates, they were still at 25 percent. So they're raging now. And so they are still fighting now. We're much farther from herd immunity situation. But the point is to keep the disease and death at a low enough rate until we achieve that, until that level of community is changed. And that has to happen kind of across the board unless you completely close off your borders like they were able to do very successfully in New Zealand.


So if Trump called you up in the middle of his podcast and said, Gregor, I need you in the White House, tell me what to do, what would you know if you're in charge? If you're sitting in Falchi situation right now? What's the what's the problem? Well, first of all, I say, look, I'm in a Rich World podcast. I got my four week wait till we're done. Right. But but all right. But we're not going to have a moment.


Well, it's really putting the experts back in charge. So, I mean, in any other circumstance, the CBC would have been leading this charge. I mean, they've been effectively silenced. Right. And the same thing with I mean, I know like to see Rand Paul told told Falchi was not being optimistic enough to muzzle me.


I mean, and and so when when we don't have the experts in charge, I mean, this is this is this and this is not just happened in the U.S. I happened to a certain extent in Brazil, in U.K., a number of places where they can have these kind of this kind of autocratic response instead of listening to the two experts who have spent, you know, their lives doing this. And so there are good sources of information. I do want to put a plug in for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.


Michael Osterholm has a weekly podcast. I'm so is one of the sanest voices been doing this work for 45 years. I remember when I was doing my work, I'm in this, you know, 20 years ago. I mean, he was a leading, you know, leading the charge way back then and was, you know, with HIV and down the road. And so it's people like him and Fauci who have this is they've spent their entire lives studying this.


And so then to have pandemic preparedness, you know, documents going back when I was writing about this and that and, you know, I was kind of late to the game 14 years ago or so, you know, we had I mean, you know, but then we had all this this, you know, these plans and they just threw it out the window. I mean, we just didn't follow what we needed to do. And I mean, it's very difficult politically, because if it doesn't if you're not if it doesn't look like you're overreacting, they're not doing enough, frankly.


I mean, because we have the it's the mathematics of exponential spread during a pandemic. And now in retrospect, we know, oh, we had one case, we had 10000. I mean, we had you know, and so you're always late to the game, but it always looks like you're you're you're you're you know, you know, Chicken Little because there's only a few cases. You know what I mean?


You know, let's not. Right. Let's not, you know, the impact to the economy as such. And this was certainly a new virus. I mean, so they shouldn't for early missteps. There's, you know, you know, very few places around the world where ahead of the curve and the ones that were like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, they had recently suffered deadly coronavirus outbreak. So South Korea in 2015 had this murres outbreak.


Some businessmen came back from from the Middle East and started spreading. And so they had this testing and tracing public health infrastructure intact. The other countries suffered recent SARS outbreaks. Right. So they had experienced this firsthand on their soil. Their populace was ready. They understood the risks and were ready to do whatever the experts were told was necessary. And so they were able to jump ahead of the curve. And you get on this, you start the social distancing measures two days, three days early, and you have this mathematical modeling modeling suggesting you could literally, you know, prevent millions of cases in the long run.


If, you know, a week earlier you did this a few days earlier did this. And that's because once it spreads out of control, it's very hard to kind of put the put the lid back on. Right.


I think that's what we're experiencing now. I mean, the difference being that there wasn't that kind of popular will because the SARS in the Meurs, like we knew about them, but they didn't really land on our shores in a meaningful way.


Right. Right. In fact. Right. SARS never did SARS hit Canada, never actually made it into the states. And so. Right. So we didn't have that that history, but we certainly had experts who spent their whole lives preparing for that situation, in fact. I was part of these there were, you know, these governmental drills where we all got together, all we have these, you know, sick chickens in Maryland, in the end, what's going to happen and what kind of decisions we have to make.


And there was all this kind of, you know, war time game planning for, you know, you know, departments and but, you know, it just it just went out the window when and so, OK, so early missteps, right, where you can forgive around the world for countries that have not had a recent history. But then. Right. But now, even a few months ago, we were far enough in to realize the situation we were in and had to take a much more serious.


But there was this sense of what we just have to lock down for, you know, 10 days or we just have to do this. And it's going to be very temporary. And Mike and all the scientists are looking at each other saying, like, what world you live in.


Right. But having said, all the messaging is so confusing and it's not cohesive and there is no sense that there's a real plan. So we kind of did that for a while and then we kind of tiptoed out and then suddenly we're protesting in the streets and now we're like, ah, well, now we see the spikes, but are we going to go back home? And nobody's really, you know, taking the reins to articulate in a clear, cohesive manner what the steps are that we all have to get on board with in order to get on top of this.


So I just feel like it's just going to it's going to run its course and people are going to do what they're going to do right now short of some, you know, catastrophic spike that's going to get people to wake up again because getting them to go sequester in place after the many months of, you know, what we've been experiencing, I think is going to be very difficult.


Yeah, yeah. But I mean, that's I mean, but that's if you if you can the fewer people come in contact with spending on time outs, I mean, and the farther you can be away and the more I mean, that's just, you know, now having said that, if you are under the age 50, none of these comorbid conditions, the chances of you dying for this virus, one of the thousand. Right. I mean, we are talking about a in the scheme of things, a wimpy virus is a Category two pandemic.


But, you know, we should all be, you know, well informed as to what's risky, what's not risky, what can we do to reduce our risk? Should we have to come into contact? And then the you know, you know, it's right. Well, setting aside the co morbidity factors, you know, if you're not obese, have high blood pressure, heart disease, et cetera, if you're not in a nursing home, you are in a much better position to combat this should you come into contact with it.


But we've all heard the stories of young fit people who have either perished or gotten so tremendously ill that they're having trouble recovering. So let's talk a little bit about this narrative that it's just like the flu or it's just a little bit more serious than the flu. Like what is the difference between the flu? Like, as we kind of understand it as Americans versus the experience of contracting this disease and what happens to your body when you have it?


Yeah, so I mean, so for those in the public health community, even saying something is as bad of the flu as a way to minimize it, doesn't it? For infectious disease? Folks, flu is a scourge that kills tens of thousands of Americans every you know, every year. And and, you know, unfortunately, the annual flu vaccine is not very effective. Between 30 to 50 percent decreased risk, which, hey, better nothing. But, you know, we're unable to really put a put a lid on this virus come surging back every year.


And it's been the leading cause of death. So I have a chapter on it now not to die because one of the leading causes of death of, you know, this lower respiratory tract infections or pneumonia primarily caused by influenza.


And so but this is but a bad flu year has a point one case fatality rate when a thousand people are getting it. Whereas for covid-19, we're looking at a point for now. So at least four times worse. And of course, it depends on on what age group you fall and with. That's kind of all across the board. Unfortunately, here in the United States, even without taking obesity into account over age 50, most Americans actually have some comorbid condition, either high blood pressure or heart disease or diabetes.


And so. Yeah, and so so, you know, all these these lifestyle medicine pushes to enhance, you know, to to increase our resistance against chronic disease sometime in the future. Now is helping us right. Right now. And so, you know, this message to, you know, better take care of ourselves and family has never been more kind of poignant.


There isn't enough discussion about what we can do to buttress our immunity or, you know, make sure that our immune response is intact and healthy. And a corollary to that is also I think there's this idea that we want our immune system to be as robust as possible. But is it possible that it can become too robust? Yeah. That's the irony here, so we have amazing studies showing the simple foods can boost one's immune function videos, nutrition facts that we're talking about, randomized double blind placebo controlled trials showing that, for example, broccoli sprouts can reduce viral loads for influenza, decrease virus induced inflammation, boost antiviral natural killer cell activity.


But this isn't the flu. Unlike other common viruses, coronaviruses do not have not been shown to cause more severe disease in immunocompromised people, those with HIV, those on chemotherapy, or who think they're vulnerable to other infections, not to coronavirus infections, including covid-19 said. Wait a second, how does that make any sense? Because it's your own immune system that's the primary driver of lung damage during infection, during the second week of infections during the infection, the second week of symptomatic infection with covid-19.


The virus can trigger what's called a cytokine storm, which is like an autoimmune reaction where your body overreacts. And in attacking the virus and your attacking virus, your lungs get caught in the crossfire and in, you know, burning down the village in order to save it. We may not make it through that process. So while I'm certainly in favor of common, you know, common sense, generalized, you know, advice to stay healthy, such as sufficient sleep and staying active and reducing stress, staying connected, I'll be, you know, remotely with friends and family eating healthy.


But I would not, you know, take a specific go out of your way, take a specific supplement or the specific food to boost some element of your immune system until we know more about this virus, because potentially we could be doing more harm when we're well-intentioned and trying to do good. I've been hammering the broccoli sprouts and also vitamin D, we're hearing a lot about vitamin D, so what are your thoughts on that so far?


So there are a number of of vitamins and minerals that are critical for optimal immune function. Vitamin D is one of them, vitamin C, zinc, selenium. But there's no evidence to suggest that Supre normal levels have any benefit. So you need sufficient for a functioning immune system. So all the studies that show, for example, zinc improves heart outcomes for disease. So you give zinc to children with pneumonia, significantly decrease mortality rates, randomized placebo controlled trials, zinc versus sugar pills to children with pneumonia, those given the zinc significantly less likely to die.


But where every single one of these studies been done in sub-Saharan Africa, Ecuador, places where there is micronutrient deficiency. So if you find a deficient population not getting enough zinc, giving them zinc can get bring them up to me. But if you have someone with functioning immune system, would adding zinc do any do any good? If you're if you're having enough if you have enough vitamin C of an isolated desert, there's no evidence that having higher levels.


So having said that, vitamin D deficiency is rampant, is rampant even in, you know, the probably the shining example of this is that there was a study of skateboarding teens in Hawaii. Right. And you just imagine them shirtless all day. Right. And they even they had these high rates. Why is that? Well, it's because we evolved running around naked in equatorial Africa, being baked in the sun all day long. And so if you want to know what normal vitamin D levels are, you measure people who work outside all day long.


I mean, that's what that's kind of a natural level of vitamin D. And so we were never meant to have these winters inside and wear clothes and all these things that cut down on their natural vitamin D production. And so for people that don't get sufficient midday sun, particularly those with darker skin, in particular those who were older, particularly those with more body fat, may need to supplement with vitamin D. And so I would recommend 2000 international units of vitamin D three a day for those who get insufficient sun.


That's what I do because I'm inside. I'll Tagami agami d levels tested once before I supplemented and I had the D levels of an institutionalized elder like these people who are like in nursing homes and literally never got outside. That was me in front of my laptop. Mr. Nutrition stuck in there. Right? I mean, I just never got to work today. I got better. Right? What do you mean? And so. Right. So in fact, 2000 was enough for me.


So 2000 would get most people from the general level up to optimal level. Right. But for me, who got no sun, I had to take it more.


So a couple of questions on that. It's not about megadose saying. It's about just making sure that you're not deficient. But I think it's probably safe to presume that there's a good chance you are deficient because so many people are short of getting a blood test to determine that. If you are depleted or deficient, how long does it take to restore you know that? Balance is not happen quickly or does it, in fact, so rapidly that you can actually randomize people with infection to vitamin D while they have the infection and improve disease outcomes?


And so that's good. You increase their levels, wall the wall. I mean, so literally within the days, your immune systems like, come on, people, we need some vitamin D right now. Right. And so. Right. So, so very rapidly we're able to improve. And the same thing with these studies. Right. They gave them to kids not before they got infected to see how they if they got infected, how they do literally.


They were already sick, gave them zinc, and then a few days later, they were alive or dead whether or not they took sick. So. And another problem with zinc is there isn't even a blood test. You can get tested for zinc sufficiency if you want to. But if you are so. But if you're eating a nutrient rich diet. Right. Which is where all where all vitamins and minerals come from, with only two exceptions, it's just from the ground.


And so by eating them and plants, madame. And that's where the that's where we should get ideally, with the two exceptions of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin B 12, which may about microorganisms which blanket the earth, but we know chlorinate our water supply, don't don't get a little bit warmer water, don't get a lot of cholera either. That's a good thing. We have a nice sanitary system.


But again, because the way we live in our modern world, like with vitamin D, because we live in a modern world, we have to make sure we get a regular reliable source about it would be troubling.


What other what other foods should we be mindful of making sure that we're getting that our nutrient rich in the way that we want or need it, given little bits of fruits, vegetables, legumes, the same litany rice, beans, lentils, chickpeas, split beans, whole grains, desertions by as much as real food grows out of the ground fields, not factories. And it's the you know, it's the it's it's the basic stuff. Right. This is where you ever get tired of talking about this?


Oh, my gosh. Well, I mean, but it's even more relevant now. And if and if people are going to start eating healthy now because they don't want to die from the virus. And and my my secret plan is for them not to get breast cancer in 10 years and not die of a heart attack. Look, whatever it takes for them. Right. I would appeal to vanity, tell people helps with acne. I mean, anything to get people to eat healthy because they know it's going to save their lives later on.


And so maybe this will have the side benefit of starting some healthy habits. They're going to stick with them and thanks to the pandemic, are not going to, you know, croak in ten years a stroke. What about viral load? We hear a lot about viral load, right? You touched on it a little bit ago that that, you know, we want to avoid these, you know, indoor kind of hotspot settings where we're in close proximity to each other.


But I'm not sure I fully understand the like. The idea is that you could potentially come into contact with the virus. But if it's in a passing way, if it's not in one of those cloistered kind of settings, that perhaps you're not going to contract the disease that you're smoker 50 feet away. Right. We have this sense that one one viral particle, we get exposed to the virus and also we get infected. And you must realize that even if someone with active tuberculosis coughs in your face, the chances of you getting tuberculosis like one or two hundred, really, because you have an immune system.


Now, if you have HIV or some time, you compare this with immune systems for we we were built to fight off invaders. Right. And so only under certain circumstances when we have sufficient called the viral load, when there's sufficient. And so so you pick a pathogen and there's an average viral load for E. coli bacteria, one E. coli bacteria. The odds that that's going to trigger infection, even though they multiply like crazy or one salmonella. No, it's it's you need you need a sufficient dose.


That's why, like pasteurization that's not about sterilizing milk cooking. It's not about sterilizing the meat. It's about reducing the the the number of infections. So that is below the infectious load. And so when it comes to respiratory pathogen, it's not that you have to prevent yourself from breathing in one particle. It's you have to reach a sufficient number of infectious particles. And whether that's a thousand, whether that's 10000, we unfortunately don't know yet with covid-19.


But we do know it for other respiratory pathogens. And you can I mean, you could dose it out. And how do you do it? Well, they do studies with influenza that young, healthy people that are really low likelihood of suffering and they little drip it in their nose so they drip a thousand in the nose to see how many percentage of 100 people dripped a their nose. They drip 10000. Right. And you can find out exactly how much.


So we don't have that data yet because we have a new virus. But we always know that. I mean, otherwise the disease was spreading more rapidly. So it is intensity of exposure and plus duration of exposure. So everyone's freaked out about elevators. Right. But how how long are you in that elevator? Right. It's so if you have someone in your home who is infected. And you have a studio apartment and they're not in their own room and they're hacking away, and they yes, they have a they have a cloth face covering and they're we're trying to wipe down all the doorknobs and we have the windows open and the exhaust fan on the stove going and in the bathroom going, you have an air purifier.


And like you were trying to do the best to maintain ventilation. You're living with that virus for a long period of time in the end. And that that puts you in extremely high risk, these crowded settings. And in fact, they do. Now, we have these beautiful studies where, you know, we've traced everyone back to one of these restaurant events and you and they have the little map of all the tables where all the people at the tables and here was the index case and everybody over here got it.


No one even sitting next to them over here. Got it. Why? Because the airflow was going this way. Right. Here they are. Read. Here's the air read. Everybody got it this way. And the person sitting three feet away, on the other hand, didn't get it is because these little tiny these are like little dust motes that you see when the sun's rays come in. They just kind of float around. But one little teeny breath, which is, you know, blow them to one end of the room or the other.


And so it's just being in this cloud of dust motes, breathe in one, breathe and to breathe in three. And it's and so when you look at these contact tracing apps and contact tracing protocols, they're asking, who have you been close to? That's the intensity under six feet and for more than 15 minutes who've been close to so.


So it's less than a minute that is that random or is that calculated? Is there a scientific basis?


Well, 15 minute window, not scientific basis for covid-19 because we don't know we don't know the parameters yet, but so that's based on other respiratory pathogens. So basically, all this modeling has to do. We have other mystery passengers who have common cold viruses. We have influenza viruses. And so we have other data from viruses we think transmit very similarly based on the data we have so far. So based on that, you know, we're not even going to call on the phone someone you spoke with directly face to face for ten minutes two days ago, and now you're in the hospital, that they aren't even likely that they're going a threshold, but some 15 minutes and they had to be close.


So 50 minutes, you spent all hours, but you were outside on the porch with someone who was eight feet away from you, not even to call them.


Then what about. Well, look where we're seeing a clampdown now on indoor dining, a lot of restaurants. And, you know, in California at least, they're closing some of open. They're closing back down. There's you know, every state is different, but. Airplanes seem like a bad idea, recycled air. We're seeing these airlines announce that they're not going to restrict their seating. You just were on a plane. I mean, that just seems like the worst idea.


So there's there's it's safer than being in a similarly confined space just because of the they're actually HEPA filtered through the air system. So you actually should have those. You can imagine being in a plane, not wanting that recycled air in your face. No, it's exactly what you want your face. You should open all three of those nozzles. If you're not sitting next to one point them all towards you. You have this wave of air pushing past your nose for.


So when someone walks down, that does that air is that air recycle, that's completely recyclable. Somebody in the back, it gets through, goes through a filter, which is not a perfect filter, but it does filter out the majority of the type of droplets we think are carrying this virus. And so you have this semi purified air puffer fish and everything else of washing everything else away.


Now, that is not a I would not consider that a low risk scenario.


But look, when you're going to be on the Rich Roll podcast, you take you run the cost benefit. You showed up then. I appreciate that. Taking that risk. What about what about masks? OK, so you go out in the world, you see all variety of masks from the guy with a who's got the bandana around his neck covering his mouth, but not his nose. You've got cloth masks like this. You've got the end 95.


Like, how important is it to have a high quality mask? What should we be thinking about when we're making that decision about what kind of mask?


So the only mask actually designed to protect the user, the wearer are these other 95 masks which were specifically designed for that purpose. They filter they're they filter the air coming in. And so that is what's being recommended for medical personnel. And but those this is not something you just you know, it has to be something that has to be fitted to your face, actually go through a fitting process in the hospital to make sure you have the right size for your face.


You can't even have a day of beard growth. So everybody with any facial hair covering that, that area is completely I mean, it breaks the seal. This is meant to be an airtight seal. And the material has this electrostatic charge that traps these microscopic little floating particles such that you can wear it with someone coughing active TB germs and been very effective for covid-19. Now, of course, you can infect yourself taking it on and off. And, you know, you can you can you there can be an inadequate seal for whatever reason you really shouldn't use.


It's meant to be disposable. Now, we don't have enough even for medical professionals. And so they have to reuse the masks. And we don't have enough data to show how many times you can be used and how soggy you can get and what kind of protection still exists. And can you reuse it after you decontaminate it on and on and on. And that's why. So no one is recommending in 95 masks for the public, not because they don't work, but because we don't have enough to go around.


Now, that's not our fault, right? That is a failure of the national stockpile. We should have had in ninety five for four for all medical professionals, as have other countries. In fact, other countries have provided, you know, surgical masks for their entire populace for free. And so now the surgical masks are meant to protect others from the wear. So that's why surgeons wear them. So they're not breathing germs into an open surgical wound.


That's at least the theory, although there's only been two randomized controlled trials and there's actually no drop in infection rates during surgery, surgeons wearing masks versus not wearing now. So even surgical masks are of questionable utility for cutting down on disease transmission and the cloth face coverings. There's no data to suggest that they're useful. Certainly during 1918, they were found not to be successful, the the benefit. So my concern is this false sense of security. Mm hmm.


The critical factor of getting affected is distance, distance, distance, like the time and distance. And so if you if you feel invulnerable or you feel lower risk because you have a mask on and you would go places you would not normally go or you would stay longer or be closer to people than you normally would, that's how a mass could actually increase your risk. Right. All indirect ways it could decrease risk of infection. The people who really need to be using, like the surgical mask, the klaus-peter, are for people who are actively hacking, coughing, actively symptomatic.


They're I mean, they are spewing out virus like crazy. They really need to be wearing masks if you go outside, no one's wearing a mask and you know you're infected and you have a fever and you're coughing, but you need to go to the drugstore. You live alone. You need to go outside. And no one else is wearing a mask, the social cost, but no one you know, of putting on a mask and flagging, I'm infected.


You can imagine how people might not do that. Whereas if by law or by decree or by social contract everyone's wearing a mask, you are more likely being symptomatic to wear a mask and protect others. And so that's a way how masks could really help, even if it doesn't necessarily cut much down on the asymptomatic transmission, which is what we're hoping. We're hoping that those tiny little respiratory droplets that we spew out of her mouth during normal conversational speech, we're going to trap some of those with a cloth face covering.


Do we have data showing that's the case? We do not. And so when the CDC came out and said we changed our minds based on the new data or based on the latest science, we are we are going to recommend everywhere where cloth face coverings. And you say you go to the CDC website. What's this new science? They say at the National National Institute of Medicine. And you go there and say, what did they do? And they came out said, masks are probably a good idea based on what data.


But they're very clear saying we have no data showing that they actually work.


Theoretically, it could cut down on some of this transmission again, not not helping the wearer, but helping other people from the where if they're infected and not even knowing it. But but this but my biggest concern, false sense of security. I have something on my face so I can go to the grocery store twice as many times as I did before. And I don't have to exactly stay as far away from other people as I you know, that's how mask could be.


Yeah, I think of it. Much like it's basically a. A tool for social distancing, like it sort of buying you a foot or two, right, like instead of making sure that I'm, you know, six feet apart, maybe I can be five feet apart, but it's not doing anything more than that, is that?


Or you can imagine it working even better.


The presence of Mask reminded people here during a pandemic. It looks weird walking around like cashiers. People are on the street.


It's amazing how quickly we normalize to it. I don't know. I just.


Yeah, I think it's normal. Right. I mean, it's funny when you look at these 19. So I was at the National Archives when I was writing the book and doing talks about it and going through and seeing all the, you know, major baseball, you know, back in the 1980s. Everyone's wearing masks. And the spectators just looked so weird that people would, you know, billy clubs and masks on. But now. Right. It's amazing how quickly.


But if it reminds you, for example, wearing wearing gloves on your hands and the reason there was no point wearing gloves on your hands in public, because you can just as easily, in fact, you know, rub your eye with your gloves as with your hands. And so you have to wash your hands, gloved or not. But if having bright pink gloves on your hands as you go to rub your you know, I mean, that reminds you.


And you just look down and it feels weird and it's awkward and everyone's looking at you because you've got draping it. If that keeps you mindful of the position of your hands, that could be a good thing. That could cut down on rates of it. You know, just because you're not you know, it's not business as usual. If masks make it not business as usual, I may have just a little you know, it's a constant reminder.


Oh, maybe I should be a little more careful in the situation or not go somewhere then I could help. Testing, testing, testing. We need more testing. Testing is the way that we're going to get on top of this. When should we get tested, what kind of test should we take? There's all kinds of tests out there. What are these tests telling us about how we're responding to this problem? Like, I think like, oh, testing, testing, testing.


I've gotten an antibody test a couple of times. I've been negative. I haven't had the full swab test. You know, do you wait until you're symptomatic? Like, when is the appropriate time to explore that and go?


Yeah, so testing, testing, testing only makes sense if it depends on what you're going to do with those results. And so testing is critical to know what's happening with the virus. And without that information, then you're flying blind. So you want to know if some kind of stay at home order actually helped or not. You want to know be able to trade with these protests. Would that lead to a big spike or not? It's still so early on we're gathering data regarding gathering intel on the enemy.


And so without testing, we're completely flying blind and we just don't know how far we away from herd immunity. What's helping? What's not helping? What are those super spreader events? How can we avoid those? What kind of, you know, occupations? What kind of restaurants are good? Bad. You know, we don't know that if we don't have sufficient tests. And so we have been. And so the countries that have done the best.


So South Korea, for example, they were ramping up to test literally within ten days and thousands of test today. We were testing it all at that point. And it's interesting, they actually had that. We had our first cases on the same day, South Korea, U.S. and you look at our curves, I mean, it's completely right. Vanquished and and we're still raging on. So what are you going to do with that testing? And so, so basic, what's called zero prevalence testing.


You just want to know you want to do random sampling as part of of an experimental set up to in various areas of the country on a consistent basis to know what's happened with a virus where and so we can gauge that against our hospital capacity. How many ventilators we have in that county, how many you know, how many ICU beds and then we can make these decisions. Do we open? Do we close? When should we be pumping the brakes on this kind of social thing?


Obviously, we don't want as little as possible. We want to be able to have as much freedom of movement and continue the, you know, vitality of the country as much as possible until unless we're going to start running out of beds. Right. Until I mean, that's the whole point of flattening the curve. You're not necessarily reducing the number of people that are gonna die or going to get sick. You're spreading them out. You're just we know this many people are going to die.


But if they all die, but if they all come in the hospital this week, then more are going to die than if they come out over the next ten weeks. And now it's possible if we slow it to the extent that we hit a vaccine. Aha, that's the game changer. So we can slow things down enough then then that slowing flattening the curve strategy then does indeed result in fewer deaths overall because up then we finally have a method to stop the virus without getting people infected.


And so so there there are there's a there are certainly a place for testing in terms of individual testing right now. There isn't sufficient tests available. And this goes back to having enough swabs, enough reagents. And now we're dealing with this with a future vaccine. We don't have enough glass vials in the world to even put the vaccines in. So then then if you're going to use one, if you're going to stick needles into one vial instead of having single use vials and you have to add preservatives, that adds another safety issue.


I mean I mean so basic. And of course, public health community's been shouting about this forever. I have this in my book fourteen years ago. The supply chains are not sufficient to have enough mass to have enough people to have enough of the basics we need. So that's what we're running into the testing. And so it's like mass. What are the best mass. Oh in ninety five. So you should never one having enough. I know we can't because we need them for the front line workers, even even surgical masks which are better than cloth mass.


We're telling people not to use those because we don't have enough for the medical workers. And so that's right. You know, DIY make it at home with a with a sweatshirt, even though we don't have data showing that's necessarily as effective as people think it is. So same we with testing what we like, we want weekly testing for everyone in the country. Right. And then we can but we don't have that capacity. So who should get tested?


It is people that are coming in contact with vulnerable individuals that is the highest. So people working in a nursing home, we want that staff tested because one case in that just can explode. Right? Right.


So people in, you know, prisons that haven't already been overrun, like San Quentin, you know, it's kind of at that point almost too late what we're seeing in some of these. But it's those kind of high risk scenarios. These are the people we want regularly tested so we could pull them out of circulation. It's ironic, actually goes back to the point. Industry and HIV, that's how the porn industry works. There was a deadly virus and there was yet there was an industry where you had to continually put yourself at risk to be in there.


So what do they do? They instituted a mandatory testing. I forget exactly how how frequently you need to get tested. And you could not work unless you come back with a negative test and you would be out of work. And they figured out the interval, right.


Think it was every two weeks or whatever was right. And so they could they could constantly. And so that's what we need. And so that's why we said we should let the porn industry believe that they're always out front, that these technological breakthroughs, that the whole concept of testing, tracing actually came from the SDD world. I mean, that's why, you know, you have a case of gonorrhea. We need to find everyone you slept with recently.


And we need an honest they call them on the phone and say someone you've been with recently had had gonorrhea. You need to go get tested so you don't then spread it to everybody else. That's the concept of testing and tracing. It's so much more difficult now with this restaurateur's because it spread so much quicker. And so you can imagine how many people have you, you know, had this kind of 15 minute window and close proximity in the last.


And you're like, well, I just went to this wedding, right? And then all of a sudden you can imagine how all of a sudden one wedding just makes this explosive number of contacts. Whereas if you have been trying to distance as much as possible, as far as possible from as many people as possible, who have you been with off? There's just been one, you know, one or two we could contact those people. Think again, we can imagine how you can write.


But, yeah, even I mean, we need 100000 workers and it's and the problem. And then you call people up and you say someone you've come in contact with in the next few days, in the last few days has tested positive. So you should quarantine for 14 days. Who wants to get that phone call? Right. OK, you get that phone call. What are you gonna do with that? If you really want to do it, you're going to all of a sudden it's not no fault of your own.


You're going on your own business. Someone tells you, and now you got to lose two, two weeks of work. Well, obviously, you should be compensated for those two weeks of work. And there's ways you can make it easier. But you can imagine, even in the best case scenario where it all works, we're all testing people. You can still imagine how difficult it is to kind of put the rabbit back in that.


What about some of these non vaccine drug protocols that we're hearing about? I just read that the USA acquired the entire stock of Xavier for what's going on with all of this.


Yeah, well, I mean, that's. Yeah, I mean, that's that's that's the U.S. health care system, right? So, yeah. So this company comes out of this drug has no drug cocktail today that in peer reviewed studies actually shown to decrease mortality mean that's that's the I mean, that should be the standard. I mean, so what REM desperation to do is decrease the number of days in the hospital. So no days that you're sick.


And look, if you're sick with this virus. Sure. Give me something that cuts a couple of days. But does it actually help people live through this fight?


I mean, that that's the that should be kind of like one aspect, like like alleviate some of the symptoms of the disease. I would do it. But it seems to be slowing the virus down such that your immune system can get out, can get a can get as I say, you know, and similarly, there's a there's a drug a local time of year Tamiflu for influenza does very similar thing, does not actually decrease mortality from influenza, but may shave a day or two off of hospitalization for severe cause.


So they still give the drug. But whether or not the government should be spending giving billions of dollars to Big Pharma to buy these drugs, so they're selling these the rim disappear for three thousand dollars, of course. And so but if it's not actually showing the saving lives, couldn't that one point five dollars billion be spread in a way where we could, you know? And so there's there's you know, I mean, we just need to I mean, it's possible that before vaccine we will have an effective treatment by effective treatment, which actually reduces the risk of death.


We do not have that yet. We do have a decreasing number of even though we have an increasing number of cases in the U.S., deaths have gone down, flattened. And largely that's because younger people are becoming infected. Now, as soon as the kind of relaxation, socialising, people getting in bars and younger populations are getting severe cases of scarring, but mortality still staying relatively low. And though in large part, that's because younger, younger population is getting fatter.


What are some of the wrong-headed kind of ideas that you see? Percolating around, like in the news cycle, you read, you know, we should do this, we should do that, or you just think, why are, you know, this is not right? Like, all we need to do is this. Like, I'm trying to give people, you know, just some really tacit advice that.


Yeah, I mean, to alleviate some of the confusion. I mean, look, in the nutrition space, we know of just the crazy ideological frenzy by which people attached onto crazy ideas. Right. And defend them at all costs and the confirmation bias.


But I have never seen the kind of crazy that I've seen in response. So now I have a whole series of covid-19 videos. I'm kind of switched the research team to be working on. So we have a series of 17 videos or something. And the response now I put up a video saying Broccoli's good, I get the trolls come out. I mean, you know, it does not take much, but but it's not a whole new level because you hit you hit a nerve with it.


Right. So I am a China operative one moment and, you know, whatever. Yeah. Yeah. The Bill Gates 5G, you know, Sorrow's access, you know, Illuminati and that. And I think a lot of that comes from just this terrible crisis.


Communication at the highest level. I mean.


Yeah, I mean, you make a concerted effort to weaponize misinformation and create division because this is something that should not be politicized.


And it's been unbelievably politicized to a level that I think surprises everybody. I mean, that I mean, that's kind of a consistent message. So not much surprise the public health community who the whole time could write just a big carry, a big I told you so sign all day long, every day. But that's something that really has. And look, there's always been scapegoating. So, you know you know, the so-called Spanish flu of 1918, one reason called the Spanish flu was because that was a neutral country and so was the only one that didn't have was in censoring the news.


And so everyone out, the U.S. is like, we don't have any flu, you know, and the Germans were we don't have any flu. So, I mean, they just got out. But of course, in Spain, they call it the French Flu. And, you know, I mean, and there's always scapegoating of Jews during during, you know, horrible epidemics. There's always been this kind of nasty something about crises like this. They kind of bring out the worst in people as well as the best of people.


But yeah, but this this is certainly at a level. And so that just makes it even more important to get information from, you know, decent sources. And I think we have this there's this like, well, look, you do your research. I'll do my research kind of thing. Like like like as if like what exactly is your research? Like you do your Google search a guy in his mom's basement to the guy who spent his entire life studying, actually.


I mean, so this really shows the you know, look, I'm I'm I'm as opposed to as anyone this kind of I told you so because I'm an authority. I mean, we've seen where that has gotten us in trouble. But we should when someone says I'm an authority, you say, show me your sources like you weren't born with this information. How did you come across this and and argue to me why this really is the best and any expert worth their salt should be able to say, this is how I arrived.


Here's the data. Here's the science that shows that this is the right course of action. And but I mean, that should be that for it. Whether you're talking about nutrition, whether you show me the day, where did you get this from? Did you get it from your tinfoil hat friend? Someone told you at the gym or, you know, some check out our magazine telling you this, or did it actually have some basis? I mean, if there's any decision to be made based on science, based on the best balance of evidence, it's something that affects the health and well-being of yourself and your family.


I mean that I mean, that should have a different bar of evidence then an Amazon review for a new toaster. I mean, that's like. Right. In that case, opinions of total strangers could be useful for you. Oh, you liked it because. Oh, OK. Thank you. Right. But we've gotten to this culture of just like, oh, random strangers have ideas that are useful to me and and somehow translate that into.


Well, yeah, we've arrived at this moment where for whatever reason, we've developed this profound distrust of of experts. And that's highly problematic in terms of seeing our way forward as a society, not just experts in science, but experts across the board and, you know, a wide variety of disciplines in their defense, in the defense of that is experts have done a terrible job.


I mean, since the corporal this is a shit show. So we're giving people plenty of reason to distrust the experts. And historically, I mean, it was it was the tobacco industry that weaponized first weaponized science and is the tobacco industry textbook that has been used by every corporate entity from then on, whether you're talking about the sugar industry, whether it's all the. They realize that policy is being made based on the science. And so you you control the science, you control the mess.


And so there was Tobacco Research Institute, they funded millions of dollars, paid off the aimé. And so when the AMA says smoking moderation is good for you, on balance, not just neutral, but actually smoking is good for you. Most doctors smoked. So and now we say trust the experts. Right? I mean, you understand why. Wait a second. The experts are saying that Coca-Cola was good for me, and that's because of the corporate takeover over science, evidence based medicine, et cetera, et cetera.


And so there is good reason to be skeptical when these decisions are made, where there is industry stakes by the billions. So something like should we get mammograms? OK, that should seem like a simple question of the science. When when there's a billion dollar industry, then you need to you need to not just take the experts word for it, but really dig into the science. Right. If it's a question where there really is no, you know, climate change, when there's a billion dollar industry on one side of the issue, you always have to question until you see what the best available balance of evidence is.


And so the industry. So you can see how that that skepticism of Big Pharma completely based in I mean, we screwed over and over and over.


So, in fact, the Tamiflu fiasco, who stands to benefit in 2006 in my book on pandemic preparedness and peppers, way back then, I talk about the wonders of this drug Tamiflu and how you should, you know, talk to your doctor about getting you a prescription of this drug, because there were 11 randomized controlled trials that showed that it significantly decreased mortality and morbidity. It saved lives from the flu. And and so the science in the peer reviewed literature was absolutely dead on clear.


Roche, one of the biggest drug companies in the world, had, of course, funded them all 11 studies. But that's what drug companies do of the kind of the only industry we put in charge of their own self regulation. But I mean, but this wasn't some fly by night company. This is you know, companies have been around OK. And so then so here I am writing the update, right. For for for how to survive a pandemic.


So I'm looking at Tamiflu chapters. I know what's what's going to happen in Tamiflu lately. Right. In 2009 with swine flu, I'm the they a group of scientists, Cochrane Collaboration, kind of gold standard evidence based medicine. Well, let's review what's happening. Tamiflu, because with swine flu, there were governments were making billions of dollars of purchases of this drug for their national stockpiles. And some some pediatrician in Japan said she said, oh, there's these 11 trials.


Can we see the data, please? I went to Roche and said, let's see the data, the trials. And he said there's some trials they'll show that reducing and Roche refused to give them the data. It's like, oh, wait a second. Now, at the time, way back when it was still early and we just believed them, OK, but now when they're making big purchases, OK, and they knew every moment they could delay releasing the data, they could get billions more in sales every year.


They release billions more in sales and it took them years. And so it was only until 2014 until they find the work force from national pressure, international pressures. The scientific community released the data. And guess what? So the opposite and zero benefit in terms of mortality. But they had made this calculus. They were going to bring in so many billions of dollars that they were going to just flat out lie to the governments of the world and say they had this pandemic, this drug that going to save people from pandemic flu and just raked in and they knew it was based on a total lie.


But and it was this one little paediatrician's. Like, we just see the data just like and that's what started all. We finally know it was it was a sham. And it works like this room, Desboro. It shortens the period, but that doesn't actually result in more in lives saved. And so now it's referred to as the Tamiflu flu fiasco that was modern day big pharma pandemic drug screwing the populace, screwing taxpayers, screwing governments the world over.


And so you say, I don't blame big pharma. I'm skeptical about vaccines. That's a legitimate right. That's a legitimate place to be coming from. Right. We want the skepticism, but that skepticism shouldn't be. I'm not going to let Bill Gates, you know, whatever. Bill Gates is doing good. But it should be it makes it hard. I don't know the data trust I want to see. So you might be all right. You heard Dr.


Gregor are mired in the data. The average person is scrolling through their Twitter feed just trying to make sense of the world. You mentioned Osterholm. Who? Are the people that we can, you know, safely pay attention to and feel confident that we're getting the right message? Who are those people in science and who are those people in the media who are delivering this information? Like who is the measured person where we can turn on the television and not have to be, you know, cocking our head every time they say something and just have some level of confidence that we're getting the truth?


Yeah. So there's actually been a number of journalists that have been really stellar when it comes to this. And so stat news is probably the source. So that's the source. I go so statens. So that new C.A.T. state news is kind of a medical news source that has prided itself on having really evidence base balanced analysis. So they've probably been the done the best work. Not saying everything that they've put out is right on the message, but they've really done some of the best reporting to date.


And and in terms of scientific studies, CIDRAP Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health has a website, puts out some excellent information. And so in this way, you don't have to even look even. So right now, there are 800 articles in the peer reviewed scientific literature coming out every day, 800 every day. And that's not talking about preprint. All the stuff in the pipeline just being published every day.


So even I can't stay on top of that. And so even I have to rely on on this kind of collective group effort. Let's all go through these 800 pages, every papers, every day and really pick out what's going to be a kind of changing in terms of practicality. What does this new information that's reliable and that's where these these these important, you know, expert sources and the CDC, despite some flubs early on with testing and despite the kind of wishy washy mask a recommendation has, has put out some consistent good work as well.


Is there anybody just in mainstream media like I feel like Sanjay Gupta has been pretty measured and how he's communicating around this. I mean, you know, who do you think is. Yes, I have not been following the mainstream. Who's in the mainstream? I'm in the right journals and in this in the sciences. And so right unfortunately, now there are people with PhDs and MDs at then of the name and they think all of a sudden that their infectious disease expert or or, you know, aerosol experts or, you know, occupational safety.


I mean, there are people who spend their whole lives figuring out transmission of disease. And just because you have an M.D. does mean you're an expert in this at all. They just keep spouting nonsense about all sorts of things and put out mathematical models that, you know, they're computer scientists and they suggest that they're modeling says do this as opposed to this, where they really don't have expertise in that particular area. So even, you know, just trust the experts.


I mean, that's not just your credentials. It's like. Right. I mean, but it's people. But there are career scientists that this is what they've done their entire lives, like Osterholm, and they've been through it. All right. And they've and and, you know, there are a few that have this this past record of not taking the easy road, of not just going along with everyone. So, for example, Osterholm is famous for coming out and questioning the efficacy of flu vaccines.


And so until like 2011, this this very influential landmark paper in The Lancet saying that, you know, we tout the flu vaccine, but it's actually based on kind of crappy testing such that if you actually use better testing, it really only works, you know, 30 to 50 percent of the time in terms of decreasing risk, 34 percent now still in favor of flu vaccines. He gets it every year. But, you know, we need better flu vaccines.


We need to communicate to the public what the truth is and we need to do better. And we just keep convincing ourselves we're actually doing better than we are. We're you know, that was incredibly controversial at the time. And now it's just it's just understood and it's kind of part of thing. But I mean, we can look back in history, those who are mavericks and really stuck to the science against the political winds and and and and you can always go to to know they're not going to give you a comfortable message.


They're not going to give you the message. They're not going to give you a message that they have more certainty that that that there really is and they're going to say they don't. So is it good saying that's a good I don't know. I'm not an expert in this, but let me, you know, show you no point you in the direction of an expert in this. Yeah. I mean, and this is the time, right. If there's any other issue less important.


But this is a time we really need the best information. And and it's it's really even right. Even for me, Ross, presumably. But I mean, we know the. Craziness on the Internet, but it has reached a level it's in its and its outlets and its allies. It is a whole new thing like, oh, I was I was with you, Dr. Kroger, but now you are one of the lizard people who's going to you know.


Well, it's a function of this intersecting with a lot of other issues that's tapping into, you know, a repressed rage that's just underneath the surface. Like we've all seen the videos of people, you know, losing it in Target or, you know, Trader Joe's on the whole mask thing. And how to mask thing has been politicized. And and it's concerning because this shouldn't be a political issue. We should all be on the same page in terms of how we're navigating this.


This is a common interest of our society behind. Right. I mean, this is the time to just be extra kind and extra. And to Rila. I mean, this should wake us up to the plight of our essential workers who have basically been the hundred percent bottom of our society and ignored and even now ignored. Are they giving hazard pay for being the ones?


This is the bigger conversation about how we're structured when we realize that our essential workers are, you know, these people who are getting paid less than everybody else to perform these things that are required to keep her the gears of our society moving. We need to reform how we're treating these people. So this could be the I mean, is this an opportunity?


This is the opportunity, although. Yeah, but but it's yeah. It's bringing the best and worst. And I'm afraid at this point the worst is over taking. There were some beautiful best in the beginning, the clapping for the health care workers and I mean all the singing. But but now they and yeah, there's a Half-Life on that stuff. But I remain optimistic and we're going to land this plane. I think I think, you know, listen, get your sleep, eat your veggies, make sure you're getting enough vitamin D, V12, whatever it is.


Like what else? Like one of the simple things, like wear your mask in public, wear your mask in public. Sign of respect. Right. Because I am keeping you safe. That's what the mask says. I care about you. And if there's one thing we need right now in society is more messages. I care about my fellow human being.


That's a good place to end it. I think. I love you, my friend. Thank you so much. Come back any time. I think we should do a check in every six months.


I don't have to come out always, but. All right. Well, at the rate that you're cranking books out, you're going to you're going to be back here next month. As the book is called How to Survive a Pandemic. It's out now in audio book and an e-book. Right. Hardcover is coming out when? In the fall, August 16th. On August 16th. Oh, yeah. Yeah, soon.


Amazing man. So pick it up. Amazon.


Oh, it's on your Amazon or on your website. Amazon, any online retailer.


Cool. Thank you. All right. Thanks, Lance. How'd you guys like that blast? Are you feeling OK? How is the noodle doing? That was a lot.


Things are heavy right now. Please make sure you're taking good care of yourself and those you love. I hope Dr. Gregor's wisdom was helpful and will help guide you more effectively through all of this. And meanwhile, try to be nice out there. Kindness is key. Let Dr. Gregor know how this one landed for you. You can find him on Instagram at Michael Grieger, M.D. and at Nutrition. Underscore facts on Twitter. Check out his new book, How to Survive a Pandemic on Audible and Kindle.


And of course, links to everything we discussed today can be found in the show notes on the episode page. Attritional dot com. If you'd like to support the work we do here on the show, subscribe and comment on it on Apple podcasts, on YouTube and Spotify. Share the show or your favorite episode or this episode with friends or on social media and you can support us on Patrón on it ritual dot com for sosh donate. I appreciate my team who works very hard to put the show on every week.


Jason Carmello for audio engineering production show notes and interstitial music. Blake Curtis for videoing today's podcast. Jessica Miranda for Graphics DKA for Avatars of Relationships and Theme Music by Tyler Trapper Pietje and Harry Mathis. Thanks a lot. Love you guys. See you back here next week with another mind blowing episode. I'm not going to let the secret out, but it's a good one until then. Be kind, be nice piece plants, almost day, wear a mask.