The short answer is…. No.
It is not time to worry.
Let’s talk about the data.
As of yesterday, the death toll from coronavirus is 56 worldwide. There have been three cases identified in the USA.
The latest case was a man in Orange County, CA.
Let’s compare that to influenza.
So far, in the 2019-2020 season, 140,000 people have been hospitalized and 8200 people have died according to yesterday’s CDC statistics.
The reality is, you don’t want any upper respiratory virus, but in general, our immune system can handle things and you improve after a few days. Some very unlucky people do get very sick, but that is rare and is absolutely nothing new. This happens every winter.
The coronavirus did not just pop up 1 month ago. The media needs something to talk about and this is the latest “viral” story (pun intended).
You should not worry until we start seeing hundreds of deaths in healthy individuals or multiple cities quarantined. Otherwise, there are all sorts of upper respiratory viruses every year that make you sick. RSV, influenza, rhinovirus, metapneumovirus, and coronavirus are some of the semi-common viruses we see all the time at the hospital, every year.
If you want to learn more about coronavirus, here is the CDC resource guide
What can you do to protect yourself?
The answer to this is simple. The same things you should always be doing during flu season.
Focus on the SEEDS – the foundations of health…
Boost your immune system with a multivitamin, vitamin D, Vitamin C, elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, oscillococinum or any other immune boosters you love.
Also, and maybe more importantly, the best thing you can do to decrease your risk of getting the coronavirus is to TURN OFF THE NEWS and stop worrying about it. We know that stress is one of the most powerful contributors to getting sick
In 1991, cohen published the landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine on upper respiratory viruses and stress. He put viruses in willing participants noses (who volunteered for this study???) and found that the participants who reported stressful life events were at increased risk of getting infected in a dose-response manner. The more stressed they were, the more likely they were to get sick.
So the moral of the story is that you should take all of the normal precautions that you would always otherwise take. Wash your hands, try to avoid those that are ill, focus on the SEEDS, keep your immune system strong, and try not to worry too much.
If things change, you will undoubtedly hear about it.
So go drink a corona (wink wink or maybe a green juice is better) instead of worrying about the virus.
To your family’s health,