Dr. Michael’s Covid Update for 12-31-2021.
Happy end of 2021. After skyrocketing the week before Christmas, new Covid cases are down this week in Cuyahoga County. We are at “only” twice the new cases that we saw last winter during the peak. I expect a bounce up either next week or the week after, but we may have seen the most cases in a week already and Omicron may actually be peaking right now. I expect a slow decline through February (barring another variant). On a positive note, we have had significantly fewer deaths than last year.
Covid tests continue to be hard to find. One place that is delivering tests affordably within a couple of weeks is iHealth Labs. Another source is Amazon. I keep checking Walmart but haven’t been able to find them in stock since before Christmas. It might be a good idea to pick up a few. You should get reimbursed by submitting your receipts to your insurance company if you order after the 1st.
I’m seeing people that have been vaccinated and boosted get Omicron, and I’ve also seen people that have already had Covid come down with Omicron. However, what I’ve heard from them is that it was not severe and they recovered quickly. As for those who have not had Covid before and are not vaccinated, some did fine, while other cases were severe. I’ve known of people getting hospitalized, and patients are telling me of friends and family passing away.
I believe that it is inevitable that we will get exposed to Covid. Omicron is highly contagious and is different enough from the original variant that it’s causing more breakthrough infections. Omicron showed up 2 years after the original variant. Covid is like the flu, it will continue to adapt and change and every year or two will show. I expect there to be yearly Covid vaccines available but more choice on whether to get the vaccine.
With each exposure, either from vaccine or infection, our bodies will create more Memory T and B cells that will be able to identify new infections and produce antibodies to Covid. In 2019, Covid was a novel virus to all of humanity; novel meaning new. We didn’t have any ability to recognize the infection, nor did our bodies have efficient tools to fight this new virus. When the Europeans came to the new world, they brought diseases with them like smallpox, measles, the flu, and syphilis. These were novel to the indigenous people and no one in the New World had experienced these diseases before. These diseases decimated the native populations. As many as 90% of the population in the New World died. Fortunately, Covid isn’t as deadly as all of these diseases combined, but new viruses take a toll on the population.
Once we are exposed to the virus, either from infection, vaccination (or both) we fight the infection by producing antibodies and by training our immune system to recognize the virus in the future. Memory B and T cells encode a blueprint to create antibodies in the future. Because of these memory immune cells, future infections cause significantly less damage to society as a whole.
We will not be able to get rid of Covid, but we will get to a point this year when we aren’t overwhelmed by it, and our health system won’t be inundated. As with colds and the flu, we will get new breakouts of Covid with a percentage of the vulnerable being hospitalized but most of us will do fine. As with the cold and flu, Covid will become endemic, periodically causing problems but not overwhelming us.
I expect that we will reach endemic status as a nation in the next couple of months. While we may be peaking here in Cuyahoga county, nationally experts are saying mid-January to the end of January. With hospitalizations peaking 2-3 weeks after when new cases peak, we can see this pandemic become endemic as early as the end of February. Before we do, I expect things to be difficult, especially for the medical system. I don’t envy nurses right now. If you have cancer or are vulnerable, you may want to postpone getting exposed until hospitals are less overwhelmed.
Since most of us will be exposed to Covid, I want to go over things that we can do to prevent a bad outcome. I’ve talked enough about vaccines which I still regard as one of the most significant actions one can take to prevent severe Covid. Also important for a healthy immune system are proper sleep, exercise, meditation, and being structurally in balance.
I believe that everyone in Northeast Ohio should be on Vitamin D. We don’t get enough of it during the winters here and it plays a significant role in boosting our immunity. I also believe that Illicium and Reishi Supreme are excellent, gentle, supporters of the immune system. They are both safe for pregnant and nursing mothers while having excellent anti-viral properties. I would also consider Iodine if you have a low body temperature because of its ability to help fight infections. Finally, zinc should be considered. I don’t like recommending zinc without testing because it can disrupt mineral balances in the body. However, our need for zinc increases once we are fighting an infection.
So if you are infected with Covid, start on zinc immediately. It’s the most importing recommendation after a confirmed infection. All of the enzymes in our body are zinc dependant. Zinc is essential for the immune system. Next to zinc, the second most common supplement that I’m recommending is Pepti-Guard by Thorne. I recommend this for patients that are having difficulty breathing. Most of the time, when someone is having trouble breathing and are overweight, they have a hiatal hernia. This is where the stomach comes up through the diaphragm and restricts its movement. Pepti-Guard helps to soothe and relax the stomach allowing it to descend, creating space for proper breathing. Glycine is an important amino acid that reduces inflammation, especially with cytokines. Andrographis is an excellent anti-viral (but more aggressive than the Illicium and Reishi). Other antivirals that I would consider are Houttuynia Supreme, Woad Supreme, Schisandra Supreme, and Astragalus Supreme. I would also consider Dan Shen Supreme and Hemo Guard Supreme for their anti-clotting properties. Writeups of the Supreme products can be found here.
The next couple of months may be messy, but I am very hopeful for this spring. May 2022 be better for us all. Happy New Year!
A pdf of this article can be found here.