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How to Survive a Pandemic by Dr. Michael Greger (2020)

Dr. Greger’s new book “How to Survive a Pandemic” is available at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library ( @KingstonFrontenacPL ). This was a challenging read. This is the darkest blog I have ever written. If the Covid-19 Pandemic is making you anxious, please do not read this post. If you would like a brief summary of the book, please scroll down the page.

Returning a Library Book the Safe Way!

The book has 340 pages with 228 pages of references which is typical for Dr. Greger! I skimmed through sections because of other demands on my time and knowledge that five other people are waiting to read this book!

He discussed the influenza pandemic of 1919 at length. In a rating of 1 to 5 for number of deaths, he rated this pandemic as a Category 5, comparable to the death toll of a super typhoon. He explained that COVID-19 appears to be a Category 2 pandemic. People were also in denial of the 1919 influenza pandemic. He chronicled sneezing parties where the goal was to sneeze the furthest! The generation that went through this experience did not say much about it. I cannot remember my grandparents talking about the 1919 pandemic when they recounted family stories. Did your grandparents or great grandparents say anything about it?

He mentioned that a cough can release billions of viral particles that can exceed a rate of 75 miles/hour (120 km/hour). He documented that sneezes can exceed 100 miles/hour (160 km/hour) and germs can be dispersed 40 feet (12 meters). So please wear masks in public to prevent infection!

The book then took a turn and focused on bird flu. Dr. Greger wrote a previous book on this topic. He clearly recounted the research on bird flu being more deadly than SARS-CoV-2 with a mortality rate of 50%. He explained that it is only a matter of time before a bird influenza becomes virulent enough to infect humans and spread human-to-human. He believes that factory farming of chicken would be the most likely cause of this mutation. Chickens are stressed because of overcrowding. Like humans, stress lowers the immune system of the birds making them more likely to be infected. He explained that this is not a hypothetical situation. Therefore, we’re not talking about IF, we’re talking about when this will happen.

After this scary story, he explored the multitude of diseases that result from consuming animal products. People who eat a whole-food, plant-based diet might think, “I do not eat meat, so I do not have anything to worry about!” He then recounted a study that showed bacteria are on the outside of wrapped meat. Thus, if the conveyor belt is not sterilized before your order, your fruits and vegetables can be contaminated with the same bacteria from someone else’s meat purchase. So please wash your produce before eating it.

He gave a pandemic flu planning checklist. He provided a recipe for rehydration solution (for diarrhea) as well as instructions for how to purify water. He recommended isolating yourself if possible. Despite taking these steps, what we cannot control is the possibility that influenza droplets can be blown over thousands of miles on low pressure weather fronts, as some scientists have speculated!

All in all, this was a depressing book. I noticed that his tone was somber in his videos about the pandemic on, so I should have anticipated this. I find it difficult when people present problems without solutions. A sense of hopelessness is evoked. Fear has never motivated people unless there is a solution that is clear, simple and obtainable.

The scenario presented in this book is another doomsday prediction for our world. In the past, we had nuclear Armageddon from World War III. Acid rain was supposed to destroy all forests and lakes. The ozone layer depletion was going to fry the world. Peak oil was to render our society helpless without fossil fuel. The climate emergency is still upon us. Our challenge is to maintain hope despite these threats. Thanks for reading. #lifestylemedicine

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