In the attempt to tame the COVID-19 virus,
scientists around the world are working to understand how the disease is spread
and how best to approach prevention and treatment. But with the avalanche of
information we’re presented with every day, it’s easy to come away with more
questions than answers.
There are a couple of recent findings that stand
out as particularly important. One relates to the method of transmission, and
the other to individual susceptibility to the disease.
“Live in the sunshine, swim the
sea, drink the wild air”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
plenty of good reasons to be outdoors this summer, and now we can add ‘safe
haven’ to the list. As we all know, strict isolation strategies have been
employed since mid-March to curb the spread of the pandemic. The resulting
isolation, combined with fear of contagion and misinformation overload
(“infodemic”) is creating a great deal of confusion and stress.
no question that reducing the contact rate of latent individuals, and interventions
such as quarantine and isolation, can effectively reduce the potential peak
number of infections and delay the time of peak infection. However, as much as
I believe this to be true as it applies to being indoors, I question whether
being outdoors—even in groups—poses much risk at all. While there is still so
much we don’t know about the virus transmission, we have yet to see proof or a
strong likelihood that the outdoors poses a significant risk. In fact, research suggests it may be safer
compared to indoors.
information can spread like wildfire, particularly during times of fear and
uncertainty. Right now, there is misinformation circulating about elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and COVID-19.
Elderberry extract is being falsely accused of triggering a cytokine storm or cytokine release syndrome (CRS), an intense inflammatory response that can be deadly. During the SARS epidemic, CRS caused severe lung damage and was a driving factor in many fatalities.