The Coronavirus, A Letter From our CEO - The Ayurvedic Perspective
By Alan Marks, CEO, vpk by Maharishi Ayurveda on March 9, 2020 and as edited April 2, 2020
There is a great deal of information circulating about the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and many promises of cures from a variety of sources. With this in mind, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my understanding of the rapidly changing information currently available on the virus. All of the information in my letter is based on early data developed from rapidly evolving and changing situations globally and only with time will the world have a better idea about the true nature of the infectiousness of this virus and its dangers. It is our sincere hope at vpk that any global health concerns will be dealt with effectively, pass quickly, and not re-emerge.
The Ayurvedic Perspective
I would start by stating first and foremost, try to stay healthy and stay balanced. A balanced body and immune system respond in a balanced manner to any illness. An unbalanced system does not. There is a profound adage in Ayurveda that disease is not caused by germs, bacteria, or viruses, rather disease is precipitated by these pathogens in a susceptible host. To the extent you can control your life and lifestyle, do not be a susceptible host.
How serious are our concerns with the Covid-19? Very.
Comparing Covid-19 to the flu...
Last year the flu had a .10% (1/10th of 1%) mortality rate with over 34,200 deaths in the US alone. This year is no exception with the flu mortality rate quite high.
“CDC estimates that the burden of illness during the 2018–2019 season included an estimated 35.5 million people getting sick with influenza, 16.5 million people going to a health care provider for their illness, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths from influenza.”
In China, where the numbers have been closely monitored, Covid-19 now has just over a 4% mortality rate. Italy, with the largest elderly population in Europe, currently has over an 11% mortality rate. South Korea with the majority of those infected being younger females, a low risk group and similar to China, has very strict controls in place, the mortality is 1.6%. World wide, as of this writing, the combined mortality is close to 5%. Contrast these mortality rates to the flu’s 1/10th of 1% and it is easy to understand the serious nature of this illness. It is worth noting that the numbers are somewhat misleading in that the CDC’s numbers for the flu represent medically diagnosed, tested flu cases plus an estimate of undiagnosed cases in the general population. Given that a statistically significant percentage of those infected with Covid-19 are symptom free, they may never be tested. Thus it is hard to estimate the true number of infected individuals. Also, testing is widely variable in the different countries. As such the comparison is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison and it is likely that the overall mortality rates for each country are overstated due to the lack of knowledge of those that carry the disease yet go untested. Nonetheless, Covid-19 is a serious illness due to its extreme contagiousness and the high rates of those that need serious medical care, 15% to 20% of those showing symptoms, and its high mortality among the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
If we use the US 2018/2019 flu numbers of over 35 million and apply this to Covid-19, in the US alone, hundreds of thousands to over one million people could lose their lives. This is why we are seeing governments quite concerned with stemming the spread of this virus. Due to its contagious nature and the large percentage of those needing supplemental care, Covid-19 has the ability to overwhelm existing hospital infrastructure in the US. There are many stories in the press of Spanish and Italian doctors having to make very difficult triage choices.
As mentioned before, the number of individuals that develop serious symptoms is quite high, with many developing some form of pneumonia and, in the most severe cases, respiratory failure. With some of the most severe cases, individuals develop an immune reaction known as a cytokine storm, whereby their immune system becomes overzealous and a flood of immune cells and biochemicals destroy lung tissue and other organs. Also, it has been observed that permanent or long-term lung tissue damage can take place in a high percentage of those with the virus, regardless of severity or symptoms.
The highest mortality rate is found in those over the age of 60 and those with already compromised immune systems, but no one is immune from this serious illness, and younger adults and children have also fallen seriously ill from Covid-19. As mentioned earlier, regardless of age or symptoms, long-term lung damage is being noted in a high percentage of cases.
Covid-19 is highly contagious. Current statistics show Covid-19 to be over 2 times more contagious than influenza. The virus is passed from person to person through respiration, touching objects contaminated by those contagious and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes, and it is also passed through feces. Many with the virus are completely symptom free and thus circulate in society unintentionally infecting others. Also, the virus is contagious in the early stages before symptoms appear.
Prevention and Cures
Although many countries are working on vaccines and medical treatment, to date there is no definitive cure or prevention from a western medical standpoint.
What You Can Do
First and foremost, if you can, don’t allow yourself to be exposed. When possible, try to avoid unnecessary public trips and large crowds, especially in locations with known incidents of the illness and where a large percentage of people that travel internationally are found. Follow good general hygiene practices and wash your hands regularly.
Second, and as mentioned at the start of my letter, stay rested, follow a healthy lifestyle, and stay balanced. A balanced body and immune system respond in a balanced manner when exposed to pathogens. Follow a seasonal routine that is appropriate to your Prakriti (dosha makeup) and Vakriti (current state of balance), including going to bed early, eating food that balances your unique physiology, following a regular routine, and reducing stressful activities.
Are You Sick?
If you are having flu-like symptoms, it is best to stay home. If you feel you need medical care, contact your health provider or hospital first and tell them your symptoms, especially if you have reason to believe you have been in proximity or contact with individuals you believe may have contracted the virus. Your health professionals will guide you on how to handle your visit. Avoid using mass transit for your visit to the doctor or hospital. Even the flu is highly contagious and dangerous for the elderly and very young, so please remember to be especially careful and considerate of others.
Protect Yourself and Community
Whether one feels susceptible based on health or age, or not susceptible at all, for the sake of our family, friends, and communities each of us has a responsibility to limit our exposure to this virus. Keep in mind that if this illness were to spread unabated, our health care system could become overwhelmed, and this could result in an even higher mortality rate. For the sake of all those you care about, our nation, and world, now is a good time to be conservative and not needlessly expose yourself to this illness thereby endangering yourself and others.
In the days that follow, vpk by Maharishi Ayurveda will be sending out tips and information on how to best bring balance to your body and support your immune system. We are always here to help.
vpk by Maharishi Ayurveda - Long Term Solutions
As a trusted wellness company with over 35 years of experience, our formulas based on traditional Ayurvedic texts are time-tested over many generations and verified safe by modern testing and science. They are long-term solutions that bring balance to body, mind, and emotions. The ancient Vedic texts that embody Ayurveda state that we should “avert the danger yet to come”. This is Ayurveda at its core, an ancient knowledge that is prevention-oriented and individualized to each person based on their unique makeup. Please visit us at www.mapi.com and feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable staff with any questions you may have.
I usually keep a low profile at vpk, but with the nature of this illness, I felt it was incumbent as the CEO of vpk by Maharishi Ayurveda, a trusted wellness organization, to reach out and share our knowledge of the nature of this illness, and encourage appropriate behavior to protect ourselves.
Wishing you great health, longevity, happiness, and prosperity,
CEO, vpk by Maharishi Ayurveda
Sources and Information
All of the information in this article is based on early data developed from rapidly evolving and changing situations globally and only with time will the world have a better idea about the true nature of the infectiousness of this virus and mortality rates.