Category Archives: Covid-19

Covid corner: Answering questions about Ivermectin and the vaccines.

There is a lot of misinformation in the news stream about Covid-19 treatments and vaccines. A recent podcast by The Natural Medicine Journal provides science-based answers about:

  • Ivermectin, a proposed alternative treatment/vaccine.
  • Do vaccinated people shed the virus?
  • Do people who had Covid-19 need to get vaccinated?
  • Bonus question not covered by the podcast: Do vaccines become part of our DNA?

Here is the summary of the discussion.

Ivermectin: a vaccine alternative or viral preventative? Answer: Not really for either.

Ivermectin is a prescription drug traditionally used to treat parasitic infections. There is some evidence that this drug reduces viral penetration into cells and some practitioners have been prescribing it as a treatment or vaccine alternative. Unfortunately, this drug has not shown significant effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 or reducing the spread of the virus. The studies showing some effectiveness indicated that the drug only lessened the disease duration by 2 days. This may be helpful, but the side effects including rash, eye pain and visual changes, mental status changes, balance disruption, gastrointestinal disruption, fever, and swelling in hands and feet could occur with each dose.  Because the virus continues to exist in the community, unvaccinated individuals desiring to take Ivermectin would need to take this drug regularly.

In my medical opinion, the risk factors for taking this drug are too high and benefits too low to consider this drug for treatment or prevention of Covid-19.  There are low cost, viable, and non-toxic prevention measures available to most people including social distancing and using mouth and nose guards (ie, masks) to reduce viral penetration into respiratory cells. Vaccination is also low risk for most people, requires minimal use, and has proven effective. 

Do the approved vaccines shed the virus?  NO.

The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines do not shed virus.  This is due to the fact that the vaccines do not form complete virus nor do they have the mechanism to shed thru the respiratory tract or gastrointestinal track.

Furthermore, once the vaccine is used by the cells, it can not reproduce to create more vaccine.

I’ve had Covid-19 and recovered. Should I get vaccinated? YES, especially if over the age of 65.

Those with past infections of Covid-19 may benefit from vaccination.  An immune system may build some immunity against Covid-19 after infection, but it may not be strong enough in some people to prevent another infection.  It is difficult to know who has high or low immunity following a Covid-19 infection. The reason for a potential low immune response is because the virus is good at blunting an initial immune response as a way to give itself time to replicate before the immune system activates.  The good news is that people with a history of Covid-19 infection may only need one vaccine injection due to the immense immune response after 1 dose of vaccine.

Bonus topic, not discussed in the podcast:

Do the vaccines integrate themselves into my DNA?  Answer: NO.

The Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson ( J&J ) vaccines do NOT change your DNA.  

To help understand how they work, think of the following analogy.

  1. Creating immune antibodies is like ordering a manufactured product (without having to go to Amazon).
  2. You first have to send an order to a manufacturing plant with the blueprint instructions to build your product. The vaccines are the manufacturing blueprints to build a small part of the virus. For Pfizer and Moderna, the blueprints are mRNA embedded in a fat base.  For the J&J vaccine, the blueprints are DNA embedded in a deactivated adenovirus.
  3. These blueprints are NOT sent into our DNA but are interpreted by the protein-building systems of the cell.  
    1. mRNA vaccines go directly to the manufacturing machines.
    1. DNA vaccines have to be converted into mRNA which is then sent to the manufacturing machines.
  4. Once protein-building systems of the cell interpret the mRNA blueprints to build a part of the virus’ spike protein, the finished product, a spike protein remnant, is then released from the cell where the immune system can take a look at it.
  5. When the immune system sees this incomplete spike protein, the immune system then creates an immunoglobulin, an immune protein, which is then put in the immune “library” to be remembered when needed. Later, if you are exposed to the entire virus, the immune system activates when it recognizes the part of the  virus that looks like your manufactured product (the spike protein remnant). The immune system can then easily eradicate the virus before it embeds into your respiratory cells.
  6. This process explains why the vaccine does not shed. Once this process is complete and the cells have used all the vaccine mRNA or DNA to make the spike protein remnant, the cells can not make more spike protein remnant. The body is ready, however, to make more immune protein when presented with the virus and provide you with immunity.

Will you get Vaccinated?

The Covid Vaccine is finally here. Click HERE for Idaho and HERE for Oregon to determine if you are eligible for the vaccine now.

Recently, I’ve been answering questions about the vaccine and if people should get vaccinated.

First, let me reveal that I decided to get vaccinated. The first shot was painless, but my arm did hurt for a day. I suffered no other side effects.

The biggest benefit of these vaccines is the head start they give our immune systems to combat the virus before symptoms arise. The two FDA approved vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) have 94-95% effectiveness after 2 doses are provided. This means that, in clinical trials, vaccinated individuals had 95% less risk than control group participants of developing symptoms or being tested positive for the virus. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is also currently FDA approved; it has 66% effectiveness after one dose.

Importantly, no participants in any of the 3 vaccine vaccinated groups needed to be hospitalized or died from Covid-19 after the vaccine took full affect. Even one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines showed protectiveness against serious illness 6-7 weeks after one dose. Read an article about these vaccines HERE.

Because the Covid-19 virus is here to stay, including with new variants, we will need to remain vigilant and compliant about social distancing and wearing masks, even after being vaccinated. Another reason to stay vigilant about masking is that current vaccinations have not been tested on children and infection rates are climbing in the pediatric population.

In my assessment, vaccination is probably one of the major tools that will allow us to reduce chronic illness, hospitalization, and death from Covid-19.

Who should NOT get the vaccine: Anyone who has significant reactions to the ingredients, specifically polyethylene glycol. One other nice thing about the vaccine is that, unlike many traditional vaccines, it is NOT grown on eggs. To read more about the currently approved vaccines, please read my article HERE.

For more fun, a February 20, 2021 New York Times interactive article provides some insight on when we may get to herd immunity and reduce mortality, depending on vaccination rates and preventative measures. See article HERE. Be sure to play with the interactive tabs!

Covid-19 Vaccines

The National Institute of Health Vaccine Research Center has been working on a vaccine since the beginning of the epidemic. Read HERE to learn more about the vaccination development history.

These new RNA vaccines are different from traditional vaccines in that our own cellular machinery is used to produce the antigen (Covid’s spike protein) that your immune system can then respond to. After getting the vaccine, most people will have mild flu-like symptoms as they manufacture antibodies in response to the new antigen. They then will have the antibodies pre-made if exposed to the actual virus.

This excellent VIDEO answers a lot of the questions about the new vaccines.

A concerning issue with the Covid-19 vaccines is the risk of anaphylactic reaction. The new vaccines have relatively few ingredients, but do contain lipids and polyethylene glycol which may be the source of allergic reactions. See below for Moderna and Pfizer Covid Vaccine Ingredients.

If you have a history of allergy of anaphylaxis, these vaccines may not be a good choice. Additionally, health officials suggest waiting 15-20 minutes at the vaccination location center after obtaining a vaccine in case you have an adverse reaction.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about these vaccines. One unknown is if a vaccinated individual can transmit the virus to someone else. Because researchers are currently unable to answer this question, the use of a face mask continues to be suggested for everyone, regardless of vaccination history. Bummer.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine ingredient list:

  • mRNA
  • Lipids including:
    • (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
    • 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
    • 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
    • cholesterol
  • potassium chloride
  • monobasic potassium phosphate
  • sodium chloride
  • dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
  • sucrose

The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine ingredient list.

  • mRNA
  • Lipids
    • SM-102
    • polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG]
    • cholesterol
    • 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC])
  • tromethamine
  • tromethamine hydrochloride
  • acetic acid
  • sodium acetate
  • sucrose

Covid update: Chronic Covid Syndrome

[Please note, it is illegal for practitioners to provide product suggestions in public articles. Oregon and Idaho residents desiring individualized suggestions to support the immune system, can sign up for a time to consult Dr. Rodgers at www.idnatmed.com/appointment.]

The term “Long Haulers” is being used to describe patients who were infected by Covid-19 (SARS CoV-2), but never completely recovered. For many of these patients, they may not feel better for up to 5 months after initially infected.

No one yet understands why some people recover from the acute phase of a Covid-19 infection in 1-2 weeks, but others end up with chronic issues affecting multiple organs including the brain. Symptoms of Chronic Covid Syndrome (CCS), are significant.  Click HERE to see a list of CSS symptoms [1],[2]

 These symptoms may vary daily, making it hard to diagnose.

Some theories for the cause of Chronic Covid Syndrome include the level of initial infectious viral load, insufficient immune response that does not eradicate the virus completely, the presences of certain human histocompatibility antigens (HLA), low grade inflammation, and cellular degeneration.[3]  Other theories include re-triggering of underlying co-infections, chronic mycotoxin (mold) or toxic metal burdens, or NEW exposures to mold, metals, pathogens, or other toxins after a Covid-19 infection.[4],[5],[6],[7]

Until we completely understand how some people develop long term symptoms from Covid-19, here are some suggestions to support your immune system and reduce the risk of Chronic Covid Syndrome.

Prevention: Prevent yourself from getting sick: wear a mask and wash your hands. Wear a mask over both nose and mouth when in public or in the presence of someone not of your household. You may love them, but you do not know if they are unwittingly carrying the virus. Wash your hands after being in public or handling anything not from your household.

Improve your immune system. Nutrients such as Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin D have been shown to support a healthy response to viral infection.[8]   When taken together, the benefits of taking these nutrients may be synergistic in supporting the fight against this virus. Nutrient levels suggested compliments of Dr. Paul Anderson, ND[9]

  • Zinc has been shown to reduce viral replication, inhibit the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) which is responsible for viral entry into cells, and improve tissue integrity to reduce viral spread to other tissues. Doses suggested: 30—50 mg twice daily. If taken long term, copper should added at a ratio of 1 mg copper for every 15 mg of Zinc.  
  • Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and must be taken daily to have a beneficial affect. Vitamin C is important to tissue integrity, as an antioxidant protecting cells from free radicals generated from infection and toxins, helps to reduce the severity of pneumonia, and reduces the inflammatory molecules (cytokines) that lead to the severe inflammatory storms associated with Covid-19.  Since Vitamin C taken orally can cause diarrhea, the dose is dependent on what you can tolerate. Start with 1,000 mg and work up to a dose that does not cause diarrhea. Take in divided doses throughout the day. Increased doses will be needed during active infections.
  • Vitamin D’s role in the immune system is as a fat-soluble hormone. This hormone has receptors on all immune cells and may reduce inflammatory storms by modulating cytokines.  It also has receptors on lung cells and help improve an antiviral response. Like Vitamin C and Zinc, Vitamin D plays a role in maintaining good tissue barrier function, reducing the migration of unwanted pathogens. A simple blood test helps inform you of your Vitamin D levels. A loading dose of 25,000-50,000 IU for several days can be helpful if you don’t know your blood levels. Follow this by 1,000-5,000 IU daily.

Other nutrients important to the immune system includi Vitamin A, B vitamins, and magnesium.[10]

Additional nutrients may be helpful to reduce inflammation, support the mitochondria, reduce blood-brain-barrier leakage, and provide neurological protection.

  • Natural anti-inflammatories such as fish oil or vegetarian algae oil.
  • Curcumin
  • Quercitin
  • Co-Q 10
  • N-acetyl cysteine
  • B vitamins, most importantly Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6.
  • Phytocannabinoids such as Cannabidiol (CBD) or cannabigerol (CBG).

Avoid toxins. Avoid common toxins. A simple guide can be found HERE to reduce your daily exposure. Choosing hand sanitizer without fragrance is equally important.

Avoid Molds. If you have any mold exposure, please seek guidance for cleaning up the mold safely and to check if you have any levels of mycotoxins.  If you have current mold growth in your home, please seek an experienced building biologist or certified mold evaluator for evaluation. Even if you feel OK, exposure to Covid-19 when you have an underlying or new infection can trigger a significant inflammatory response.

Hyperbaric oxygen may be helpful for more severe CCS patients.[11]

To address Chronic Covid Syndrome, it is important to treat each patient as an individual. The reason for this is that each patient has unique genetics, different underlying chronic medical conditions, varying toxin body burden levels from mold, toxic metals, or other co-infections. Each of these issues need to be addressed. Dr. Sara Rodgers, NMD is trained to manage chronic disease, including immune imbalance, mold infections, toxic metal evaluation/reduction, gastrointestinal imbalances, hormone imbalances, and more. If a naturopathic physician is not available in your area, look for a functional medicine provider who works with chronically ill patients.  


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html

[2] Lambert, N. J. & Survivor Corps.  COVID-19 “Long Hauler” Symptoms Survey Report.  Indiana University School of Medicine; 2020.

Carfi A et al. Persistent Symptoms in Patients After Acute COVID-19. JAMA. 2020 Aug 11;324(6):603-605.  doi: 10.1001/jama.2020.12603.

[3] Baig, AM.  Deleterious Outcomes in Long-Hauler COVID-19: The Effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the CNS in Chronic COVID Syndrome.  ACS Chem Neurosci.  2020 Dec. 16;11(24):4017-4020. https://doi.org/10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00725

[4] Proal,A and Marshall T. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the Era of the Human Microbiome: Persistent Pathogens Drive Chronic Symptoms by Interfering With Host Metabolism, Gene Expression, and Immunity. Front. Pediatr., 04 December 2018  https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2018.00373

[5] Kritas s et al. Impact of mold on mast cell-cytokine immune response. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents . Jul-Aug 2018;32(4):763-768.

[6] Zhihua Lv et al. Clinical characteristics and co-infections of 354 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study. Microbes and Infection 22 (2020) 195e199. DOI: 10.1016/j.micinf.2020.05.007

[7] Chen, et.al Lancet. Volume 395, Issue 10223, 15–21 February 2020, Pages 507-513. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30211-7

[8] Name, JJ. et al. Zinc, Vitamin D and Vitamin C: Perspectives for COVID-19 With a Focus on Physical Tissue Barrier Integrity. Front. Nutr., 07 December 2020. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2020.606398

[9] https://www.consultdranderson.com/nutrients-and-covid-19/

[10] Gombart AF, Pierre A, Maggini S. A review of micronutrients and the immune system-working in harmony to reduce the risk of infection. Nutrients. (2020) 12:236. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010236

[11] Kjellberg A et al. Can hyperbaric oxygen safely serve as an anti-inflammatory treatment for COVID-19?  Medical Hypotheses  Volume 144, November 2020, 110224.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2020.110224

Are You Viral Sharing?

June 30, 2020

Since Idaho moved into Stage 4 of economic re-opening, there has been a resurgence of Covid-19 viral cases in both Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Even in rural Malheur county, the virus is spreading more rapidly, tripling case numbers in the last 15 days. See HERE to look at Idaho viral counts (look for Covid-19 demographics Tab).

In Idaho, the 18-29 year old age group is experiencing the greatest number of cases.

The spread in this age level may be due to a perception that young people are not at risk for serious consequences of getting ill. Unfortunately, this is not always true and the risk to others is significant due to an average 20-day viral shedding period. One infected person, with or without symptoms, can infect numerous other people, who then go on to infect others. As shown below, older persons are paying for this infection with their lives.

Covid-19 Idaho deaths by age June 29, 2020
https://public.tableau.com/profile/idaho.division.of.public.health#!/vizhome/DPHIdahoCOVID-19Dashboard_V2/Story1

Death rates are not currently rising, but I suspect that these numbers will climb once the virus has longer to damage infected lungs 2-4 weeks after initial infection. For survivors, detrimental effects due to a powerful lung infection may be long term.

The politicalization of common sense prevention measures may be providing an avenue for the virus to spread. The virus is highly contagious and is easily spread when given the opportunity. I encourage everyone to practice safe measures of social distancing and face coverings in public in order to reduce the risk of getting ill.

Covid-19 is not like other flu virus. Covid-19 is dangerous, not pleasant, and expensive if hospitalized.

Sharing is usually a fun activity. In the case of Covid-19, sharing is not recommended.

Be Safe at Work: Consider an Air Purifier

It is theorized that Covid-19 viral spread on cruise boats occurred thru air ducts, rather than direct person-to-person contact. Air purifiers designed to catch viral particles may be a prudent addition to workspaces.

Choosing the right type of purifier is important. Filtration size matters.

The Covid-19 virus is 0.12 microns in size.  

HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Air) purifiers are designed to capture 99.97% of 0.3 micron diameter particulates. Although 0.3 microns is larger than 0.12 microns, a NASA article indicates that they are probably helpful for particles much smaller in size, especially when combined with a granular material such as activated carbon. (For people who like reading technical articles, Click HERE to read NASA’s article).

ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air) purifiers are designed to capture 99.99% of 0.1 micron diameter particulates. These purifiers may be marketed as Ultra HEPA or Hyper HEPA. Since 0.1 microns is smaller than 0.12, these purifiers are designed to capture viruses.

There are numerous products on the market. Dr. Rodgers is not affiliated with any air purification company, but here are two ULPA product lines to help you begin your search.
IQAir captures down to 0.003 microns. Click HERE to learn more.
Intellipure captures down to 0.007 micron particles. Click HERE to learn more.

Avoid purifiers that dispense ozone or ions into the air without any physical filters.
These machines make dust heavier, thus moving dust from the air column to your floor or counter tops. They don’t actually remove anything from the environment. Additionally, ozone is a respiratory irritant and environmental pollutant causing damage to indoor plants.

Covid-19 Testing: Diagnostic and Immunity

What types of test are available?

 There are two categories of tests available.

Diagnostic Testing: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).  Presence or Absence of the virus.
This is a done by looking for viral RNA. Obtained with a nasal or throat swab. One test company also provides fecal sample testing.

A positive test confirms that you have the Covid-19 virus.

A negative test indicates that you do not have the virus OR that you are in the initial stages of viral infection.  During initial stages of infection, viral counts are low and may cause a false negative result.  If you have symptoms and test negative, a repeat test 1-2 weeks later is important to confirm test results.

Sample collection. Samples can be obtained via oral or nasal samples. Most tests are limited to hospitals and public health institutions.

Fecal PCR testing. There is evidence that the Covid-19 virus may continue to shed via the fecal route up to 5 weeks after clearance in the respiratory system.  This test is available with physician ordering only.
A fecal PCR test is not officially diagnostic for Covid-19, but may help determine:

  • If a Covid-19 patient continues to be a risk to others.
  • Help determine transmission risk from an asymptomatic person with possible viral exposure.
  • Possible infection in someone with Covid-19 symptoms.

For locations for Diagnostic Testing, See Article Can you get tested for Covid-19?

Immune reaction testing:  Immunoglobulin IgM/IgG. 
Currently only FDA approved tests are available and are limited. Testing availability should increase in the near future.

This blood test evaluates an immune response to the virus.  Immunoglobulins are important immune proteins that react to infection.

It is NOT diagnostic for viral infection.  It is NOT diagnostic for immunity. 

This test evaluates for an early or ongoing immune response to viral exposure.

  • IgM. IgM immunoglobulins rise from ~ day 7 to 21 days after initial infection. IgM does not remain in the body after this initial infectious stage.
  • IgG.  The body starts building IgG immunoglobulin ~14 days after initial infection and remains for longer periods of time. It is unknown how long IgG remain elevated after exposure to Covid-19.
  • At the time of this article, Crush the Curve Idaho offers an IgG test to anyone who wants to be tested for ~$100.  Their test may be helpful to determine an immune response, but only 13 days after a positive PCR test or 17 days after symptoms start. It is not reliable for people who never had symptoms. Click HERE to sign up for a test.

Can you get tested for Covid-19?

Because test supplies are limited, Covid-19 diagnostic testing continues to be reserved for people with symptoms or high-risk populations. Read CDC symptom list HERE.

If you suspect you have a Covid-19 infection, here is what you can do to get a diagnostic test.

  1. Call your physician office to determine if they are testing patients.
  2. If your physician is not offering a test, you may go to a drive up test centers.

Southwest Idaho Residents.  Central District Health has a list of drive-up testing locations. Please see each location for their criteria for testing.  Prices vary.

Malheur County Residents. Malheur County Health Department is beginning to provide Drive-up test centers on specific days.  New test sites locations are provided via press releases HERE

To determine if you are eligible, please look at the criteria HERE.

The next drive up test site for Malheur residents is in Vale. See bilingual Flyer HERE

  • Thursday, May 14, 2020
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  •  Wadleigh Park Parking Lot.
  • Cost: Free.  You must be a Malheur County resident.

For more about testing, see Article Covid-19 Testing: Diagnostic and Immunity

Life During Covid-19: Keeping safe as businesses re-open

May 11, 2020

The last month of stay at home orders has been a challenge for everyone.  Now that states are starting to re-open, it is important to keep yourself and those around you safe.

I hope the following information helps answer questions and guide you in the following months.

  1. With the economy starting to re-open, does this the Covid-19 virus is gone?
  2. How many cases are there in my county?
  3. Should I continue to social distance?
  4. Am I at risk if I’m not over 65?
  5. Shouldn’t we get it over with and get the virus already?
  6. Can we beat this virus?
  7. Should I get tested?
  8. Are tests available and what does testing mean?
  9. If I’ve had Covid-19, am I immune and can I pass it to others?

1. Since the economy is starting to open, does this mean the Covid-19 virus is gone?

No, the virus is not gone. However, it is theorized that due to most people experiencing mild symptoms, most infections are not tested and infection numbers are under reported.  Fortunately, Idaho and Oregon have relatively few cases of the virus and the infection numbers are stabilizing.

2. How many cases are there in my area?

The following May 10, 2020 data was obtained from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center Click HERE to see up to date information.

Oregon (stats based on 2019 Population 4,217,737)

  • 3228 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 127 deaths.  
  • Positive tests: 4.2% of the those tested
  • 4% mortality of confirmed cases.
  • Malheur county reports 14 confirmed cases and zero deaths.
  • Tested (PCR): 75,450, representing 1.8 % of the total state population

Idaho (stats based on 2019 population of 1,787,065)

  • 2230 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 67 deaths.  
  • Positive tests: 6.4% of those tested.
  • 3% mortality of confirmed cases.
  • Tested (PCR): 31,961, representing 1.8 % of the state population.
  • County data in Southwest Idaho
    • Ada county reports 733 cases and 19 deaths
    • Boise county reports 0 cases and 0 deaths
    • Canyon county reports 272 cases and 6 deaths
    • Gem county reports 16 cases and 0 deaths
    • Owyhee county reports 8 cases and 0 deaths.
    • Payette county reports 17 cases and 2 deaths
    • Washington county reports 1 case and 0 deaths

3. Should I continue to social distance?

Yes.  

As business open, some people may feel that social distancing measures are not needed. This is a misguided assumption. The virus is highly infectious.  Continuing safe social distancing measures will help reduce the spread of infection and ensure an open economy.

The best way to reduce viral transmission is for EVERYONE to practice preventative measures: 

  1. Social distancing: maintain at least 6 feet from other people.
  2. Wear a facemask in public covering both nose and mouth.
  3. Washing hands with soap for 20 seconds after being in public. 

4. Am I at risk if I’m not over 65?

There are more total cases of Covid-19 for those age 49 and younger, but the mortality rate is higher for those ages 50 and greater.

Idaho cases and deaths per age group.  ( May 9, 2020 click HERE to see source )

Age Idaho Cases Deaths / % total Deaths
 18-29 460 0 deaths / 0 %
30-39 352 0 deaths / 0 %
40-49 362 0 deaths / 0 %
50-59 368 2 deaths / 3%
60-69 282 9 deaths / 13.4%
70-79 162 13 deaths / 19.4%
80+ 154 43 deaths / 64.2%

Younger people may feel safe from the disease’s mortality rate, but younger people have developed blood clots or died from Covid-19 and there is a risk of transferring the virus to others. Risk factors that may worsen Covid-19 symptoms for every age group include smoking, vaping, diabetes, and asthma.

5. Shouldn’t we get it over with and get the virus already?

There is an argument to open the economy and let the population be exposed to the virus to develop community-wide immunity.  The problem with this argument is the lack of evidence about how strong immunity occurs after exposure.  Furthermore, it is unknown the long term health concerns after viral exposure. Blood clotting may be an acute symptom, but it is not known if there are lingering effects of the virus. Patients who survive the disease after the use of a ventilator may experience long-term heart and lung damage.   Preventing the disease means preventing long-term health consequences.

Additionally, current viral hotspots of the virus where social distancing was not implemented (ie, meat packing plants and prisons) demonstrate rapid viral spread followed by numerous deaths.  The virus then spreads to the greater adjacent communities, putting more susceptible individuals at risk.

It is extremely difficult to protect vulnerable populations such as older persons, those with inflammatory disease, and those with immune deficiency disease. Without everyone participating in social distancing, people may die.

Social distancing will reduce the time the virus remains in our communities.  Until we have universal testing, contact (exposure) tracing, and isolation of those effected or exposed, the virus will continue to spread.

6. Can we beat this virus?

Yes, with discipline and time.  The Smallpox eradication story is a profound lesson of a collective will to eradicate disease.  Smallpox ravaged the world for millennia (it is found in Egyptian mummies) and yet many Millennials may be unaware that their parents were vaccinated against it.  (For those millennials reading this: ask a Baby Boomer about their distinctive smallpox vaccine scar.)

Depending on the strain, Smallpox had a 30-90% fatality rate. Most people died about 2 weeks after contracting the virus. Smallpox killed hundreds of thousands yearly. For those who survived, many were blind and scarred for life.  Smallpox was a monster compared to Covid-19.

Small pox was eradicated in 1977. Eradication of this millennia old, rampant, lethal virus was accomplished with vaccination, identification and isolation of infected individuals, and isolation of those exposed.

We can deal with the Covid-19 virus.   We know how to

  • Reduce exposure (social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands).
  • Test and care for those exposed.
  • Improve our immune systems (eat well, sleep well, immune supportive nutrients) Click HERE for Dr. Rodgers suggested list of immune support.
  • Isolate and care for the infected.
  • Develop vaccines.

What we do in the next year will determine how well we will have learned our lesson from past viruses.  We can defeat this virus if done properly.

7. Should I get tested?

The CDC has issued guidelines for testing priorities.  Click HERE to learn if you qualify for a viral detection test. 

For most people, testing is based on the presence of symptoms. The CDC has recently expanded its symptom list to include:

  1. Cough
  2. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  3. Or at least two of these symptoms:
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
  4. Some patients also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Anecdotal stories include some positive tested patients without cough symptoms.

If you feel you are eligible for a test, please contact your medical provider to discuss your symptoms.  

Stay up to date with the CDC’s symptom list HERE

8. What types of test are available?

 There are two categories of tests available.

Diagnostic Testing: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).  Presence or Absence of the virus.
This is a done by looking for viral RNA. Obtained with a nasal or throat swab. One test company also provides fecal sample testing.

A positive test confirms that you have the Covid-19 virus.

A negative test indicates that you do not have the virus OR that you are in the initial stages of viral infection.  During initial stages of infection, viral counts are low and may cause a false negative result.  If you have symptoms and test negative, a repeat test 1-2 weeks later is important to confirm test results.

Sample collection. Samples can be obtained via oral or nasal samples. Most tests are limited to hospitals and public health institutions.

Fecal PCR testing. There is evidence that the Covid-19 virus may continue to shed via the fecal route up to 5 weeks after clearance in the respiratory system.  This test is available with physician ordering only.
A fecal PCR test is not officially diagnostic for Covid-19, but may help determine:

  • If a Covid-19 patient continues to be a risk to others.
  • Help determine transmission risk from an asymptomatic person with possible viral exposure.
  • Possible infection in someone with Covid-19 symptoms.

Immune reaction testing:  Immunoglobulin IgM/IgG. 
Currently only FDA approved tests are available and are limited. Testing availability should increase in the near future.

This blood test evaluates an immune response to the virus.  Immunoglobulins are important immune proteins that react to infection.

It is NOT diagnostic for viral infection.  It is NOT diagnostic for immunity. 

This test evaluates for an early or ongoing immune response to viral exposure.

  • IgM. IgM immunoglobulins rise from ~ day 7 to 21 days after initial infection. IgM does not remain in the body after this initial infectious stage.
  • IgG.  The body starts building IgG immunoglobulin ~14 days after initial infection and remains for longer periods of time. It is unknown how long IgG remain elevated after exposure to Covid-19.
  • Crush the Curve Idaho offers an IgG test to anyone who wants to be tested for ~$100.  Their test may be helpful to determine an immune response, but only 13 days after a positive PCR test or 17 days after symptoms start. It is not reliable for people who never had symptoms. Click HERE to sign up for a test.

9. If I’ve had Covid-19, am I immune and can I pass it to others?

Unfortunately, the strength and duration of immunity created after exposure to Covid -19 is unknown.   It is ASSUMED that one may become immune to the disease and not contagious. Unfortunately, this assumption has not yet been proven. It is hoped that survival of a Covid-19 infection will impart immunity to this viral strain for most people