COVID-19 : INFORMATION & MISINFORMATION

Posted by on Mar 26, 2020 in COVID

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Like healthcare practitioners of all stripes I have received multiple  enquiries about COVID-19 – for obvious reasons  mostly about how botanical medicine fits in to the picture.

My demographic is people with a cancer challenge, and such comments that I can offer will be oriented to that population. This blog is attached to my clinical website, but is publicly acessible, so for any first time visitors, a brief disclosure. I am not a licensed physician nor credentialled in disciplines such as virology, infectious disease, epidemiology or public health and risk management.  I do have degrees in medical sciences and phytoptherapy (herbal medicine) from the UK,  and have worked clinically with herbal medicine in the integrative oncology setting for 20+ years much of which has been spent deep in the silos of the post genomic molecular biology of cancer and its interactions with  natural products. That is my wheelhouse.

Personally, in communications of all kinds, I always aspire to add to signal and reduce noise. In the current situation, the noise level everywhere is deafening, and is accompanied by varying degrees of frenzy, fear and panic.  In our already strange post-truth era, the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic only increases our need for  reliable, authoritative science-driven information to guide us  in making the best health decisions for ourselves, our familes and communities.  Unfortunately, in the USA especially, we are dealing with a catastrophic  lack of informed political leadership from the top in one of the largest public health crisis due to viral infection since the 1918 “Spanish” Flu or  HIV/AIDS.  (However, it is still imperative to follow CDC and State Public Health Guidelines for information about how to manage personal hygeine such as handwashing, social isolation  & quarantine measures etc, I am not going to repeat these).  Conditions on the ground do vary state by state, but in general, the nature of a rapidly developing viral pandemic is that the virus leads and everyone else follows, from research scientists to public health policy makers and practitioners its all  about catch-up. Put another way, if you feel you the extent of the measures you are implementing at home and in daily life are way over the top and overcautious, they are possibly heading in the right direction. At the best of times, this can be confusing, but coupled with today’s disinformation agenda from the top, we are arguably in unpredictable as well as uncharted waters without prior precedent.

It  should not be necessary to say – avoid social media as a source of information, whether on current events or on specific recommendations for prevention and treatment of any kind. There is a lot of misinformation circulating  on Facebook etc. Unfortunately this includes a significant amount of misinformation about herbs and their use in preventing and treating COVID. Sad to say, some of this material originates with self-identified herbal experts.

However, ninja researchers (ie many cancer patients) note that PubMed and many of the paywalled  academic publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley, Nature, etc., are making Open Access hubs to all publications related to  SARS-Cov-2 and  COVID-19, which if you are needing to check out the current science is very useful. Many papers are being published as “pre-print” ie not yet peer-reviewed, which is a caveat.  Finally, there are Twitter feeds from leading scientists, researchers and epidemiologists who are regularly posting cutting edge updates and data interpretation that is authentic and useful should you wish to drill down into ‘signal rich’ content. It does not make for very pretty reading.

I will add more comments here over the next few days, including:

  • Cancer and COVID – pros and cons
  • Terminology
  •  Immunoprevention with Botanicals

For current patients with specific questions and concerns, feel free to email them to me via support@jonathantreasure.com, or office@jonathantreasure.com

 

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