Covid19: 03/19/2020 | Long Read
On a recent thread a practitioner on my Facebook Group wrote about their anxiety and frustration in attempting to help an elderly friend from a distance. They wrote of their own fear and uncertainty and the overall lack of any guidance whatsoever with regard to just how to take care of this person should they go on and develop severe consequences of Covid19 infection.
Initially, I could feel myself lapsing into a similar sense of futility, and was almost at the point of moving on, but something inside of me refused to let go. I thought of those early pioneers on the American prairie, who might have lived on farms that were miles from their nearest neighbors, and doctors who were hours away by horse and buggy. What challenges they must have had to deal with! And with no internet to provide them with useful (and useless) advice and opinion. How did they cope? They did what they could with what they had, and surprisingly this was often good enough.
In the depths of our sadness and fear we can sometimes underestimate the power of supportive care. Yes, it becomes less important in the direst circumstances (excluding the power of ‘tender loving kindness’, which works even at this stage) but every step along the way prior to medical extremis is loaded with opportunity.
We often become burdened by the hypothetical, as if imagining the possibility of something is the equivalent to its existence. It’s not. The vast majority of what is possible is unlikely to occur. Sure, precautions are always in order, but trusting in the rigorous requirements of reality can be very healing. I’ve spent the greater part of my life studying how our bodies can go wrong, and you’d think that it would have conditioned me to see the Sword of Damocles in everything. In fact, experience has taught me the exact opposite. We ride the rails in a machine of wondrous capability; a device capable of fixing itself like no machine every manufactured or envisioned.
You are an engineer.
Engineers don’t deal in hypotheticals. Their line of sight goes from logic, to math, then to some sort of practical solution; typically, with a pinch of artistry thrown in. Engineers love structure, because structure holds things up and keeps everything together. Structure often defines the relationship between things, which can tell us a lot about their purpose and how it relates to the world.
We are creatures of logic and science, so there’s absolutely no reason why we cannot hedge every opportunity to assist this wondrous machinery to do the very best job possible. We just need to add a pinch of strategy to the mix.
Military thinkers have spent thousands of years refining the theories of offense and defense. Let’s look at a few of the concepts that have stood the test of time.
Think like your opponent. The worst thing you can do is develop a plan that requires your opponent to do exactly what you need them to do in order for your plan to work. That cost the French the battle in 1940; they put their energy into a line of fortifications that the Germans simply went around, rather than banging their heads against it in the manner anticipated by the French command.
Viruses are tricky critters. In fact, if we define ‘critter’ as something living, they might not even qualify to be a critter. They are simply threads of genetic material looking for a home, and whose machinery they can hijack to make more threads of genetic machinery. The DNA and RNA nucleic acids that comprise a virus is somewhat resilient, as shown by use of DNA as crime scene evidence. However, nucleic acids can easily be scrambled (‘denatured’) by a surprising number of things in this world; from salt to sunshine, from vinegar to bicarbonate, from alcohol and bleach, to urine. Like any good multinational corporation, viruses must grow or die. Left on their own, they soon die of homelessness on most surfaces, sooner if the surface is moist and filled with other living things to chew on them (like dirt) and later if the surface is shiny and inert (like a countertop).
Groundwork is the power of anticipation. It’s important, especially if you hear distant sounds of marching that appears to be getting louder. And they’re not your people. It was said of the ancient Romans that ‘they practiced for war, and thus their wars were practice.’ Let’s train for Covid19.
Covid19 ‘Groundwork’ Strategies:
Basic diet for your blood type
Consider supplementing with:
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin C
What makes viruses so nasty is their inexorable capacity to latch on to things, cultivated over billions of years of trial and error. Like any decent parasite, the best typically find some ubiquitous biological process and then mutate to glom onto some aspect of it so as to sneak into the host. At that point, in the words of my microbiology instructor, the virus tells the cell “you’re working for me now.” And, although the idea of a fortified line didn’t work so well for the French in 1940, the strategy (known as ‘preclusive security’) does have value. However, you have to find a way to force (‘canalize’) the invader to have no other choice but to directly attack your defensive wall.
However, even before our invaders begin to scale the walls of our citadels, there are other ways to foil their nefarious intent. These are known as ‘battlefield conditioners’ and the idea is that you hobble the invader before they even get the chance to deal with the fortifications.
Covid19 ‘Conditioning’ Strategies:
• Foods with mannose-binding lectins (leeks, onions, garlic, shallots)
• Green tea
• Magnolia Bark
Castles had moats, and World War I had its barbed wire. We think of the current methods of containment involving isolation as sparing us infection, but they may well have other unintended benefits. That’s due to what is called ‘viral load’, which is the actual amount of virus particles for a given volume of space (that ‘volume’ being you). One of the reasons why health care workers seem to come down with more severe consequences of Covid19 is the likelihood of repeated exposures that occur as a result of their handling numerous infected patients. On the other hand, a low dose of virus weakened (‘attenuated’} by good hand and environmental hygiene coupled with overall minimal exposure might augur well for a limited illness. Now, I’m not saying that you should run out and try this, but rather it will likely be inevitable that this will eventually be tried on you, whether you want it or not; so if that’s the case, one might, as in the words of Louis Pasteur, benefit from the aphorism that ‘chance benefits from a prepared mind.’
So the virus is now in our killing field, its uniform getting shredded by barbed wire, soaking wet from having to swim the moat and quite disturbed by the fact that when they look back over their shoulders, they don’t see a lot of their fellow viruses behind them. But these are pushy little buggers, so we should not relax. Yet. How are the walls of our citadel? Are they crumbling in places because we’ve neglected their upkeep? What needs to be done? Now is the time for what strategists call ‘defense in depth.’
Covid19 ‘Defense in Depth’ Strategies:
Sulforaphane (sprouted cruciferous veggies)
Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)
Stinging Nettle Root
Cybernetics is a largely neglected field that studies the philosophy of control. Perhaps its major contribution to the world is what has been called ‘The Law of Requisite Variety’. It’s a bit obtuse, but easy to grasp intuitively, since all it says is that ‘a control mechanism must have more degrees of variation than the number of states exhibited by what it seeks to control.’ For example, a traffic light that works well for a four-way intersection, would need upgrading should we pave a new road diagonally across the intersection. It would not have sufficient variation to control what is now a six-way intersection.
Requisite variety powerfully amplifies many therapies. For example, we now control HIV/AIDS with cocktails of several drugs, each of which acts on a different process used by the virus. Interestingly, most of these drugs would not be all that therapeutic if it were used by itself; it is the combination of differing actions that puts a gun to the head of the virus and says, ‘mutate or die.’ Except that nothing in nature, including viruses, can mutate to multiple threats simultaneously.
You can utilize Requisite Variety as part of your Covid19 defense. Simply select one or two agents from each category above together to form a ‘treatment group’. That will produce a combination that is comprised of agents that work by differing mechanisms, and thus fulfilling requisite variety. You can even add more variety to variety by periodically changing out the combination. That should really screw with things.
If you’ve followed my public posts since mid- January, you know that I deeply feel that there is much to Covid19 that is concerning. However, we can beat this thing. Everything has a breaking point, including novel coronavirus.
We just need to think like engineers, with the spirit, confidence and resilience of pioneers.