Friday, March 27, 2020

GOOP's Holistic Psychiatrist and COVID-19

I've come across Kelly Brogan before through the Science Based Medicine blog.   She is a known anti-vaxxer and purveyor of quackery including pushing the idea that depression symptoms are caused by diet.  She is a very good example of how someone with a medical degree can spout complete nonsense.

Now during the COVID-19 pandemic, Brogan gives some of her outrageous views

"to single one out and villanize it, to me is just silly"   She doesn't believe in germ-based contagion.  She believes that fear is the cause of the deaths of people.

It is ideas like hers that are putting people at risk.  The spread of the virus spreads quickly when people don't follow the advice that we've been given by the real expert medical advice from WHO, CDC, Health Canada, etc.   Beliefs are not enough to go on.   You should base your decisions on facts, science, and rationality.  How people can support quackery pushers like Brogan is beyond me.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

COVID-19 vs Flu

Many people keep trying to compare the coronavirus to the flu.   Here's a quick post to show why you shouldn't do that.

While many of the symptoms are similar for both, that does not make them comparable.  Especially when comparing death rates.

COVID-19 is the name of the coronavirus strain.
The flu is many different strains including H1N1, H3N2, H3N2v, Victoria Lineage, Yamagata Lineage just to list some major ones for this past season.

Thus you can't just lump all the flu deaths as one and then compare it to just one strain of coronavirus.  It just doesn't make sense to do so.  Here is a graph showing positive specimens collected from US Public Health Laboratories:

The other that makes COVID-19 different from those the flu is that we have vaccines for various strains of the flu.  We don't have a vaccine for COVID-19 yet.  This is what is concerning about the current pandemic.  Without any herd immunity at all, the spread of COVID-19 will cause deaths that we can't prevent yet.   Many deaths from the flu are people who are not vaccinated.  For example 80%  of children deaths in the 2017-18 season were not vaccinated.  Many of those could've been preventable. ( ).   Again, without a vaccine, COVID-19 is a growing concern as it becomes more widespread.  This is why we are practicing social distancing and diligent hand washing.  As you can see in the USA, the number of confirmed cases has sharply risen in just 10 days.

One also has to consider the difference between estimated deaths and incremental deaths. Both have different levels of accuracy, precision and meaning. for example shows incremental (deaths as they are reported) for COVID19. Incremental data will not be absolutely accurate because not every single case will be detected (i.e. those who die at home or those whose cause of death can't be accurately attributed on the day of death). Thus the actual numbers will be higher than reported. Incremental data though is more precise than estimated.

Estimated is probably closer to that actual number (as estimated is retroactive) but it has a wider range of error as it cannot be precise. So both data sets can be helpful in understanding an issue. To compare estimated deaths of flu to incremental deaths of COVID-19 becomes obviously problematic then.

If we take the Diamond Princess cruise ship as a closed system example, it gives us more complete data. "For this outbreak, the case fatality rate as of late April 2020 was 1.8% (13 deaths out of 712 cases); age adjusted to reflect the general population, the figure would have been closer to 0.5%. A case fatality rate of 0.5% would still be 5 times the commonly cited case fatality rate of adult seasonal influenza."

As always, make sure to get your info from verified sources (WHO, CDC, Health Canada, etc) as these will give you the most accurate information you will need to make decisions.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus and 5G Debunked

Don't be like this person who posted a conspiracy video about COVID-19.  We don't need fear and misinformation in the world at this time (or any time for that matter). 

The lady in this video goes all out conspiracy nut.  Not only does she have poor ideas about 5G and EMF, but she also is a vaccine denialist (blaming Bill Gates for using vaccines to kill off the population.  See this for more info on that being debunked 10 years ago: ), and a HIV/AIDS denialist.

Electromagnetic sensitivity has been debunked.  "The majority of studies indicate that EHS individuals cannot detect EMF exposure any more accurately than non-EHS individuals. Well controlled and conducted double-blind studies have shown that symptoms were not correlated with EMF exposure."

Also see my piece on 5G

"What can be definitively stated is that 5G doesn't cause or spread a virus.
"It's a ridiculous concept," said John Bucher, a senior scientist with the National Toxicology Program, a US Health and Human Services interagency program dedicated to testing and evaluating substances in our environment."

Only seek qualified medical advice about the coronavirus.  Follow the WHO, CDC, Health Canada etc. 

Walmart $55 Hoax

These types of scams will pop up a lot during the COVID-19 quarantines and shutdowns.   People will be scrambling for money as their income becomes very limited to non-existent.  These scams will be enticing because of that.
If you see a post like this saying a company will give free product, money, etc to everyone that shares, it is most likely a scam. Do not click on the link or share it. These links often will ask for information (they may use it for identity theft or hacking), or the link may lead to a virus download of some sort.

Also see

Coronavirus was the Flu hoax

Another day another coronavirus hoax.    This will be a quick one...hopefully.
The first thing I see is the phrase "my Daughter took her Daughter".  That is a very clunky phrase to write instead of just saying my granddaughter.  Sure people probably will say that from time to time, but it does get my "something is off" alarm ringing telling me to be cautious.

I am not sure when this post was made, but as of March 18th, the second case of confirmed infection is in West Virginia (assuming the author means WV is West Virginia).
This totally negates what is being said.  Of course, you have to consider every other state and country as well and the idea this post puts out falls apart.

I'm not sure what type of "Dr" this person's granddaughter saw (it could've been a quack naturopathic practitioner ND...or as we lovingly call them "Not a Doctor".  The same can be said of chiropractors who are not medical doctors), but it is unlikely they would have any information that would back up that statement.  If COVID-19 was already rampant, then more people would be testing positive around the world and the death toll would be higher. 

Any reputable Dr would know that the Flu is not caused by a single strain.  It is caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses.  COVID-19 is caused by...well COVID-19.  So suggesting COVID-19 was "the Flu that had passed through" back in November is meaningless.

Could COVID-19 have started in November?  Well if you figure when the outbreak in Wuhan was reported at the end of December, take into account the incubation period before symptoms show and also the time before a bigger problem (outbreak) was noticed, then yes in the Wuhan area it's relative outbreak emergence would be at the end of November beginning of December.  That of course does not mean anything for the rest of the world.

Suffice to say, this social media post is full of information that doesn't quite add up.  It doesn't match up with official reports and seems to traverse slightly into a conspiracy mindset. 
As always get your COVID-19 info from qualified sources, not random social media posts

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Corona Virus Drinking Water Hoax

There are lots of hoaxes and misinformation about the coronavirus.   It is best to seek information from qualified sources like CDC, Health Canada, etc.

Some of the misinformation include:

  • Drinking cow urine to ward off the virus
  • Holding your breath can diagnose if you are contaminated
  • It's a population control procedure put out by the illuminati
  • It's caused by the Devil
  • You can prevent it by taking tonnes of supplements
One that keeps popping up on social media is this idea:

This doesn't even make sense.   The coronavirus is a respiratory track disease.  It starts off in the nose, mouth, layrnx and bronchi.   It can also enter the body through the eyes (hence why health officials say to not touch your mouth, nose or eyes and even your face in general and to wash your hands).   So are you going to spray vinegar in your eyes and nose too?

The virus does not hang out in your throat for 4 days.   Even if it did, drinking water would not help.  Think about anytime you had a sore throat.  Drinking water doesn't prevent the infection. There have been some that have claimed that you can flush the virus into the stomach where the acid will kill the virus.   Again, drinking lots of water will not help.  While it's important to stay hydrated, drinking copious amounts of water can cause problems like dilution of the blood so there is less electrolytes in the bloodstream including sodium.  Look up water intoxication for more info.

There have been lots of claims about the health benefits of vinegar.   Most are either completely wrong or overhyped.  While vinegar has some antimicrobial properties, it will not do better than washing your hands with soap for example.  In fact, consuming too much vinegar can have negative effects.  It can weaken tooth enamel, increase acid reflux, and nausea. It can also interfere with certain medications. 

This misinformation shared on social media can also do harm by making people think this is all they need to do and they can self-medicate.  Some people will think they are safe and behave irresponsibly thinking they are immune and/or spread an infection to others.   Some people will forgo actual medical treatment opting for useless remedies and may cause more harm to themselves...and to others.

So don't just share things on social media because of fear or because of a bias you may have.  Seek out qualified information if you truly care about yourself and others.

For qualified info on the coronavirus

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Weightloss Scams

You might have seen a Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram post similar to this over the past decade.   This is a common clickbait marketing scheme used by mlm/pyramid scheme supplement companies.  As often is the case with many mlm's they never tell you upfront what the product is.  They have to message you.  The reason being is because if the put the company/product out, many people who have been duped by these products or are scambusters like me would post specific warnings about it.  Unfortunately, from this post I cannot tell exactly which mlm it is. It could be Isagenix, Xyngular, Herbalife, Juice Plus+, Melaleuca, Shaklee or some variation of a green bean coffee extract company (just too many to list all). 

The products they offer often lack much in the way of efficacy.  Most have no double-blind placebo controlled studies behind them.  They often use ingredients that MAY have a small but insignificant effect and then over-hype it.  Some have absolutely no effect or even negative effects.  All they have are often only anecdotes, which of course is not evidence. 

Some distributors (and even the companies) have made misleading and in some cases illegal health claims about the products.

Just for example you can see some of the issues with Isagenix in these articles from Harriet Hall
The similar flawed thinking is rampant throughout mlms.

Then add in the issues with mlms in general where most distributors make little to no money.  Here's Xyngular's report from 2016 showing 82% making $60 a month...sometimes nothing at all!

As with many supplements it is important to note that they are not regulated like medicine.  Some have been shown to contain dangerous levels of heavy metals and carcinogenic substances.  Sometimes quality control isn't the best with supplements.  Some ingredients can also interact with medicines.

As always, always check with your MD, family doctor, specialist, dietician, before taking any supplement.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Little Caesar's Free Pizza

If you see a post like this saying a company will give free product to everyone that shares, it is most likely a scam. Do not click on the link or share it. This particular one, Little Caesar's has confirmed to me that the link "is not a verifiable source or offer."

Most companies would not spend that much to provide free items.  2 Large pizzas (let's say pepperoni and green pepper toppings) costs $26.48 at my location.   Now let's say it was true and that 1million people share.  The company would loose out on 26million dollars.  I don't think a company would risk a viral post going that high or even higher to promote their business.  

A company might gamble with a lower cost item that really would only cost them pennies for each item (Like Free Slurpee Day at 7 Eleven) but these often require you to go into the establishment and many people would more than likely buy other items thus offsetting the cost of the freebie or at least offsetting a large chunk of the cost.