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Nonsense About the Coronavirus Goes Viral

It didn’t take long for pseudoscientific claptrap to pollute discussions of the coronavirus epidemic. But as with all news stories (even the serious ones), the quacks start to get their feet wet.

It started with a video of a woman, supposedly in Wuhan, eating a bat. The inference, with racist overtones, is that the Chinese habit of consuming strange foods has now put the population of the world at risk. The truth is that the video has nothing to do with Wuhan, and is not new. It was shot as part of a travel program showing the Chinese host sampling a bat dish on the Pacific island of Palau where such exotic foods are apparently favoured. As is often the case, the twaddle that spreads like wildfire on the Internet, has a kernel of truth. DNA evidence indicates that the coronavirus was transmitted to humans from some wild animal and epidemiologists have even targeted a market in Wuhan that offered the likes of beavers, porcupines and snakes for sale as a possible “ground zero,” although this is controversial. Bats may come into the equation because it is known that they can transfer viruses to other animals through their feces.

The term “wet market” comes from the copious amounts of water used in such establishments to clean the floor of animal excreta and butchering remnants. This makes for conditions that allow microbes to thrive and contaminate workers along with whatever items they handle. A further disturbing aspect is that such markets stock exotic creatures not for food, but for sale to adherents of Traditional Chinese Medicine who believe that specific animal parts can cure ailments and increase sexual potency.

Indeed, the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic was traced to a “wet market” selling civet cats for the supposed aphrodisiac qualities of their scent glands. There is even a restaurant in Beijing that specializes in animal genitalia with veiled suggestions about enhancing sexual prowess. The menu includes sheep testicles and thinly sliced donkey penis, with women being cautioned to stay away from the testicles because the hormones they contain can result in a deeper voice and beard growth. While there is no evidence of any aphrodisiac efficacy, at least there are no reports that such peculiar offerings have sickened people.

What is sickening, however, are the ludicrous “cures” for coronavirus infection and supposed “preventive measures” offered through social media. Perhaps the most outrageous regimen comes from uber-quack Jim Humble, the originator of “Miracle Mineral Solution.” The only miracle here is that authorities have been unable to prevent Humble from promoting this fetid nonsense. Here is his take on the situation:

“MMS (sodium chlorite activated with a food grade acid which then produces chlorine dioxide) kills most of the diseases of mankind. I don't know for sure about the coronavirus at this time—but we know that MMS kills viruses as well as pathogens of all kinds and is an immune system builder. There is much anecdotal evidence that says MMS has proven very effective in eradicating viruses including Ebola, Swine Flu, TB, and other respiratory diseases. Chlorine dioxide was completely effective against Anthrax in 2001, and used by US Military for Ebola in 2014. It's been proven by the Red Cross in 2012 to eradicate malaria in just four hours, to name a few. I have been receiving feedback for over 22 years from people all around the world who have given testimony of how they recovered their health from a vast variety of disease, many life-threatening, with MMS. Therefore, I have every reason to believe it can be effective in stopping and preventing the current novel coronavirus going around today.”

Actually, there is every reason to believe that none of this is true. What is true, is that ingestion of chlorine dioxide, basically industrial bleach, can cause nausea, vomiting, and a life-threatening drop in blood pressure. Humble actually maintains that nausea is a good thing because it means the body is eliminating toxins, but if bothered, he suggests it can be controlled “by eating cold apple slices that will absorb stomach toxins that have been dumped there.”

Dr. Gabriel Cousens, a physician who is also a homeopath, has also gotten into the game. The man has a checkered history that includes loss of license for excessive prescribing, a lawsuit for death of a patient caused by Cousens injecting “bovine adrenal fluid,” and attempts to cure diabetes with a raw food diet. He believes that “a singlet oxygen atom of iodine” is the “most powerful antiviral substance available to us.” This is a scientifically meaningless term, but nevertheless he sells “Illumodine” which supposedly contains it. No idea what it actually is because the only available description is that it is “organic,” (yup organic iodine) radiation-free, 100% bioavailable, scalar wave energized, algae-free and 100% pure. What it is, is 100% nonsense. How someone with medical training can write such rubbish is puzzling. Cousens admits that he has no experience treating coronavirus infection, nevertheless he states that “I’ve found that 5-15 drops per hour (of his magical Illumodine) until the infection is gone is a reasonable protocol for most viral infections.” No, this is not reasonable. There is no evidence that any form of iodine cures viral infections. Neither does silver cutlery prevent them.

A circulating piece of wisdom informs us that “during the plagues, families that used their silver utensils were not affected to the same extent as those who used other materials to eat with.” We are therefore told to “dig out the family set you use only on special occasions because silver is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and has demonstrated the ability to repair damaged DNA.”

First, the plague was not caused by a virus, but rather by bacteria transmitted through flea bites. The only way silver cutlery would have helped was if it had been used to swat fleas. While it is true that silver has antimicrobial effects, this does not extend to viruses. You are not going to protect yourself against the coronavirus by eating with a silver spoon.

Then there is the ultimate lunacy of homeopathy, the treatment of existing disease with non-existing molecules. In this case, the treatment is with arsenic trioxide, albeit diluted to the extent that the final solution contains nothing. Needless to say, there is no evidence that arsenic in any form can destroy the coronavirus, at least not without destroying the patient. Amazingly, this bit of quackery comes from the “Indian Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha. Sowa Rigpa and Homeopathy (AYUSH).” Yes, India has such a ministry. The advice of treating coronavirus with homeopathy or with various Ayurvedic herbs has been roundly lambasted by the Indian Medical Association, as it should be.

Undoubtedly, as the coronavirus scare continues to spread, so will the nonsense about its cause and treatment. No, the virus is not a bioweapon that escaped from a laboratory, nor was it unleashed by Bill Gates to curb overpopulation and there is no vaccine that is being kept from the public. Neither will infection be cured with healing crystals, oil of oregano or drinking Corona beer. And remember that you are far, far more likely to be infected by the flu than the coronavirus. So, wash your hands. And don’t go batty about the coronavirus.


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