I am a retired physician and COVID-19 survivor, and I am here to deliver a message contained in the heart of this pandemic. I am also the author of Stress R Us found here in the MAHB library, and a Cassandra – sounding the clarion call initially delivered by Paul R. Ehrlich in his prescient 1968 book, THE POPULATION BOMB. We are now at the confluence of all three in our current pandemic: COVID-19, the medical consequences of human overpopulation, and the rapidly increasing worldwide consequences of our continued overproduction of 206,000 new innocent souls daily. No-one, with any medical training and experience, can possibly deny that COVID-19 is dangerous and spreads rapidly in unprotected, crowded human populations. We should all now be aware that those of us with “pre-existing” medical conditions are at the greatest risk of a fatal outcome, even with heroic, exhausting, expensive medical intervention. So, how many of us in the US have these pre-existing medical conditions? Just a handful of oldsters tucked away out of sight in “nursing homes”?
Numerous medical sources state that 55% of adult Americans have at least one serious, chronic medical condition (hypertension, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, obesity/type II diabetes, impaired immune system, etc.), and 80% of us over 50-year-olds. Why are we so sick, and vulnerable to COVID-19? The answer to that rarely asked question should be all the more evident in this pandemic: population density stress is killing us NOW (the title of a previous blog post of mine in the MAHB library).
What is “population density stress”? I have gathered the following under this heading: crowding in urban centers packed with strangers; the loss of our long-established social order – the clan; exposure to a constant barrage of stressful environmental stimuli (noise, movement, fearful images, violence, etc.); estrangement from the soothing rhythms of the intact natural world; and, now, fear of contagion (COVID-19). The details of how this set of modern “stressors” is causing our “diseases of civilization” can be found in my book referenced earlier.
So, what proof of this theory do I have? Well, again, the extensive details of a massive research effort and long clinical medical career treating 25,000 patients and writing 1,000,000 Rx are to be found in my book. However, there is a massive amount of supporting information to be found in published medical reports by physicians treating isolated clans/bands of contemporary hunter-gatherers throughout the 20th century. Did you know that 600,000 of these shy, retreating fellows are still living as all of our pre-agricultural revolution ancestors did 6,000 to 10,000 years ago? To summarize, none of our “diseases of civilization” are found in these populations.
Furthermore, you and I and all of our fellow humans share essentially the same genes, 99.5% identical. Only one other mammal on the planet has this degree of genetic identity, and that’s the oh-so-homely blind mole rat. So, if you’re following here, and we all have essentially the same genes, doesn’t that mean our modern man-made environment is what’s killing us through all of these myriad and rapidly increasing “diseases of civilization”? If you can find a better answer than “population density stress is killing us now”, then do please share it with MAHB readers.
In the meantime, this old doc strongly suggests that you wear your face masks when appropriate (inside buildings or outside when social distancing is not possible), maintain a social distance (6 to 10 feet), wash your hands frequently (better chapped hands than a vent), avoid anyone coughing (a chief symptom of COVID-19), stay at home if you know you’ve been exposed to someone with the virus (unless you’re in a political campaign, of course!) and, for God’s sake, stay at home for at least a week after all of your COVID-19 symptoms have cleared. Didn’t your dear mother tell you to listen to the doctor and mind his suggestions to protect your health and that of everyone around you?
Thank you for your time and interest and stay well. I can tell you from experience that infection and illness from COVID-19 is no joke, in spite of what some may say.
Greeley G. (“Gregg”) Miklashek, MD, firstname.lastname@example.org