Unfortunately this pandemic seems to be spreading widely across the US, with many states reporting record numbers of cases and many hospitals full. I last wrote about this in my blog in April and the information I shared there is still valid, but there is some new information so I am reviewing the current knowledge about prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
Like my other blog posts, this is a work in progress and I will likely be modifying it in the near future so please check back.
Part 1: REDUCING SPREAD and RISK BY AGE
In terms of how much this illness has spread, the CDC says there are currently (as of 11/30/20) 13.1 million confirmed cases in the US but also estimates that there are 8 cases for each confirmed case. Other researchers suggest there may be 10 cases for each confirmed case. This means that 105-131 million people (out of a population of 331.7 million) have already been infected!
The most important thing I take from this is that if there are 8-10 cases for each confirmed case that means that the VAST majority of cases have NO or mild symptoms. But even if most people develop few or no symptoms it is clearly very capable of killing people. Currently there are 265,166 deaths related to COVID-19. But this means the death rate is about 0.22% (or about 1 in 454).
See https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days for current statistics.
While this is tragic, COVID-19 disproportionately affects the elderly (esp. those over age 65) and esp. the elderly with other significant medical problems. According to the CDC, only 6% of deaths from COVID-19 are in people who have good overall health; 94% have an average of 2.6 co-morbidities, meaning conditions like obesity, diabetes, chronic heart or chronic lung disease. This does not mean that COVID-19 didn’t cause their death; most of those people would have lived many years longer if they did not contract COVID-19. Clearly the elderly who have co-morbid conditions should do everything possible to minimize their chances of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, the risk of younger healthy people dying from this virus is extremely small. The death rate for those under 20 is 0.003% or 1 in 33,000. For ages 20-49 it is .0.02%. For 50-69 it is 0.5% and over age 70 is 5.4% Thus, even a large majority of the elderly who get COVID-19 will survive.
Of course, every death from COVID-19 at any age is tragic and 265,166 is a huge number.
I admire the dedicated doctors, nurses and other health care workers who have been doing their best under challenging circumstances but I also believe that if all doctors were aware of the natural therapies I will discuss below there would have been dramatically less deaths. Unfortunately most doctors receive no training in these natural therapies.
However, the only outcomes are not death or survival. There are a significant number of survivors who have developed chronic symptoms, so-called long-haulers. Doctors are still trying to understand why this is and how to treat it. I will discuss my ideas about that below, but this still is relatively uncommon.
It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it. Obviously it is prudent to minimize one’s risk of catching COVID-19. But besides avoiding contact with the virus, boosting our immune system is also crucial and this has not been a significant part of the public health message.
As time has passed it is now clear that people get this primarily by person-to-person transmission rather than touching contaminated surfaces. Below is information from the CDC (normally I would just provide this link, but experience shows hardly anyone clicks on these links and this is important enough I decided to quote most of it).
But besides the CDC advice, I would add that having a HEPA filter in your workplace is also wise, as is a negative ion generator. A device that diffuses propolis through the air may also be very effective.
“COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others. Cases of reinfection with COVID-19 have been reported but are rare. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.
COVID-19 spreads very easily from person to person
How easily a virus spreads from person to person can vary. The virus that causes COVID-19 appears to spread more efficiently than influenza but not as efficiently as measles, which is among the most contagious viruses known to affect people.
COVID-19 most commonly spreads during close contact
- People who are physically near (within 6 feet) a person with COVID-19 or have direct contact with that person are at greatest risk of infection.
- When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe they produce respiratory droplets. These droplets can range in size from larger droplets (some of which are visible) to smaller droplets. Small droplets can also form particles when they dry very quickly in the airstream.
- Infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth.
- As the respiratory droplets travel further from the person with COVID-19, the concentration of these droplets decreases. Larger droplets fall out of the air due to gravity. Smaller droplets and particles spread apart in the air.
- With passing time, the amount of infectious virus in respiratory droplets also decreases.
COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission
- Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space.
- This kind of spread is referred to as airborne transmission and is an important way that infections like tuberculosis, measles, and chicken pox are spread.
- There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising.
- Under these circumstances, scientists believe that the amount of infectious smaller droplet and particles produced by the people with COVID-19 became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people. The people who were infected were in the same space during the same time or shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left.
- Available data indicate that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission. 
COVID-19 spreads less commonly through contact with contaminated surfaces
- Respiratory droplets can also land on surfaces and objects. It is possible that a person could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads
COVID-19 rarely spreads between people and animals
- It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations. CDC is aware of a small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Learn what you should do if you have pets.
- At this time, the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low. Learn about COVID-19 and pets and other animals.
Protect yourself and others
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. You can take steps to slow the spread.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible. This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others. This helps reduce the risk of spread both by close contact and by airborne transmission.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid crowded indoor spaces and ensure indoor spaces are properly ventilated by bringing in outdoor air as much as possible. In general, being outdoors and in spaces with good ventilation reduces the risk of exposure to infectious respiratory droplets.
- Stay home and isolate from others when sick.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Pandemics can be stressful, especially when you are staying away from others. During this time, it’s important to maintain social connections and care for your mental health.”
Part 2 BOOSTING IMMUNITY
It is often said that “the best offense is a good defense.” While it is reasonable to follow the above guidelines, it is possible that people may still get this virus despite their best efforts. So it is absolutely crucial to take steps to boost our immune function. There are several supplements I will discuss but at least as important is common-sense diet and lifestyle measures.
A healthy diet is more important than ever; because social distancing and lock-down measures are stressful (as well as the recent political climate, though that has been less stressful for many since the election but also more stressful for many), and because most of us use eating as a response to stress, many have indulged more in unhealthy food and have gained weight during this pandemic.
My recommendations are simple. I believe it is crucial to minimize GMO foods now more than ever, as most GMO’s have significant levels of glyphosate (the “active ingredient” in the herbicide Round-Up, which reduces immune function. The vast majority of processed food (and restaurant food) that is not certified organic or non-GMO contain GMO ingredients such as corn (including corn starch, high-fructose corn syrup, corn oil), soy (including soy oil) and canola oil. See https://drrandybaker.com/2013/04/22/organic-food-diet/ for details.
I also advise eating plenty of organic vegetables and good quality protein (just a note about one of the most popular proteins, chicken: even if the chicken you buy says “free-range, all-natural, no antibiotics or hormones,” if it is not labeled as organic or non-GMO you can be sure those chickens were raised on GMO corn and soy and thus likely to have glyphosate; likewise if you eat beef choose organic or grass-fed beef). I don’t agree with everything well-known nutritionist Dr. Joel Wallach ND, DVM says, but he points out research that the death rate from COVID-19 is MUCH higher in countries where people eat gluten-containing grains as a staple vs. those that use rice and sweet potatoes as staples. While only a minority of people are gluten-sensitive, gluten causes temporary inflammation of the intestinal lining in everyone who eats it, reducing absorption of nutrients. I don’t believe it is necessary for most people to avoid gluten (found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt) but it is wise to not have too much too often and if you think you might have COVID-19 I would avoid it.
Research shows that stress significantly reduces immune function and these are very stressful times. I recommend everyone practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation- even a few minutes a day can help. If you have never meditated it is easier than ever to learn; the key is slow deep breathing (4 breaths per minute or less) while focusing your mind on breathing, repeating a phrase (or mantra) such as So Haam) or visualizing. There are many excellent guided meditations on YouTube and apps like the Calm app.
I have found that following these 3 principles can reduce stress:
1) In the words of Ram Dass BE HERE NOW.
Much of our lives we spend worrying about the future or ruminating over the past. The more we can live in the moment the less stress we experience. Listening to music, reading a good book, watching TV shows or movies, creating art, spending time in nature and spending quality time with loved ones are among the activities than can help us to live in the moment.
2) Live by the Golden Rule (treat others the way you want others to treat you)
3) Quoting Joseph Campbell, “Follow Your Bliss”
If we are pursuing our dreams and doing things that resonate with our values we will be happy, and being happy reduces stress.
Exercise also boosts immunity and reduces stress. These days it is wise to avoid going to the gym but a brisk walk in nature, riding a bike or home exercise equipment are good options.
Adequate rest and sleep is also very important.
I will discuss supplements that boost immunity but there are also supplements that can reduce stress. I advise a good B complex that contains L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate instead of folic acid as well as magnesium. My favorite form is Magnesium taurate but Magnesium glycinate is also good, at a dose of 200-300 mg/day, best in the evening.
A variety of herbs can also help including L-theanine (an amino acid found in green tea), Holy Basil (aka Tulsi tea) and CBD.
Vitamin D3 is essential for proper immune function. Technically it is not a vitamin but a hormone (because our bodies can produce it when exposed to adequate UVB light from the sun) but in most of the US we can not make any D3 in the fall and winter months because the sun is not high enough in the sky (over 50 degrees above the horizon) for the UVB rays to reach us. The majority of people who do not supplement with D become deficient during the winter months. A recent research study shows that those with COVID-19 who had adequate Vit D levels were over 50% less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were deficient.
Another recent study showed that “Vitamin D deficiency on admission to hospital was associated with a 3.7-fold increase in the odds of dying from COVID-19.” There is also evidence that Vit. D reduces the risk of getting COVID-19 by 54%. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci recommends people supplement with Vit D. I advise people take 5000 iu/day.
Other useful supplements for prevention include Vitamin C 1000 mg 2x/day, Vit A 10,000 iu/day and Zinc (ideally as picolinate) 25-30 mg/day.These can be obtained with a good multivitamin (a personal favorite is O.N.E. Multivitamin by Pure Encapsulations) with additional Vitamin C.
Many herbs can also improve immune function. A personal favorite is Andrographis Plus from Paradise Herbs, one a day. Other good choices include Astragalus and medical mushrooms
(I take Cordyceps from Aloha Medicinals, 3 each morning).
Melatonin also boosts immune function. Doses that some consider high (bur which are perfectly safe) like 10-40 mg/day at bedtime are reasonable. I have linked an article below with evidence that melatonin may significantly reduce risk of getting COVID-19.
There are many ideas on how to treat COVID-19. This is a protocol I have put together from a variety of sources (most listed below) but it is ideal for treatment to be individualized.
There are no double-blind controlled studies on this or any other natural protocol but all of these supplements have a long track record of safe use and there is a great deal of science supporting their effectiveness for a wide variety of conditions.
Again, most who acquire COVID-19 will have no or mild symptoms so it will not be necessary to do all of these things if you are young and healthy with few symptoms, but those who are older, who have co-morbidities and who have serious symptoms should be aggressive in treating this.
The top 6 are all essential. I would advise most of the herbs though they may not all be essential; the most important are Baikal skullcap, Isatis, Red Sage and Kudzu.
The dose can be adjusted based on your weight (those who weigh more will need higher doses) and how severe your symptoms are. You can get all of these on Amazon (of course) except the Mangifera from Green Dragon Botanicals. Another excellent source of herbal tinctures in Woodland Essence.
Vitamin C 1-2000 mg every 2 hours while awake (2000 if lots of symptoms)
Vit D3 50,000 iu/day (high dose but safe) for 3 days, then 20,000 iu/day for a week- with or after a meal
Vit A 20,000- 50,000 iu/day for 7-10 days (ideally Vit A palmitate) (with or after a meal)
Zinc 25-30 mg 2x/day (ideally zinc picolinate)- best after meals to avoid nausea
Quercitin – ideally a well-absorbed form like alpha glycosyl isoquercitin by Integrative Therapeutics, Optimized Quercitin by Life Extension or EMIQ Quercitin by Natural Factors.
Take 1 3x/day, ideally about 20 minutes before eating
Melatonin 20-60 mg at bedtime
(Pure Encapsulations is a recommended brand)
(for the rationale of using melatonin see https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/cleveland-clinic-identifies-melatonin-may-be-important-adjunct-covid-19-treatment
At the first sign of infection use Propolis Spray; the SARS-CoV-2 virus first colonizes the throat and propolis is a good anti-microbial for it. Use 5-7 sprays every couple of hours.
Beekeepers Naturals Propolis Throat Spray is a good choice.
NAC 600-1800 mg 2x/day separate from protein (2 hours after and 45 minutes before- first thing in morning and at bedtime should work)
Baikal Skullcap (not American Skullcap) 1/2 tsp 3x/day
(also known as Huang Qin, available as a tincture from Hawaii Pharm and Baikal Skullcap from Woodland Essence)
Isatis tincture 2 droppersful 3x/day
Puereria lobata (kudzu) tincture 2 droppersful 3x/day
Licorice tincture 1 dropperful 3x/day.
Cordyceps (I like Aloha Medicinals but there are other good brands) 3 capsules 2x/day
Andrographis (I like Andrographis Plus by Paradise Herbs)
2-3 capsules 3x/day (with or without food)
Japanese Knotweed aka Polygonum Cuspidatum aka Hu Zhang
( I advise “Resveratrol” by Paradise Herbs) 3 capsules 3x/day
Dan Shen (aka Red Sage and Salvia miltiorrhiza) 1-2 droppersful 3x/day
Mangifera mirifica (Mango leaf) 2-3 capsules 3x/day from Green Dragon Botanicals
Lumbrokinase or nattokinase (natural blood thinners) 1-2 2x/day at least 2 hours after and 45 minutes before protein
(I like to use Immune Support by Theramedix which also has proteolytic enzymes and serrapeptase)
For coughs I advise getting a nebulizer (a good resource is https://www.adwdiabetes.com/product/7537/omron-compair-lightweight-compressor-nebulizer but you need a doctor to order it; you can order and give the fax # of your doctor who can fax an order)
You can make 8 ounces of normal saline by putting 8 ounces of distilled water in a glass bottle or jar and add 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Then add 3 cc of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide.
Put about 3 cc (2/3 tsp) into the nebulizer chamber and add 1-2 drops of 2% Lugol’s iodine and breathe in via nebulizer every 1-2 hours. You can also separately nebulize glutathione from https://www.theranaturals.com/shop-theranaturals/1-reduced-l-glutathione-plus-enhanced-absorption-ultra-purity-grade.html?search_query=glutathione+&results=3
1 capsule in 10cc of distilled water 2-3x/day
Diet is important too! Avoid all gluten! Lots of organic veggies (vegetable soups are good) and chicken bone broths. Organic pastured eggs as a good source of protein and phospholipids for our brain. Avoid sugar and fried foods and all GMO’s.
Some useful articles:
Protocol by Dr. David Brownstein and colleagues on how he successfully treated 107 patients with COVID-19
summary of many different approaches:
Long and detailed, providing the rationale for the recommended herbs and further herbs to try based on individual symptoms (94 pages with 17 pages of references!). I highly recommend you spend at least a few minutes skimming it as it is very impressive, providing sound rationales for each herb he advises:
Homeopathy can also be very helpful but it would be best to consult a homeopath.
Following the above advice, esp. if started early in the course, should be adequate for most people but if one becomes sick despite these measures I strongly advise IV Vitamin C (25-50 grams), IV glutathione (2000 mg) and/or IV or IM ozone. These treatments are available from many holistic/integrative MD’s, DO’s and ND’s.
The role of pharmaceuticals:
As many know, the old and inexpensive drug hydroxychloroquine, widely used around the world to treat malaria, has been touted as an effective treatment until some studies appeared that were negative. However, there have been 120 peer-reviewed studies showing it to be highly effective when given early in the disease, esp. when combined with zinc. In the negative studies they waited until patients were already in the ICU, often gave toxic doses and did not give zinc. One of the big studies that purported to show it did not help, published in the Lancet, was shown to be fraudulent and retracted. I think hydroxychloroquine can be useful, esp. given early in moderate doses with zinc (its main mechanism may be to help zinc enter the cells, but natural agents like quercitin and green tea may have similar benefits).
There is also evidence that 2 anti-parasitic drugs, Ivermectin (very inexpensive and widely available) and Nitazoxanide (aka Alinia) may also be effective.
I am not impressed with the evidence for Remdesivir, a new drug that costs about $3000.
See https://c19study.com for links to the studies on hydroxychloroquine and
https://c19ivermectin.com for studies on Ivermectin
Ivermectin is getting a lot of attention in the “underground” these days; while there is a lot of good science supporting its use, information on it appears to be censored by mainstream media sources.
This is an important video of Pierre Kory MD, former chief of the Critical Care Unit at the University of Wisconsin, Associate Professor of Medicine at St. Luke’s Aurora Medical Center and President of the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Alliance testifying at a US Senate Hearing on 12/8/20 on how beneficial Ivermectin is for both prevention and treatment while expressing his frustration over its being ignored by the NIH, FDA and CDC.
A key quote: “We have a solution to this crisis. There is a drug that is proving to be of miraculous impact, and when I say miracle I do not use that term lightly, and I don’t want to be sensationalised when I say that; that is a scientific recommendation based on mountains of data that has emerged in the last 3 months.”
Here is new information (as of 12/28/20) provided by Dr. Kory, a detailed response to Frequently Asked Questions about Ivermectin. I truly appreciate the important and courageous work Dr. Kory is doing in sharing information on this affordable treatment that has the potential to both prevent and effectively treat COVID-19, thus saving innumerable lives. At this point it time it appears to be the “drug of choice,” though it will work best combined with the other approaches I discuss above:
The dose recommended by my mentor Dietrich Klinghardt for treating active infection is 0.2 mg/kg once a day on an empty stomach for 10-14 days. That is 9 -18 mg/day for most people (from 100-200 pounds). That same dose once a week seems effective as a preventative for those at high risk, such as health care workers or those who work in places where they encounter many people. It is available in 3 mg tablets via prescription but if you can not find a doctor to prescribe it, it is also available over the counter for animals from pet stores and animal feed stores and also online, though it is ideal to get the pharmaceutical version if your doctor will prescribe (while Dr. Klinghardt advises it on an empty stomach, I am not sure this is necessary; absorption appears to be increased with food).
Here is a chart that explains proper dosage for those who have to resort to the veterinary version:
While most mainstream doctors are woefully ignorant about natural therapies, there is at least one shining light in the world of academic medicine, Paul Marik, MD Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA.
He has created a protocol called the MATH+ Hospital Treatment Protocol as well as protocols for home treatment. MATH+ stands for IV Methylprednisolone, High Dose IV Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Thiamine (VIt. B1) and low molecular weight Heparin, with Statin, Zinc, Vit. D, Famotidine, Melatonin and Magnesium
You can read about it in detail here:
This is an important link to stay posted on the latest protocols by the
Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, created by highly published critical care specialists from major academic medical centers with collectively over 1,000 medical publications. Based on the rapidly emerging research into COVID-19, the early clinical experience in China reflected by the Shanghai expert commission, and their decades-long clinical and research experiences in severe infectious diseases around the country, the 5 experts developed the MATH+ Hospital Treatment Protocol for Covid-19. It is intended for use early in the hospitalization of patients presenting with states of respiratory distress requiring supplemental oxygen. These 5 have since been joined by an increasing number of hospitalist and ICU physicians who recognize the sound physiologic rationale, the emerging published research in support of the components, and the data demonstrating good clinical outcomes in hospitals that have adopted the treatment regimen.
If I was hospitalized with COVID-19 I would urge my doctors to follow a similar protocol.
As mentioned above, some people seem to develop chronic symptoms following COVID-19 infection (these are called “long-haulers”) , including fatigue, pain and cognitive dysfunction. This is relatively rare but a nightmare for those afflicted. I would expect that those who follow my protocol from the start will be less likely to develop this condition. It is still not known if this represents a chronic form of the infection (which I consider unlikely), an autoimmune problem triggered by the infection or the re-activation of underlying infections that the immune system was keeping in check until weakened by the infection, such as Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus or retroviruses.
As everyone knows, many people are hoping the new vaccines will be the key to controlling this pandemic. The preliminary results are encouraging. However, these mRNA vaccines are a new technology that has never been used in any other vaccines. Like most vaccines, it has the potential to trigger autoimmune disease, which will not appear until months or years after it is administered. It is impossible to know what the side effects after 3 years are until 3 years after it is widely given and, like all vaccines, the manufacturers have no liability for adverse effects and can not be sued. So while I really hope and pray these vaccines prove to be safe and effective, it will be several years before we can know if that is the case. I am certain that the measures described above are safe and effective.
I believe this information is valuable and may even save lives, though, as always, this is not meant as formal medical advice and I advise you consult with your personal physician for treatment. Please feel free to share it.
While I would never dream of charging for this information, it took me many hours to assemble this and if you find it of value even a small donation would be most appreciated by going to paypal (https://www.paypal.com/us/home) and then sending your donation c/o
PS I had been mildly disappointed that not one of the 1300 people or so who have read this had made even a small donation and just discovered that I made a typo in my PayPal address. For anyone who was kind enough to try to donate and was unable to I am grateful and apologise. THANKS!!!
Thanks and Blessings,
Randy Baker MD