Written by Jeff Binek

As our country continues into month 3 of the quarantine and lockdown, the public debate has become polarizing, confusing and is still drastically missing the mark. Our society’s incessant need to focus on the short term at the expense of the long term is making this pandemic both bad in the short term and in the long term. Let me explain…

COVID-19 is most likely not going anywhere. This world lives every day with Coronaviruses, with different flu strains, common colds, and there were even 175 cases of Polio last year. Top epidemiologists know that a vaccine is far from eradication (“Fauci tells Congress: ‘There’s no guarantee that the vaccine is actually going to be effective’”). There is a fundamental misunderstanding by the American public of the basic word and meaning behind the topic of ‘vaccine’. So let’s dive into some history of viral vaccines.

Read up on poliovirus (and here) if you haven’t in awhile. A disease that plagued the world for over 500 years, was followed by one of modern society’s greatest breakthroughs…a Vaccine! At the time, this was commonly regarded as the most meaningful scientific discovery in history. Following this magnificent breakthrough, it took another 25 years (1979) to eradicate the virus from the United States. 

The flu shares a similar story. 1957, the H2N2 flu virus kills 1.1 million globally and 116,000 in the U.S. 1968 the H3N2 kills 1 million worldwide, and 100,000 in the U.S. The vaccine for the flu pre-dates both of these pandemics, it was created in the 1940s (CDC info on the history of the flu). This past year the flu killed between 30,000 and 60,000. However, had this been counted the way that COVID deaths are being calculated, it likely would have been well north of 100,000 deaths from the flu in 2019-2020 season. 

It is important to know this history, so that we can view our current situation through the appropriate lense: Vaccines are not eradication, and often is far from it. 

Only one infectious disease in modern history has been eradicated: small pox.

What this is is our first experience with COVID-19. We have much to learn. Imagine this as pre-1940’s with the flu, or pre-1950’s with Polio. We need to learn how to treat this, how to vaccinate and protect against this. With modern science, we will learn faster, doctors will share information far more quickly (hopefully) and our treatments will drastically improve. 

But it won’t go away. 

Staying home, and keeping businesses closed might help the most vulnerable potentially avoid Season #1. This will allow our doctors and medical staff to learn more. It will help mitigate the first seasonal spread of a new introduction in our immune system. It will allow time for a (hopeful) vaccine to help stop the spread in seasons to come. But no amount of plexiglass, masks, hand sanitizer or elbow bumps are going to eradicate this disease within the next 18-months. Thinking so is plain ignorance. 

So, what choices do we have?

I think our society is fundamentally missing key experts on the morning talk shows, the President and Governor’s staff and throughout the mainstream media: Functional Medicine Doctors. Our country needs a crash course in gut health and immune system health. 

We’re stuck listening to models of what the future might look like, void of the information of tomorrow, this is generally a waste of time because no action can really be taken from these conversations. We need to listen to Epidemiologists to learn about how the disease spreads and how to mitigate it. We need to listen to doctors to learn how to treat it, and when/how to diagnose. And we need to listen to Functional Medicine Doctors / DO’s to look at creating a preventative stronghold in our immune system. 

In one of my favorite books, Above the Line, written by Urban Meyer, he explains a concept called 10-80-10. In this concept he says that 10% of a team is made up of high performers, a disciplined and hardworking bunch who has all of their ducks in a row. The next group is the 80%, this group has the potential to be great, but is missing one or two of the key components of the top 10%. The only way you can move from the middle 80% to the top 10% is through surrounding yourself with top 10%’ers and adopting their lifestyle habits. The bottom 10% is a lost cause. 

In America, 12% of our population is metabolically healthy. So, maybe we’re looking at something more like the 12-60-28 rule in America right now. As a proud facility of the top 12% in health and fitness in America, Friendship has worked diligently to bring thousands from that middle 60% up into the top 12% over the past decade. We are excited to continue the mission, and I know soon enough we will get that opportunity. If you fit into that top 12%, your job is simple. Share your lifestyle. Share your habits. Tell everyone, share this article, tag them. Let them know of the call-to-action, extend your hand and tell them you want to get them into that higher percentage group. 

If we agree that a vaccine is far off, and even then that eradication may not occur within our lifetimes, then the only answer is to let doctor’s improve treatments, keep hospitals well staffed, well paid and appropriately worked. All of us non-medical workers, we have to do our part to be healthy and not put unnecessary stresses onto those doctors and nurses through proper sanitation principles and being in tip top shape. 

I have long dreamed of a community where doctors work in tandem with Dietitians, Nutrition Coaches, Chiropractors, Physical Therapists and Fitness Trainers. I hope that our television screens and YouTube live streams can shift focus from politicians talking points and towards a task force designed to increase the longevity of American’s functional lifespan. 

Until then, think about the full picture. Find yourself a top 12%’er to learn from and train with. Eat real foods, in the appropriate proportions. Do 100 squats, 50 push-ups, walk for 30-45minutes every day and occasionally sprint. Sleep. Be calm and learn mindfulness or practice meditation.

If we can improve American’s immune systems, yes we can help with COVID, but we can also help with ALL of the other leading causes of death in this country. This will lead to less stressed doctors and hospitals, better healthcare insurance, more affordability and less avoidable pain and suffering.