Coronaviruses- the basics

Please note that the CoVid situation is constantly evolving and our understanding of it will change. Please follow the best of public health measures which are based on sound science.

Coronaviruses coexist with man and animals and undergo constant mutations.  Normally coronaviruses are responsible for 10 to 20% of respiratory infections which we call the ‘common cold’.  Usually these symptoms are mild. Many people remain asymptomatic.  Elderly and immune compromised individuals can develop severe and even fatal symptoms.  Even these ‘harmless’ coronaviruses can cause case fatality rates of 8% when they enter a Nursing Home.

SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome = SARS CoV) appeared in 2003.  This coronavirus variant had a high fatality rate: 10% of people contracting it died.  This variant was not very contagious.  Recall that the great majority of fatalities were in health care workers who were in close, continuous contact with infected individuals. 774 deaths were registered world wide.  In Canada there were 443 infections with 44 deaths.

MERS-CoV another coronavirus variant appeared in 2012.  The fatality rate for this variant was 30% but it was even less contagious that SARS and was brought under control quickly.

When SARS CoV-2 appeared in Wuhan China the world was put on alert.  Initially there were fears that this coronavirus was more contagious and would have a fatality rate.  In the past 6 months the infection fatality rate has become clearer.

Infection Fatality Rate (Global): percentage of coronavirus-infected individuals who die of any cause while infected.

All ages 0.24% (1 in 416)  This is skewed because the vast majority of deaths (greater than 95%) are in the elderly, with multiple health challenges.

Under 70-years-age 0.04% (1 in 2,500)

Source: John P.A. Ioannidis, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Stanford University. The infection fatality rate of COVID-19 inferred from seroprevalence data

Common COVID-19 symptoms

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Loss of smell or taste
Body or muscle aches
Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or abdominal pain


Duration of Illness
Symptoms last one to two weeks in mild cases.
Proportion of Symptomatic COVID-19 cases that are mild: 80%

Median age of death from COVID-19 in the United States: 78 years

Median age of death from COVID-19 in Canada: 84 years

A number of studies globally have found correlations between Vitamin D levels and CoVid 19 symptoms.  People with optimal levels of Vitamin D seem to have milder disease and there may be a protective effect.  Enough evidence exists for this that some countries, especially Northern Latitude one,  are providing their citizens with VitD free of charge.  Other countries are recommending it to their citizens.  Vitamin D 4,000 IU is recommended for most people.  If at all possible get your Vitamin D level checked by your doctor…. a level of 125 to 200 mmol/L is optimal.

Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths

Has there been an increase in overall mortality in Canada?  In the face of a serious pandemic the overall mortality would increase significantly in the general population.  Statistic Canada website shows that as of Dec 8 2020, there has been 10,878 deaths classified as CoVID deaths in people over the age of 70; the vast majority of these unfortunate individuals were in Long Term Care Homes.  The number of deaths under the age of 60 were 412.  The disproportionate risk of dying is in the over 70 age group in individuals with compromised immune systems. This is the rationale for a ‘focused’ protection of the vulnerable while allowing the rest of society to carry on normally.

Excellent interactive tool for mortality rates in Canada….note that the mortality pattern for under 65 years of age has not changed in that past 5 years….

Testing for CoVID

The PCR test (nasal swab) has been fraught with difficulty.  There has been a lot of criticism of this test.  Simply put consider this analogy.  The breathalyzer test for alcohol is set at a particular level in order to pick up individuals that are likely impaired if they have a reading above a certain level.  If the breathalyzer result  just indicated positive or negative and is set to register positive for any alcohol in the system ranging from a teaspoon of alcohol to 10 drinks, common sense would tell you that the test is useless.  It would not discriminate an impaired person from someone who took a few sips of wine/beer/alcohol from their partners drink say.  In the same way, CoVID PCR testing, as usually done around the world, does not discriminate between someone who may have minute fragments of a non infectious virus/low levels that would not be infectious (asymptomatic) from someone who has a large viral load, is symptomatic and can spread the virus.  The PCR test has many false positives in other words.  Yet, this is the test that is being reported with ‘huge increases in cases’ almost daily and is used to justify the ‘lockdown’ of society.  This is why many doctors, lawyers individuals are criticizing governments response.  There is much more that can be said about this.  See the links.

Front Line Critical Care Physicians talk about CoVID strategies.

Up to date strategies for strategies around CoVID from top critical care doctors.  The video is particularly instructive.

Here is a link to the paper on Ivermectin.

Here is a link to Association of American Physicians and Surgeons who have something to say about at home treatment.