Why is COVID-19 so Contagious?
As of July 10, 2020 there is been over 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 135,000 deaths. We are now seeing large spikes of infections in Florida, California, Texas and Nevada. WHY?
The COVID-19 virus has spike like proteins on its surface that bind tightly to the ACE2 receptors on cells. The ACE2 receptors are in part responsible for blood pressure. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity cause an inflammatory state. Inflammation produces an enzyme called furin that circulates in the blood. The spikes on the virus have a strong affinity to bind with furin. This enables the virus to bind strongly with the ACE2 receptors on the cells enabling the virus to penetrate into the cells. This mechanism for infecting cells is very different than any other coronavirus or any other virus known.
This is why COVID-19 is so contagious and its connection to chronic disease.
What you may not realize is that these chronic illnesses are due to lifestyle. Most can be prevented and improved with changes in lifestyle. You can defend against COVID-19 by changing your diet. A Mediterranean diet has been shown to decrease inflammation and decrease chronic illness. Stress reduction, exercise, and quality sleep are other factors that will help decrease inflammation.
Lifestyle is sometimes difficult to change. Start small, such as decrease or eliminate sugary snacks and foods. Almost everybody knows what they doing that is not healthy. Choose one thing and concentrate on that. Once you start feeling better it will be easier to expand on lifestyle modification which; decreases inflammation, decreases the effect of chronic disease and help defend against COVID-19.
There is no replacement for wearing masks when social distancing is not possible. If you have a chronic disease it is best to where an N 95 mask. This will help prevent you from contracting COVID-19 as well as protecting the people around you.