The Other Half of the Infectious Disease Equation:

Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH
8 min readMay 10, 2020

What about Our Immune System?

Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH

Those of us who lived through and survived the 60s remember the “outside agitator” theory well. The media and our parents explained the protests that were happening throughout the United States at that time did not really mean that there was anything wrong with the War in Vietnam nor anything wrong with our society, but the real problem was the “outside agitators” who were stirring up things in universities and in urban areas.

This pandemic is a bit like this outside agitator theory.

We are all innocent victims of this mean and vicious virus, this outside agitator.

And so, the media reports daily on all of the worst-case scenarios that are taking place all over the world to innocent victims…and that anyone could become a victim.

It is true that anyone can become a victim of an infection…but only relatively few people get seriously ill, a smaller number get complications, and a yet even smaller number of people die. That’s a problem in and of itself, but we have to stop the lie, the misinformation, and the fear-mongering that anyone can die from this disease. In fact, a new article in the New York Times highlighted the fact that 88% of the hospitalized patients in New York have not only had one major chronic disease prior to admission, but the “nearly all of them” had two.

Even though this pandemic is the result of an infection, the media and its various medical experts only talk about the VIRUS and about various drugs that can combat the virus. And yet, anyone with a smidgen of knowledge of infectious disease knows that there are two elements in any infection: the infective agent (the virus, in this case) and the person’s immune and defense system.

Right now, most of us have streptococcus bacteria in our throat, pneumococcal bacteria in our bronchials, and a diverse assortment of bacteria, viruses, fungal, and yeasts throughout bodies. If we actually knew about which microbes were pervading our bodies at any given moment, many of us would be in shock. And yet, our immune and defense system keeps these microbes from proliferating.

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