More on Preventing Coronavirus Infection

If you’d like to scare yourself more about the likely impact of this pandemic, see

The author of the message below about precautionary measures for COVID-19 is James Robb, MD, UC San Diego. You might find it useful. My own tips from Chinese medicine for myself I put in the post below this one, entitled Coronavirus Concerns.

Subject: What I am doing for the upcoming COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic

Dear Colleagues, as some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources.

The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.

Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.:

1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.

2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.

3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.

4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.

5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.

6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.

7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:

1) Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.

Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

2) Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.

3) Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.

4) Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.

I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this snake-associated virus before and have no internal defense against it. Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. BUT, there will be NO drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.

I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this email. Good luck to all of us! Jim

James Robb, MD FCAP

Coronavirus Concerns

Disclaimer: nothing anywhere on this blog, or that I’ve written here, is intended as medical advice, or to substitute for medical advice, or intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease. It’s intended for educational, informational, or entertainment purposes only. Before making any changes to your health care regimen always consult your qualified licensed health care professional. The word “you” is used below only to refer to myself.


Ok folks, a lot of people have been asking me whether we should be concerned about the new coronavirus. At first, I wasn’t too worried about it, since the press is notorious for blowing things out of proportion and exaggerating the true dangers. Remember the panic about Ebola? I figured this was going to be the same thing.

I still don’t think there’s any need for panic, but recent news suggests to me that it’s a good idea to start taking some sensible precautions. COVID-19, the particular coronavirus causing trouble now, is basically a bad flu. In a typical year, the flu kills a little less than .1% of those who get it, so less than one in a thousand. According to the World Health Organization, this coronavirus so far has killed roughly 2% of the people who contracted it. How accurate that figure is we don’t really know, but if it’s correct then it’s about 20 times more lethal than the average flu.

First, let’s be prepared:

This is worth doing for other reasons as well, such as earthquake preparedness, and that website’s suggestions for frequently using hand sanitizer and so on are sound. I’d recommend storing at least two weeks’ worth of supplies, including food and water, medicines, and so on – whatever you need if you have to stay inside and avoid contact with others for some time.

A couple of points: hand-washing is substantially better than using a regular hand sanitizer, but you should still have some sanitizer with you, for times when it’s difficult to get to a sink. Also, I like to boost my hand sanitizer by adding some “thieves oil” (a blend of essential oils) to it. I like the recipe given here: and you can get a different version of it at Dandelion Botanical. Because it’s so strong, add only 6-12 drops of the oil mixture per ounce of sanitizer, and mix well. Use it when you’re out and about and touch doorknobs and other surfaces that many other people also come into contact with.

Chinese medicine has a lot to offer us as well; it has a history of fighting epidemics (see the story on my webpage: I received some reports about how doctors in China are treating the virus, and the good news is that those receiving herbs in addition to drugs are having the best outcomes. I’ve gone through the formulas they used, and have ordered the herbs from them.

The most important strategy is again, prevention. I like taking vitamin D, Host Defense’s formula MyCommunity combined with some Turkey Tail extract, on a regular basis. Also eat well so you get good nutrition, and do some good exercise, like Qi Gong.

My research suggests the following herb tea can help prevent an invasion of the bad Qi.

2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, chopped

2 tablespoons dried orange peel (you can use lemon if you prefer)

1 tablespoon whole cinnamon (i.e., not powdered, but from a stick of cinnamon that’s been broken up)

1 teaspoon opened cardamom pods

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/4 teaspoon whole cloves (about 3-5 cloves)

Simmer these, covered, in 6 cups of water for an hour. If too strong, dilute until it’s palatable. Drink one cup at least three times a day, and wrap yourself up in a warm blanket as you drink. If you sweat, it’s good.

If I’m not sure whether I’m hot or cold, or feel both at alternate times, I can use this shotgun formula, especially if all I have available are kitchen herbs: juice of one-half a lemon or one lime, 2 tsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried), 1-2 Tbsp fresh basil, 2 cloves raw, crushed (not chopped!) garlic, 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, and 1/2 to one cup water; blend thoroughly and drink, again three or more times a day.

Now, if after a couple of days I’m still sick or feel worse, it means the pathogen is quite strong and has entered in further. The regimens I just mentioned will no longer be effective, and different herbs are necessary. Normally, a good thing to do is to see my acupuncturist, who can make a precise diagnosis and prescribe exactly the right herbs for my condition, unless I believe my condition is life-threatening, of course, then I’ll call an ambulance or go to the ER.

If I have any of these symptoms, I will also stay in and be sure not to go out anywhere – basically, quarantine myself – because I’m quite likely to be contagious at this stage. The last thing I want to do is make other people sick.

Of course, it goes without saying if you’re feeling so ill you’re concerned for your life – you have trouble breathing, for example, or have a high fever – you should go to the emergency room, or call an ambulance.

Ok, to summarize (these are for me, not advice for anyone else, see disclaimer above):

(1) Prepare for having to stay in for an extended time by getting things like storable food and water

(2) Hand-wash liberally and use a souped-up hand sanitizer when you can’t

(3) Eat well, do your Qi Gong, and take herbs to strengthen your Qi

(4) Have some herbs ready for the first sign of a cold or flu

Best of luck and let’s take care of each other!