The Conversation No-one’s Having…

The Conversation No-one’s Having…

By Tim Bean.

I’ve always said “No-one made a smarter decision with less information”. Given the huge amount of data we now have regarding this COVID-19 virus, shouldn’t we be making better, smarter and more appropriate decisions by now..?

Let’s challenge the current level of thinking with the basic question “So What?” So what if we let in the virus through our borders? So what if we have community transmissions, outbreaks or clusters?

Well, you may say, people will get sick, and some may die – and that’s true. There’s talk about protecting the elderly and the vulnerable. But let’s be clear: you’re not at risk purely because of your age, and conversely you’re not in the clear because you’re young, a Doctor or an athlete for that matter. No, all the experts and authorities agree the one common thread that links all covid-related illness and deaths is “immune compromised”.

Think about that for a second. If we had spend a tenth of the cost and effort this government has spent in the last 9 months, on getting the nation healthier (and therefore building natural immunity) – we simply wouldn’t have to lock down, social distance, wear masks, sanitise, have en-mass testing, quarantine, closed borders, managed isolation, or any of it – in fact we could manage the presence of the virus, because we’d all be in so much better shape to defeat it, and those at risk would be so much less vulnerable. And before you say it, in my experience there is no-one who couldn’t do at least something to improve their health and immunity. No-one.

And if we got the nation healthier, what would that look like? Well for a start the Health System would breathe a massive sigh of relief as we would have fewer cases of Heart disease, Diabetes, Cancer, Stroke, Dementia, Anxiety and Mood disorders. And if we had fewer cases of these diseases we would have fewer people on medication, leaving a huge amount of budget available for urgent medications for people who actually need it: Cystic fibrosis, Motor Neuron Diseases for example – conditions the Government is currently saying they have no budget for.

So if the Nation got itself healthier, how would that impact the working man and woman in this country? Well we wouldn’t need to close the borders, tourism could open up again, businesses could open their doors again, restaurants could fill up, you could travel and attend public and corporate events and conferences, be a part of big sports games and concerts, and people could get their jobs back – and loads more new ones as well.

And the people turning up to work in those businesses would be healthier, happier, less stressed, less sick, more energised, more engaged, more creative – imagine how THAT would impact the economy, just from people paying a little more attention to their own health.

You see up until now it’s all been about safety – protecting us all from being exposed to the virus. The problem with that is there are limited tools at your disposal, and there’s no forward plan. In fact if you listened to any or all of the major political debates pre-election (NZ), NO-ONE has a forward plan.

Apart, that is, from a vaccine, which, if proven to be safe and effective, could well be quite literally a life-saver. But it doesn’t come without its own caveats and risks, and let’s be very clear, a vaccine isn’t a cure for the virus – it IS the virus.

But it hinges on one critical factor – our immune systems being in good enough shape and health to do what they’re supposed to do in the first place. If the people most at risk of becoming ill or dying from the wild virus are already those with compromised or broken immune systems, then how will deliberate exposure to the virus via a vaccine play out?

As I said, this may well turn out to be a life-saver, but I’m not holding my breath waiting, when it has always been acknowledged by the world’s top scientists, doctors, researchers and professors that when it comes to prevention of all illness and disease, host resistance through improved self-health is the first and most important tool we all have at our disposal – right now.

Sadly, and since this global situation first unfolded, neither the Ministry of Health, the Minister of Health or the Director General of Health have uttered a single word about actual HEALTH – how we could protect and improve the health position of our nation as individuals and as a whole. Not a word.

Yet isn’t that the first place to start?

People ask me “How can you even do that – you can’t mandate people into better health..!”

No, but if they’re fully prepared to endure all the disruptive measures we’ve already seen of late, then surely losing a bit of weight, eating a few more vegetables, giving up drinking so much alcohol, not staying up until midnight watching TV, taking a few vitamins, pulling back on coffee, and getting outdoors (or to the gym) for some exercise wouldn’t be that hard?

You would think.

Performance Health Club

Gym and Health Club in Timaru, New Zealand, established 1990. Enabling and educating more Kiwis to be in better shape for life.

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