I just spent about 10 seconds doing a back-of-the-napkin estimate on how many Americans are currently taking immunity-decimating biologics to treat autoimmune disease and came up with a figure of up to 16 million. I got that from the estimate of up to 24 million having a diagnosed autoimmune disease and this estimate that 2/3 of diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients are taking biologics. The figure of up to 16 million immunocompromised AI patients does not count those who are taking immunity-decimating chemotherapy or steroids to manage their autoimmune disease, but those have to be substantial as well, as the first line of defense is often steroids which leaves people vulnerable to infection. For example, when I was first prescribed Prednisone to treat my Crohn’s disease, my research indicated that I should not use tampons to absorb my menstrual flow because my immune system would be lowered and having a wad of cotton festering in my vagina for 8 hours at a time could more easily become septic.
Who knows what the actual numbers are, but we can see that on any given day we have many millions of Americans and tens or hundreds of millions of people globally taking immunity-decimating medications to “treat” their autoimmune disease, leaving these people vulnerable to secondary infections like tuberculosis, hepatitis, fungal infections and more. People with an ounce of sense, and who aren’t rendered temporarily insane/incompetent due to ongoing unmanageable pain and symptoms of disease, will rightly be concerned about the so-called side effects (iatrogenic illness and injury) of these medications including the effect (injury) of lowering their natural immunity to infectious disease. Some of us have decided that destroying our immune systems, as dysfunctional as they may be, is not a reasonable solution to our problems, especially considering that biologics and other toxic medications often don’t even work, work well, or work for long to treat our pain and symptoms.
And for those of us who grew up amongst the 1980s AIDS epidemic, we grew up understanding how important our immune systems are and how deadly serious it is to have a compromised immune system for any reason. We grew into and beyond puberty under what can only be described as a domestic terror campaign against “unprotected sex” in order that we not compromise our immune systems because we knew what could happen if we did: suffering from full-blown AIDS we would probably die a horrific death of secondary infections and cancers, covered in unhealing sores, starving to death from nausea and gastrointestinal effects, driven half out of our minds. Of course, today, full-blown AIDS is not a given for many who contract HIV which virus is now manageable if not treatable. And anyone who develops AIDS (assuming they have access to medical care) will be aggressively treated with immune bolstering treatments so as to avoid the hellish AIDS-related deaths we all saw happening in the media and which many people also experienced firsthand in our own communities, homes and lives.
But the hellish, unrelenting agony of un- or undertreated AI disease makes people do crazy things (like voluntarily taking immunity-decimating drugs) as does an authoritarian worldview, where people uncritically consume Western medical goods and services without question, even trusting our doctors to (essentially) give us AIDS in order to somehow make us feel better. People taking biologics are told to utilize handwashing and to (somehow) avoid being exposed to contagious disease, which obviously is impossible. And they are told to avoid anything that might bolster their natural immunity, which would be antithetical to being deliberately treated with biologics, the entire point of which is to suppress our natural immunity which is unfortunately attacking us, even as it continues protecting us from pathogens in our environment. In this study, the number one cause of death in “aggressively treated” rheumatoid arthritis patients was pneumonia, a contagious, infectious disease to which healthy people with functioning immune systems normally do not succumb. Of course, as we know, untreated AIDS patients routinely died from pneumonia in the 1980s.
So where does that leave us today? For the last month or so, we have heard reports coming out of China of a highly contagious, infectious Coronavirus which epidemic is getting more serious by the hour. In that country, in an unprecedented move, some 50 million people have been “locked down” under a restrictive travel ban in order to avoid the contagion spreading to other regions and nations, otherwise known as quarantine. Those displaying flu-like symptoms are being even more stringently isolated. Dozens if not hundreds have died, and that was before we heard the chilling news that the disease appears to be airborne and has a long incubation period of 10-14 days, during which the infected are highly contagious, even before they themselves know they are sick. That means that people who feel well have been unknowingly exposing others to infection for up to 2 weeks as they go about their business. The numbers of infected and dead are therefore expected to continue to rise exponentially in the coming days and weeks, and cases are being reported in other countries as well, including in the United States.
This kind of contagious environmental pathogen is exactly the kind of thing our natural immune systems are designed to protect us from, but tens if not hundreds of millions of people globally are immunocompromised due to taking biologic and other immunity-decimating drugs to “treat” (meaning to possibly somewhat manage some of the symptoms of) autoimmune disease. And most of these people are women. While no one knows how the Coronavirus outbreak will play out, autoimmune patients treating with immunity-decimating drugs have been playing roulette this whole time, putting themselves at risk for serious, often life-threatening secondary infections on their best day, under normal conditions, being exposed to everyday pathogens that are known and at least somewhat treatable. At any time, hundreds of thousands are likely already dealing with secondary infections as the expected course of their treatment with biologics.
No one knows what the effect will be of an unanticipated outbreak on an already immunocompromised population, let alone the possible effects on those who are already infected with tuberculosis, pneumonia, brain infections, C-diff and sepsis due to their treatment with biologics, steroids and chemo, and trying to recover from that, on top of dealing with the unrelenting, progressive effects of their underlying AI disease.