Rogan Interview With Michael Osterholm - Biosecurity and Infectious Disease Expert - On Coronavirus

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Jan 24, 2019

I don't know, we're in a pandemic, there is a lot I didn't even know about coronavirus until I listened to this interview. I have been looking at data and participating in various threads but this guy said things I had not seen or heard anywhere before.

If we're going to ignore it because of the interviewer I really don't know what the say, but I took notes as I listened in case people were willing to meet me half way.

Note that I took these somewhat hastily, things that were important to me may not be important to you and vice versa, some things are paraphrased etc., but here we go

General Thoughts

The timing is important on this issue - we're just at the beginning and it's going to get months

Estimated to be 10-15x worse than flu

You are contagious before you are even sick.

3 Weeks ago Italy was fine, now they're in a shutdown - and that's the challenge with an infectious disease. There's a hospital in Milan dealing with the difficult decision of who they let die. A lot of cases in italy are in the 40-something age range and shouldn't be thought of as just old people.

China stats vs America stats

Men over 70 that smokes - 8-10% of them died. 65% of older Chinese men die. Women in the same age group died about 2% of the same group. That's the data in just China.

We don't know how Obesity effects it yet. America is riddled with obesity - which is known to be just as damaging as smoking. Our country has a different set of risk factors than China.

Incubation period - How long from breathing in virus till when you get sick. It's about 4 days for coronavirus. Again, you can still be contagious while being asymptomatic.

We're going to be in this for a while. "We're handling it like coronavirus is a blizzard (2-3 days). This is a corona winter - for months to come".

Michael's team has been putting out information since January that has been dismissed each time as virus grows exponentially.

Spreading and Prevention

Masks + Gloves largely nonsense - Virus spreads from breathing. People were tested in Germany that had extreme levels of virus in their throats before they were even coughing. It's like trying to stop the wind.

The only way for people in danger ranges to avoid disease is to straight up avoid being in large public spaces.

We won't have a vaccine any time soon - that's "Happy Talk".

Closed schools - kids are like virus reactors with how well they spread to their families. In this case kids are not getting sick much at all - only 2.1% of cases are under 19 years of age. They still get infected, but don't get sick. 33% of Nurses have kids in school - with those kids out of school who is going to take care of them? Talks about no sick leave being an issue for what to do. Michael thinks that avoiding contact is the best way to prevent spreading.

Cruise Ships are notorious for recirculating air throughout the cabins, that's why the outbreaks have been bad on them. Says they need to get into quarantine ASAP because they're going to infect each other day after day.

Thinks we're not prepared at all for this.

"It's not just about what the virus does, it's about how the entire system is rigged up."


Rogan brings up Sauna as being good for killing some of the virus - Michael confirms this is absolute bullshit. No proof it impacts infectious disease. Says Sauna is still good for skin etc. but has no impact on virus at all.

Rogan asks if this was a biological weapon. Michael was really into bioweapons and biosecurity a few decades ago, and says there's no evidence it was ever a bioweapon. We can almost date/test the viruses to see how old they are. Says it jumped from an animal species to humans around November. Confirms that actual diseases are more dangerous than manmade diseases.

They talk about Deer with Chronic Wasting Disease for a while - which seems to be making a jump from deer to what Michael calls "humanized mice" and there's a fear that it will be able to jump to humans in the future.

"We need straight talk right now." People say coronavirus will go away in summer, SARS was another type of coronavirus that appeared in February, and we didn't control it until June and it had nothing to do with the seasons. MERS in the Middle-East is another coronavirus and transfers just fine in 110 degree weather. If it gets better in warmer weather, it won't be because there's a model for it. SARS was solved with public health - you weren't infectious until 6th/7th day of illness and by then you knew were sick and could self-quarantine. MERS is stopped by good infection control as well. This one isn't the same at all because it's like trying to stop the wind. It's just breathing.

Re-iterates, we're looking at 10x worse than a really bad flu season. Obesity, high blood pressure could be huge risk factors in America. Sees this staying around for months, stop thinking about getting past "tomorrow". Doesn't know how long we can go with canceling big events. Thinks enough people getting infected and coming out of it fine and being immune is what we're looking at, but it's a high price to pay.

.1% of people with seasonal flu die. In china, 2-3% of people with corona die. People in our country (America) have more risk factors than China. As far as comparison to Spanish Flu, that was 2-3% of people dying due to how it worked, and was more deadly to people with better immune systems by turning their bodies against themselves. Corona is somewhere between really bad flu and Spanish flu. 480,000 deaths predicted in the next year.

What We Can Do

- Managing weight.

- On medications for high blood pressure? TAKE THEM.

- Sleep

- Diet

That's about it. Things like probiotics didn't have any impact according to studies.

Can't tell people it's safe right now/risk is low. They need to understand we're in for some hurt for a few months down the line.

Hand Sanitizer is good for a lot of infectious diseases, but the data is weak on it having an impact on this type of virus. He likes the idea of telling people to wash their hands to give them the feeling that they're doing something, but really this disease is about BREATHING.

Surgical Mask is loose fitting and was never made to protect you from bugs coming in from the side - it's just to stop you from dripping into patients as you're doing surgeries. The N-95 respirator is tight-fitting, apocalypse type mask. Those are used in healthcare all the time. THOSE are effective, but there's a huge shortage.

In America we have a problem delivering healthcare due to being overwhelmed, and the healthcare workers are getting infected. They are the frontline. Have to be protected and we have no provisions for them. Nobody stockpiles supplies etc.

People in the White House have contacted Michael, but not the president himself. Talked at CDC, Health Human Services etc. to give advice.

We build weapons and aircraft carriers in advance before we need to go to war, but don't bring that enthusiasm to healthcare. We can start now but we aren't going to fix it now. IF we had been serious we could have had a vaccine for a other types of coronavirus (SARS or MERS) but once they went away interest in a vaccine waned.

We can't keep waiting until the crisis to fix these things.

Straight Talk is important, tired of hearing people say if you tell them the truth they are going to panic. It's going to be challenging, but we're going to get through it.

A lot talk about the importance of vaccines and trying to fight conspiracy theories that are causing deaths where there is no need.

Birth of Coronavirus
Michael has suspected the SARS/MERS new threat would come from China for YEARS, even wrote it in his book released early 2017. Why? Huge population, food supply is largely wildlife that comes into crowded markets, and crowded nature of the population in general. Bugs in animals + close contact = "China has been a soup vessel for bacteria and viruses for a long time".

He's spent time in the Chinese markets, every animal imaginable + "some out of the movies" stacked on top of each other for sale. They way animals were stacked would be unethical virus spreading experiments in a research group over here. Many of the animals are alive and will be killed and prepared right there in the market. This could have just as easily been a flu pandemic, which is why focus needs to be on vaccines.

There have been 10 influenza pandemics in the last 250 years. Need to work on new flu vaccines - there's one in the works but still a ways away. Older people need higher dose vaccines as their immune systems wane. A little late to get now that the season is going away.

If you get the flu and have muscle aches you should see a physician after a few days - you can get a lot of help stopping other complications.

Michael doesn't think there's any benefit to probiotics at all based on the data they have - short term OR long term. However fecal transplants seems to be beneficial in certain specific cases with gut bacteria issues...

Closing Statements

Making a vaccine. They don't know what kind of vaccine would make you immune to it yet. Also have to worry about safety - if you have no antibody/immune response you get the disease. If you have a lot you're immune. But if you're in between, it ENHANCES the disease and makes it more deadly. The 2003 Sars vaccine had that sort of component. Between getting the effectiveness and safety out, Michael predicts we are YEARS OUT! From a vaccine for coronavirus. Zika, 2015 - no vaccine.

We start on something and then forget, once it goes away. Then it comes back. We have to finish the job about it.

Worries we'll get through this situation, people will say we're done, and then it will come back.

Vaccine has to be put into animals for testing, then into volunteering humans. Work their way up to larger studies.
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