Nearly 26,000 Meat Packers Have COVID-19

As of June 25, there have been at least 25,700 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 243 plants in 33 states, and at least 95 reported worker deaths at 39 plants in 24 states.

MidWest Center for Investigative Reporting

Meanwhile in Oklahoma a few weeks ago…

116 COVID-19 infections found in pork processing plant in Guymon

and in Houston…

Screenshot_2020-06-27 2019 Novel Coronavirus

On June 26th, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo raised the Current Level of Risk for Harris County from Level 2 to Level 1.

Level 1 signifies a severe and uncontrolled level of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning outbreaks are present and worsening and that testing and contact tracing capacity is strained or exceeded. At this level, residents take action to minimize contacts with others wherever possible and avoid leaving home except for the most essential needs like going to the grocery store for food and medicine.

Regardless of current level indicated, all residents should continue the use of social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the use of face coverings until there is a vaccine or a treatment for the virus. Additionally, residents exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days regardless of level indicated.

My vegetarian cookbook collection is growing.  Grocery trips will include more shelf stable items so that I’ll be able to fix more meat-free meals in the near future.

The acquisition of more cookbooks is a rational strategy.  I’ll need more sources besides the same recipe that shows up multiple times on multiple websites as the best (fill in the blank) for inspiration in the kitchen when the POTUS issues an Executive Order rationing animal proteins.

Nearly 5,000 Meat Packers Have COVID-19

COVID-19 cases among U.S. workers in 115 meat and poultry processing facilities were reported by 19 states. Among approximately 130,000 workers at these facilities, 4,913 cases and 20 deaths occurred. Factors potentially affecting risk for infection include difficulties with workplace physical distancing and hygiene and crowded living and transportation conditions.

COVID-19 Among Workers in Meat and Poultry Processing Facilities ― 19 States, April 2020

Meanwhile in Oklahoma…

Texas County COVID-19 case count at 343; Guymon 3rd-highest number of cases

116 COVID-19 infections found in pork processing plant in Guymon

The article link is old.  I’m unable to find any current data on the number of Covid-19 cases at the meat processing plant.

Like I’ve before,  my vegetarian cookbook collection is growing.  I’ll need more sources for inspiration in the kitchen when the government starts rationing animal proteins and mandates veganism.

“Unlike other supply chain issues, this has nothing to do with anyone overseas. This has to do with how many people can you make work inside one of these processing plants—they’re all very close to each other and there’s a public health risk,” Rubio said. “So there’s been disruptions there. I know people are working hard to get that resolved. In the meantime, I guess we’ll have to go a little vegan, right?”

Marco Rubio Admits “We Have to Go a Little Vegan” Due to Meat Shortage

Vitamin D Hypothesis – A Role in COVID-19 Mortality Rates?

Vitamin D Levels Appear to Play Role in COVID-19 Mortality Rates

By analyzing publicly available patient data from around the globe, Backman and his team discovered a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and cytokine storm — a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system — as well as a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and mortality.

The research is available on medRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences.

The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality

In conclusion, we found significant crude relationships between vitamin D levels and the number COVID-19 cases and especially the mortality caused by this infection. The most vulnerable group of population for COVID-19, the aging population, is also the one that has the most deficit Vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D has already been shown to protect against acute respiratory infections and it was shown to be safe. It should be advisable to perform dedicated studies about vitamin D levels in COVID-19 patients with different degrees of disease severity.

Many years ago I approached my former personal care physician and asked to have my Vitamin D level checked.

“What the hell for?”

“I would like to know my Vitamin D blood level to see if I need to take a supplement.”

“Just get outside in the sun for around 20 minutes a day.”

“Just order the test.”

And he did.  Less than a week later Doc called me back to let me know I had Vitamin D deficiency.  I’ve been taking a daily supplement since.

Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic. The major cause of vitamin D deficiency is the lack of appreciation that sun exposure in moderation is the major source of vitamin D for most humans. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D are often inadequate to satisfy either a child’s or an adult’s vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and will precipitate and exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and infectious diseases. A circulating level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of >75 nmol/L, or 30 ng/mL, is required to maximize vitamin D’s beneficial effects for health. In the absence of adequate sun exposure, at least 800–1000 IU vitamin D3/d may be needed to achieve this in children and adults. Vitamin D2 may be equally effective for maintaining circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D when given in physiologic concentrations.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 87, Issue 4, April 2008, Pages 1080S–1086S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/87.4.1080S
Published: 01 April 2008

An interesting hypothesis that needs more research.

Update 05.16.20

Journal Reference:

  1. E. Laird, J. Rhodes, R.A. Kenny. Vitamin D and Inflammation: Potential Implications for Severity of Covid-19. Irish Medical Journal, 2020; 113 (5): P81 [link]

Journal Reference:

  1. Petre Cristian Ilie, Simina Stefanescu, Lee Smith. The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 2020; DOI: 10.1007/s40520-020-01570-8

 

 

Meat Intake and Colorectal Polyps

Meat Intake and Colorectal Polyps

Research professor of medicine Martha Shrubsole, Ph.D., and colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have published the first study to evaluate intakes of meat, cooking methods and meat mutagens and risk of developing sessile serrated polyps (SSPs, also called sessile serrated lesions). Shrubsole previously reported that consuming high levels of red meat increased the risk of developing all types of polyps, but that the likelihood of developing SSPs was two times greater than the risk of developing adenomas and hyperplastic polyps (HP).

Conventional colorectal adenomas are the precursor lesions for most colorectal cancers. SSPs, however, represent an alternative pathway to carcinogenesis that may account for up to 35 percent of colorectal cancers. Because a diagnostic consensus for SSPs was not reached until 2010, few epidemiologic studies have evaluated risk factors.

 

Gut Check! Two Mediterranean Diet Studies

In conclusion, these two outstanding studies support the fact that (1) it is not the quantity of calories per se that matters but the quality of the diet and (2) even in subjects of advanced age, adherence to a MedDiet is rapidly associated with different metabolic effects and reduced disease risk factors.

Mediterranean diet, gut microbiota and health: when age and calories do not add up!

 

Visceral fat delivers signal to the brain that hurts cognition

“We have identified a specific signal that is generated in visceral fat, released into the blood that gets through the blood brain barrier and into the brain where it activates microglia and impairs cognition.”

Visceral fat delivers signal to the brain that hurts cognition

Quote and article link presented without the usual sarcasm.

Molecule found in oranges could reduce obesity and prevent heart disease and diabetes

In mice, so don’t start gorging on oranges.

Sorry, sarcasm restriction didn’t last long.

Early studies on the diet suggested red wine was a major contributor to the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet because it contains a compound called resveratrol, which activated a certain pathway in cells known to increase lifespan and prevent aging-related diseases. However, work in Mashek’s lab suggests that it is the fat in olive oil, another component of the Mediterranean diet, that is actually activating this pathway.

Olive oil in the diet may also help mitigate aging-related diseases

 

Taco Bell is launching an all-vegetarian menu feature with 50 meat-free items

Taco Bell is launching an all-vegetarian menu feature with 50 meat-free items

I’ve been following the Vegan Tsunami for some time now.  See here, here, and here, 2018-The year vegan junk food went mainstream.

A few things to remember:

  • The media is extremely loud on this subject and the percentage of vegetarians in the United States is approximately 5% or less.
  • Fast food is still fast food, meat or no meat.
  • My post is not an endorsement.

I haven’t eaten at a Taco Hell in years.  And the availability of 50 meat free items is not going to entice me to start eating there again.  If you’re eating less meat for health reasons that’s fine.  But don’t pursue your meat-free lifestyle with fast food.

 

 

Alcohol consumption in later life and reaching longevity: the Netherlands Cohort Study

Key points

  • The highest probability of reaching 90 years of age (longevity) was found for men and women drinking 5– < 15 g alcohol/day (or 0.5–1.5 glass/day); the exposure–response relationship was significantly non-linear in women.
  • Usual drinking pattern and binge drinking were not significantly associated with longevity, but the risk estimates indicate to avoid binge drinking.
  • The estimated modest risk ratios (RRs) should not be used as motivation to start drinking if one does not drink alcoholic beverages.
Results

 

We found statistically significant positive associations between baseline alcohol intake and the probability of reaching 90 years in both men and women. Overall, the highest probability of reaching 90 was found in those consuming 5– < 15 g/d alcohol, with RR = 1.36 (95% CI, 1.20–1.55) when compared with abstainers. The exposure-response relationship was significantly non-linear in women, but not in men. Wine intake was positively associated with longevity (notably in women), whereas liquor was positively associated with longevity in men and inversely in women. Binge drinking pointed towards an inverse relationship with longevity. Alcohol intake was associated with longevity in those without and with a history of selected diseases.

 

Alcohol consumption in later life and reaching longevity: the Netherlands Cohort Study

Hormesis?

High-protein diets boost artery-clogging plaque

High-protein diets boost artery-clogging plaque, mouse study shows

In mice.

The mice on the high-fat, high-protein diet developed worse atherosclerosis — about 30% more plaque in the arteries — than mice on the high-fat, normal-protein diet, despite the fact that the mice eating more protein did not gain weight, unlike the mice on the high-fat, normal-protein diet.

“This study is not the first to show a telltale increase in plaque with high-protein diets, but it offers a deeper understanding of the impact of high protein with the detailed analysis of the plaques,” Razani said. “In other words, our study shows how and why dietary protein leads to the development of unstable plaques.”