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Dr. Wilma Wooten
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, is recognized for helping facilitate both the elimination of avoidable fomites and the value of promoting a strong immune system created by eating healthy real food which also helps eliminate underlying health conditions. Photo by Helen Nielsen

Commentary: Health official, farmers and ‘Santas’ collaborate against COVID-19

It isn’t just the troubling growing numbers of infection rates, hospitalizations and mortality rates that are the problem.  It’s the seeming difficulty the USA is having reaching a full national consensus of what to do to curtail the continuing harm COVID-19 is creating to both to our national health and our economy.

While discussions around the defensive measures to contain it continue there is at least agreement that COVID-19 isn’t just the “seasonal flu,” which during the 2018-19 flu season killed “only” 34,000 persons in the USA, a death rate of less than 0.1%.

The current COVID-19 pandemic, as of mid-August 2020, has infected 5.44 million Americans with 171,000 currently dead from it in the USA.  That mortality number is projected to continue to grow throughout the fall and winter.

In San Diego County, the kill rate of those infected with COVID-19 is just over 1.8% and worldwide that rate is as high as 3.4 to 4%.

While public health officials worldwide are in agreement regarding the defensive measure that could and should be taken: Mask wearing, social distancing, contact tracing, hand washing, quarantining and sanitizing after touching any fomite — a surface touched by others but not cleaned between each contact — these measures, unfortunately, are not receiving universal adherence, at least not here in the USA.

The Kale Rider
The Kale Rider teams with other healthy real foods to take on COVID-19’s ability to do harm. Courtesy photo

Rather than debating “the why” on the defensive measure side, the Farmers in at least one local Farmers Market has teamed with a group of health-promoting Santas and the County Office of Health and Human Services to address the other component of how to curb COVID-19 – promoting eating healthy Real Food which will boost your immune system, thus increasing a person’s ability to defeat the hospitalizations and mortalities COVID-19 has created.

They are doing this with an extensive educational campaign reminding market-goers of the nutritional values and immune system boosting qualities in the products made available there.

The effort: a collaboration between the Saturday Vista Farmers Market, the Sustainable Santa Foundation and farmers features a “new anti-COVID Hero” — The Kale Rider — who over the summer and throughout fall will be challenging Covid’s Hero: the Pale Rider – the horseman of death in the Apocalypse.

Death’s Pale Rider’s allies, of course, are the elements of the SAD (Standard American Diet) of Fast, Junk and Processed “foods” which are overwhelmingly responsible for creating those “Underlying Health Conditions” of heart, lung, diabetes and other food-driven illnesses which have facilitated Covid’s ability to do harm.

The Kale Rider, and the real food offerings which the local farmers present are the health-promoting army of superfoods. “Don’t leave mushroom for underlying health conditions”; “Lets Garlic COVID-19”; “ Yam-up COVID’s ability to do harm”; “Let-us all be healthy,” etc. All reminders of the great health producing values existing in whole real foods not stripped of their nutritional values by industrialized food processing.

“We have long recognized the main reason the Vista Farmers Market has been thriving since 1981 is that local families see the deep health value of purchasing and eating the healthy locally grown, responsibly raised real food made available by the conscientious Farmers in our market,” says Mark Wall, Vista Market Manager.

If you eat healthily, you will be healthy, says Wall.

We love being part of the network of farmers urging our customers to take steps to boost their immune system by including super healthy real foods like our micro-greens in their daily diet says David Gonzalez, owner of Local Leaf Microgreens available at five farmers markets in San Diego County.

Step one, says Gonzalez is to help them understand the need to break their addiction to the fast, junk and processed “food” diet so heavily promoted to Americans.  They do that by embracing the true taste sensation and benefits provided by real food products like our microgreens and the resulting vitality they get from having great health and an absence of those underlying health problems we always hear about when the COVID-19 hospitalization and death statistics are presented.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the County Public Health Officer, was briefed on the effort in early August as part of a follow-up on the county’s issuing guidelines urging banning the use of gloves by Santas due to their high potential for spreading germs, viruses and other pathogens between children at holiday time.

The gloves-banning effort is a project which the Sustainable Santa Foundation and their team of Real Santas United for Healthy Kids have advocated for several years.

Sustainable Santas
From fresh-caught seafood to mushrooms, green, blue and purple vegetables, and more the specific health benefits of the farmer’s products are presented at the Farmers Market. Courtesy photo

These steps: urging Santas not to be germ spreading fomites, encouraging kids and families to eat healthy in order to be healthy, and recognizing the value in eating real food is all part of the new realities which come when something like a flu pandemic makes you think about what you have been doing, says Richard Eckfield, head of the Sustainable Santa Foundation.

“How did we all become so complacent about how germs and viruses are spread,”  Eckfield (Sustainable Santa) said.  “And how and when did we come to believe that we can feed our bodies manufactured nutrient-depleted, food-like substances, empty of all life and yet remain healthy?  How did we come to believe that industrial chemicals and processing could replace what nature produces, which is what the farmers sell directly to consumers?”

The Eat Health in Order to Be Healthy promotion joins with the defensive measures completing the cycle of the offensive measures needed to defeat COVID-19. This effort emphasizing the importance of the immune system boost that Real Food provides is critical at this time when the dangers of having negative health conditions have become so evident.

As to the other “new realities” we need to face, says Sustainable Santa, the “politics of waiting for a miracle vaccine”, while that aspiration is making several individuals and corporations very wealthy it needs to be measured against the fact that “a new preventative vaccine” to “solve” other viruses (i.e. Acquired Immunes Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Genital Herpies, even the Common Cold, etc.) has never been found.

A strong immune system is the time tested preventative/mediation measure we need to embrace and we should all abandon the bad SAD diet and get on with building our good health.

In the process, we also need to address the global climate Heating crisis as we do all the above. The ice is getting very thin up at the North Pole, says Santa, and the majority of the elves don’t know how to swim.