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Originally predicted to claim up to 200,000 lives by the end of 2020, COVID-19 predictions have been drastically downgraded to 60,000 lives lost in the United States as a result of the virus.

As we all would agree, each person is valuable. The pain of losing a family member can yield deep scars that last a lifetime.

In these difficult and anxious times, it is critically important to position our perspective in alignment with historical records.

The following data is the number of deaths for leading causes in the U.S. (2017), provided by the CDC:

  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

Though these statistics are from 2017, we have only seen the same, or increase, to date. Additionally, according to a Harvard University Center for Ethics study, about 128,000 people die annually from drugs prescribed to them, and this is when they are taken as directed.

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What are we really dying from?

We would be remiss if we did not factor into our broad perspective the elephant in the room: lifestyle. It is inarguably true the standard American diet/lifestyle plays a huge role in many of the causes of death listed above.

Any population that increases consumption of refined sugars, chemically altered highly processed foods, and trans fats, decreases activity and movement, decreases sleep quality and duration, and chronically discusses and lives in fear will have less effective immune systems and higher disease prevalence.

These diseases then become the co-morbidities that effect the mortality rate for viruses like the coronavirus.

In other words, a good percentage of death is avoidable and reversible by simply avoiding the standard American diet/lifestyle.

We now have an opportunity to view our current pandemic from a different lens.

Is the solution in a vaccine?

We are not anti-vaccine or pro-vaccine. Vaccines can indeed be a factor in ending broad-based pandemics. However, we must not look to the “silver bullet” of vaccines to fix our current problem.

Vaccines will be developed and used, as they have been, for the years to come whether we agree or not. But the biggest things that are NOT addressed are two-fold:

#1 Why are we avoiding our personal responsibility?

Our lifestyle has eroded to whatever is fast, quick and convenient instead of being thoughtful and prepared. The consequences of our own action and inaction are now being revealed.

The coronavirus, though tragic, has revealed a weakness in our current state of health. Instead of addressing our societal failures of lifestyle, we have avoided the subject all together.

#2 Why are we not mentioning that many more people will die from lifestyle choices than the coronavirus?

America has mastered the worldwide exportation of its unhealthy lifestyle to the world. On top of this, we have the most astronomical increase of obesity with co-conditions the world has ever seen, with no sign of slowing.

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All said, we realize we are born to die, but we need to grasp a better reality:

We are born to live.

We cannot have the opportunity to experience a full life if we continue to self-sabotage with poor lifestyle, allow highjacked fear-based narratives to control us, and forget how to think and reason for ourselves.

It is time we take a breath, look inward, be willing to embrace a broader and wider perspective, and make appropriate changes.

Our world, as we know it, will not survive unless we do.

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