The World Health Organization (WHO) never said that vegetarians are less susceptible to the coronavirus. The claim seems to have originated with a Dr. Gauden Galea, who purportedly said, “As long as people eat meat, there is going to be some risk of infection.” He clarified that:
“The statement was part of a longer discussion about the continued global risk of zoonotic viruses and the potential for ‘spillover’ into human populations. The intent was not to endorse any particular diet nor to condemn any other, but to recognise that as long as people eat meat, there is a need to rear animals, to slaughter them, and to distribute and sell the products. This proximity of animals and humans thus generated will create the opportunity, indeed the certainty, of animal-human spillovers of infectious disease. It is important therefore that the trade – in all livestock, from farm to table, be regulated in a One-Health approach looking at animal and human health as one continuum, with all sectors involved acting in unison.”
– The Logical Indian
Dr. Gauden Galea is the WHO’s representative in China, a public health physician who has worked for WHO since 1998, widely published.
The ominous part of his statement:
“This proximity of animals and humans thus generated will create the opportunity, indeed the certainty, of animal-human spillovers of infectious disease.”
So, COVID-19 will be one of many infectious diseases, some mild, some like Ebola.
I think there’s a case for vegetarians to supplement zinc during the Covid19 pandemic. We know that vegetarians tend to have lower zinc status, and there’s suggestive evidence that zinc may be important for prophylaxis and treatment.
Of course, healthy weight vegetarians will likely benefit from a less inflammatory state to their immune systems.
Good point about vegetarians and zinc.