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Coronavirus Part VI: Why COVID-19 Is More Deadly to the Chinese

I have written five previous blog posts about coronavirus. In those posts I told you that I thought the final mortality rate in the US for COVID-19 would be comparable to the flu mortality rate. Right now, the COVID-19 mortality rate is very high—around 2%. The flu mortality rate is estimated to be approximately 0.01% per year. My reasoning for lowering the mortality rate for COVID-19 was that not enough sick people have been tested. The tests in the US have been rationed to very sick and dying individuals.


In China, at the start of the crises, I would imagine the same phenomenon was going on—only the very sick were tested. Therefore, those that had COVID-19 and convalesced at home were not included in the data. That would skew the results to make the mortality numbers look much worse than the actually were.


The same situation could be occurring in other countries. Of course, in the US, the CDC botched the test kits and we simply do not know how widespread or deadly this disease is. More information about that can be found in my fifth coronavirus blog post which you may read here: ‘Corona Virus Part V: The Epic Failure at The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention”.


One question I was bothered with was why so many younger male Chinese were dying from COVID-19.   It seems that in other countries, COVID-19 was primarily killing the old and the sick. Which is just what you would expect from a regular influenza season.


I was speaking to a colleague today, Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD. She is an immunologist who I have been following for years. She forwarded me two articles that could explain why the Chinese (and young Chinese males) suffered such a high rate of mortality from COVID-19.


A February, 2020 article about coronavirus reported that the virus is able to invade the body by binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE 2). ACE 2 is expressed in mucosal lining of the oral cavity. So, when exposed to coronavirus, COVID-19 gains entrance into the body by binding to the ACE 2 receptors in the oral cavity.


Guess where other ACE 2 receptors have been found? High ACE 2 expression has also been found in lung cells. (2) Pneumonia is one the most serious problems associated with COVID-19. ACE 2 has also been identified in other areas of the body including the esophagus, heart, kidney and bladder. All these organs are potential risks of infection for COVID-19.


Here’s where things get more interesting. An older 2015 study (3) looked at smoke inhalation and the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome. The smoke exposure given to rats resulted in an increased expression of ACE 2 in the lungs when compared with controls not exposed to smoke.


Which population of people would be more prone to having ACE 2 receptors elevated in the lungs?   Cigarette smokers would. In China, smoking is at a markedly higher rate than it is here. In fact, there are estimates that over 350 million Chinese are cigarette smokers. (3) This accounts for over a third of the world’s smokers. When you factor in the increased levels of pollution which may do the same thing, this would result in a higher death rate from a COVID-19 infection in China as compared to the US.


In China, 60% of males smoke while only 4% of females do. COVID-19 has been reported to be more deadly in males from the information coming out of China. In America, less than 20% currently smoke cigarettes. That includes about 16% of men and 12% of women. Currently, 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes. These numbers have been declining for decades.


This should give reassurance to non-smokers. For those who smoke, here is another reason to stop. If you are a smoker, I advise you to take vitamin C (3-10,000 mg/day or to bowel tolerance), vitamin A 10,000 IU/day (unless you are pregnant), and vitamin D (6-10,000 IU/day). If you become ill with a viral infection, I would suggest following my viral protocol from the previous posts: For four days, take 50,000 U of vitamin D3 and 100,000 U of vitamin A per day). After the four days, resume the previous dosing. It is best to work with a holistic doctor who can monitor your levels as both vitamin A and D can become toxic.


To All Our Health,




(1) Int. J. of Oral Science. Published online Feb. 24, 2020

(2) Front. Med. 10.1007/s11684-020-0754-0 (2020) and 2020.01.26.919985v1 (2020)


Author Info

David Brownstein, M.D.

Comments ( 65 )

  • Author Icon
    Helen Levin

    Dr. Browstein (I am a longtime follower, but just learned of your blog)Nice!:
    I am puzzled why the CDC and other authorities do not advocate these measures:
    1) topical nasal treatment wi. essential oils we all know about that insure antimicrobial
    protection for sinus (portals),
    2) and to inhale some of same into chest to attempt same effect…
    as crucial. Am I misinformed? ( Doing this has protected me for years from colds and flu, and I am
    classified as “older person” now). I look forward to your take on this. And thanks!

    • Author Icon

      There is a lot that puzzles me about the CDC!
      Essential oils are great therapeutic agents.

    • Author Icon

      I will be writing about the Diamond Princess soon. Perfect example of a closed group and COVID-19. 1% death rate on this ship.

  • Author Icon

    Dr. B,
    Thank you for all your work on educating us! My daughter is 26 years old and three months pregnant which makes me even more concerned about this COV 19 outbreak. What are your thoughts on pregnant women contracting the virus? Would it affect the baby? Should she supplement on vitamins that you recommend to boost up immune system to prevent it? What would be an appropriate dosage for her for these vitamins – A, C, D? Any others?

    A very greatful reader

    • Author Icon

      There is not much written on this topic. That is good news as we would be hearing about deformed babies due to this. OTher than that, I can’t offer much. Sorry for that.
      Pregnant women can take vitamin C per my dosing. Vitamin D: 6,000 IU/day. As for vitamin A, it should be avoided.

  • Author Icon
    Liv Stang-Lund

    I am a little sceptical about your 0,1%. Seeing as we live several years longer here in Scandinavia plus we have healtcare for all. The Norwegian healthservices are now advicing on smokers and corona, that they are a riskgroup.

  • Author Icon
    Liv Stang-Lund

    Than you for this interesting info. I just wondered about your 0,01 deathrate for influenza. Here in Denmark, we operate with 0,2%. For the very hard influenzaseason of 2018 we has 0,8%. 0,01 seems very low.

    • Author Icon

      Yes, here in the States our mortality rate from flu is 0.1%, not .01%

  • Author Icon
    Carolin at Go Green Armenia

    A great huge THANK YOU Dr. Brownstein from Armenia!!!! I greatly appreciate your work, your newsletters, and your knowledge and experience you give to us daily!!!

  • Author Icon
    Elaine Woodriff

    Dr. Brownstein, Your newsletter is the very best. I have been subscribing to your newsletter for many years and in every issue, you have very important information. Your information has helped me with many problems. I am very grateful for all you have to say.

    • Author Icon

      THANK YOU! That is a nice way to wake up. I appreciate that (even if Larry David does not like the word ‘appreciate’).

  • Author Icon

    I was told that over-stimulating our immune system and taking supplements like vitamin C could help produce a “cytokine storm” with this unique virus. This is one reason, it is asserted, that kids don’t seem to get badly affected by this virus–their immunity doesn’t over-react. Is there any validity to that claim that supplements could help cause this over-reactive immune response? Thank you for your blog updates.

    • Author Icon

      My 30+ years of medical experience with this is crystal clear: NO! Vitamin C helps to mitigate cytokine storm as well as other natural items. What can exacerbate cytokine storm? Acetaminophen and other over-the-counter products make it worse. They deplete glutathione and other items from the body.

  • Author Icon

    Cigarettes yes, but it’s also important to think of the POLLUTION they endure there as well. Young men are the primary workforce, hence out of the home the most and for the longest periods of time. Outdoor workers are primarily younger men as well. While smoking certainly diminishes lung health, pollution is pervasive and unavoidable…it is sad that so many people that have to live with that air quality.

  • Author Icon

    Dr. B. Thank you for all you do to educate and help us understand more about the puzzle pieces of the Corona virus. In this lates blog, at the end where you advise about supplements to take, could you explain what the 3 and the 6 represent in the 3-10,000 msg of vitamin C and the 6-10,000 iu of D?

  • Author Icon
    Vern H

    Asians avoid the sun as having a tan is labelled as “lower class who works the fields.” Even with temps in the high 90s or 100s you will see street vendors wearing coats, wide brim hats and gloves. In China factory workers often are inside 12 hours or more per day 6-7 days a week. Makes you wonder if there might be a sun factor (pure vitamine C) missing in their lives leading to CoV, sarrs, bird flu, etc.

  • Author Icon
    Michael Pomroy

    Dr. Brownstein Would the poor air quality also contribute to this condition in the respiratory system?

  • Author Icon
    Gerald Goldberg

    YOU TUBE: 5G Gigantic health hazard – Dr Barrie Trower & Sir Julian Rose
    •Dec 14, 2018
    5G & VIRUSES
    Bacterium & Viruses THRIVE on microwave!
    The Wuhan city of China where this virus started is the CENTER for 5G.
    It has the biggest radio satellite in the world for 5G, which it beams up to its satellite and in return beams down to 5G receivers!
    5G distorts 02 (oxygen) which causes chaos in the lungs and the blood vessels, causing people to drop dead!

    •Dec 8, 2018
    170 2 Share
    Glastonbury Symposium
    906 subscribers
    Barrie Trower trained in microwave research for the military when he worked with the underwater bomb disposal unit of the Royal Navy. With two degrees in physics, Barrie outlines the growing deep concerns about the health effects of pulsed microwave radiation emitted from Wi-Fi, mobile phones and transmission masts. What are the real issues around these, and what is the potential harm to us, bees and nature in general..? Recorded at Truth, Mysteries and New Frontiers (Glastonbury Symposium), July 2010
    People & Blogs

    • Author Icon

      Thank you Gerald.
      RadiationInducedLungInjury… same on CT scan as C-Virus damage. And isn’t that convenient?
      Should be nicknamed: “TelephoneDisease”
      Appears mostly where the nefariously installed Chinese5Gtechnology is–like around lRAN…. Curiouser and Curiouser.

    • Author Icon

      Yes, I’ve heard about the theory of a connection of CV-19 to the epicenters of 5G roll outs. It sure makes sense! is a source about it. Would love Dr. B’s feedback!

      • Author Icon

        I doubt Iran has 5G. They have a COVID-19 mess on their hands. We have had many other plagues over hundreds of years well before 5G. 5G may be impacting this, but there is simply no data on that.

        • Author Icon

          Iran had 5G rollout early march , Wuhan has 30,000 antenna’s fired up started @ military games late Oct . Milan Italy , South Korea all early adopters fired up previous to this. Us is rolling out all through march .They did have some test cities last year , seems that those cities had vaping illness very similar to lung issues with covid-19.

  • Author Icon
    Linda Riggs

    I am about to take Iodoral for the first time, 12.5 mgs. There is no information on the bottle regarding time of day or whether to take it with food or not. Would you please let me know? Thanks so much!

  • Author Icon
    Donna M Slaybaugh

    Have you seen this? China is doing high dose intravenous Vitamin C…
    What are your thoughts about this, Dr. Brownstein?

  • Author Icon

    Thank you for this info. This is probably whin in BC Canada the reported Covid 19 is not that high. Smoking in public places, and establishments is not allowed.

  • Author Icon

    Dr B,
    I have been following the advice of Dr Robert Thompson, Soldatna, Alaska for several years. He has always advised only to take Vitamin C as the whole molecule, stating that ascorbic acid actually depletes the body of Vit C. I am therefore surprised to hear that you noted no clinical difference between whole C and ascorbic acid. Dr. Thompson will be publishing a book on vitamin C soon, I look forward to reading more about it. I value and read all of your blogs! Thank you very much.

  • Author Icon

    Hi Dr. Brownstein,

    Thank you for being the voice of reason. Very much appreciate your posts.

  • Author Icon

    This may be one of the more logical articles on the CVirus. I didn’t realize how many people smoke in China. I remember my wife and I visiting Paris a year ago and we both noticed how so many people smoke there. Smoking in addition to the highly urban pollution areas makes perfect sense for the younger age deaths. .the perfect host environment. Stay tuned to a smokey city near you.

  • Author Icon
    Richard King

    Thanks for your observation about Chinese males smoking AND tying that to China’s notorious air pollution. The better air quality of American cities should confer additional protection to U.S. nonsmokers! A great dispatch, as usual.

  • Author Icon
    Pamela A

    Thank you for the information on Vit C. Dr. Carolyn Dean suggests that D3 requires sufficient magnesium levels in order to be absorbed by the body – do you also use magnesium in your regimen? I understand most of us are deficient of magnesium since the soils in which the crops are grown are depleted and because our toxic levels have risen (due to pesticides, glyphosate, and chemically contaminated water and air) which in turn ups our requirements.

    • Author Icon

      The Chinese are not unhealthy, as a lot of article try to represent. The citizens of large Chinese cities, even with air pollution, now live longer than the average American. In the rural areas, they die a lot sooner, of course. Smoking is a big factor. Wuhan had a death rate equal to Germany, lower than the US. I don’t know what it is now.

      • Author Icon
        Glory Stendardi

        The mortality statistics (life expectancy) for the USA are skewed because of our high (relatively) overdose and suicide rates which increasingly affect younger people. You’ve heard that life expectancy in the USA has been falling? That is not because of chronic disease, that is because of those factors. If you left out deaths from drug overdoses and suicides, the USA life expectancy is higher.

  • Author Icon

    Still doesn’t explain why there weren’t more casualties among middle age and older males. Logic dictates that smoking and air pollution damage to health are cumulative so according to your hypothesis we should expect the most victims among older males.

    • Author Icon

      I do not believe ‘most’ victoms in China were younger aged males (though I have not fully checked that). I think the majority of deaths in China were older and those with chronic diseases. Most older people are more susceptible to everything.

  • Author Icon
    Kathy Hall

    I talked to a teenager recently who said most of the kids at his high school were addicted to vaping…..this could be a big problem for young people exposed to this virus since there was already a teenager in Michigan who had a double lung transplant from vaping….

  • Author Icon
    Dr. Richard Stillo, DACM, L.Ac.

    Hello Dr. B,
    I was wondering why COVID-19 is deadly to healthy adults in China, but primarily deadly to elderly sick people elsewhere. Your explanation about smoking and air pollution is excellent. Also, I read that ACE 2 is found in greater concentration in Chinese versus most other races. Maybe the higher ACE 2 concentration is due to smoking/air pollution, coming back to your explanation.
    Thank you for everything you do, Dr. Richard Stillo, DACM, L.Ac.

  • Author Icon

    Another great article, Dr. B. Thank you! Do you know if when a person quits smoking whether the ACE-2 receptor expression in their lungs goes down, and if so, how long after quitting smoking the expression returns to “normal” (i.e., does it take days, weeks, months or years?).

    • Author Icon

      I hate to use the word ‘assume’ (recall the Odd Couple episode with that word), but I would assume the receptors would (somewhat?) normalize with smoking cessation. I have not had time to find that out. Perhaps a smart reader could educate us!

  • Author Icon
    Harvey D Johnston

    Dr. Brownstein, we are one of the few animals on this planet that do not make Vit C in our own bodies. How can an animal that makes Vit C in their body make all the extra missing matrix of supporting factors like bioflavonoids. This is in answer to the first response to your latest post.

    • Author Icon

      What about the fifty or more years of research showing the beneficial effects of ascorbic acid? Those studies and in fact few to no studies on vitamin C use any supporting factors like bioflavonoids.

  • Author Icon
    Lisa B

    Hi Dr. Brownstein, thank you for this great information! I have read all your articles on corona virus. I am a dental hygienist in SoFlo and have practiced 28 years. I do not get the flu vaccine. My Hep B titer now show signs it has worn off. I have seen thousands of patients who have been all different stages of sickness, be it cold or flu because people still come in when sick unfortunately.. I have never noticed catching anything from patients, outside of one time, from what I’ve observed. I wear a level 3 mask at work and observe universal precautions. I see where you’ve said masks don’t protect from this virus. My husband, only 53, has suffered pneumonia several times and was in ER twice for it. I am worried about my exposure at work to it, inability to protect from it, and bringing it home to him. He’s otherwise healthy, just has thalassemia minor. What would you suggest I do to protect us in this situation, besides the Vitamin A,C, D protocol and iodine? My income is necessary bc i carry the insurance. Thank you!

    • Author Icon

      Eat a healthy diet, exercise and drink water. That is much more important than taking supplements.

  • Author Icon

    You’re the calm in the storm.. Another excellent article.

  • Author Icon
    Tim Scott

    Dr B,

    There is a lot of discussion on the best form of Vitamin C. Many sighting that whole food vitamin C is 10x more absorbable(my wording) than isolated ascorbic acid or ascorbate salts. They sight that while ascorbate/ascorbic acid is indeed part of the Vitamin C molecule, it’s not complete missing a matrix of supporting factors like bioflavanoids. Some explain this is why you have to take so much ascorbic acid. A few others indicate that high levels of ascorbic acid can lead to copper deficiency. Morley Robbins is one of the loudest on this, and sights some research over the years. My question is if one can take whole food Vitamin c, which my research has shown is best from acerola cherry powder that has been cold water extracted, how much should you take ? and is the ratio of 10x valid. I guess I could try it and take enough to bowel tolerance and then back off. But was curious on your thoughts on this matter.



    • Author Icon

      There is well over 50 years of research on vitamin C–the vast majority using ascorbic acid. Nearly all of that research has positive findings. Vitamin C is best received through food. When supplementing, I have seen no clinical difference between whole food sources or straight ascorbic acid.
      And, yes, copper levels need to be followed with high dose vitamin C. I do that with my patients.

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    Randa Talley

    Thank you for always sending out the best information! I am so glad I found you years ago when I lived in MI and you helped me through a thyroid issue. To this day, 20 years later, I still follow your regimen of vitamins and IO intake. Now you’re famous for your wonderful Holistic teachings! I share your great newsletters to get the word out!

  • Author Icon
    Karin VS

    Thanks so very very much Dr. Brownstein for this interesting view 👍🏼
    Especially thanks so much for the good advice concerning vitamin D3 and A in large doses.
    I’m so grateful you write about what concerns us.
    Kindest regards

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