I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Covid with doctors and epidemiologists these last few years. Things are finally beginning to change…
On the one hand we have vaccines, boosters, and are getting better at treating Covid.
On the other hand, right now we’re in the middle of a giant spike of the crazy infectious (but mostly less deadly) Omicron variant.
Which begs the question, to what extent do we alter our training during the current Omicron case spike when many hospitals are bursting at the seams?
To answer this question I went back to Dr Nicholas Tyau, a BJJ black belt and internal medicine specialist who worked in NYC during the original Covid Ground Zero in 2020. Dr Tyau was previously a guest on episode 285 and on episode 320 of The Strenuous Life Podcast
Jiu-Jitsu in a time of Omicron, with Dr Nicholas Tyau (Video Format)
Here’s the video version of episode 352 of The Strenuous Life Podcast
Some of the highlights include….
Jiu-Jitsu in a time of Omicron, with Dr Nicholas Tyau (Audio Format)
This interview was published as episode 352 of The Strenuous Life Podcast. You can also listen to the audio-only format of the episode on your podcast player.
It’s on all major podcast platforms, but here are some of the links to get you started…
Or if you want to stay on this page please use the embedded audio player below…
5 Key Factors to Consider After Training But Before Staring to Train
For reference, in episode 320 of the Strenuous Life Podcast Dr Tyau laid out 5 key factors to consider when trying to figure out if you should be training or not.
You can go to episode 320 (So You’ve Been Jabbed, Now What?) for the full breakdown of the heuristic, but here are the 5 original factors…
- Local hospital and ICU occupancy rates
- Covid test positivity rates in your community
- Vaccination rates within your community and training group
- Your tolerance for personal short term and long term risk
- Who you live and work with
My Current Position: Vaccinated Training Pods with Rapid Antigen Tests
For the first year and half of the pandemic there was essentially no difference between the advice I was giving to other people training BJJ and what I was doing myself.
But then, roughly in mid 2021, the advice I was giving to other people and what I was doing myself began to diverge. I was taking much stronger measures than what I thought was reasonable for most people.
That’s because new research was coming out showing how much worse Covid-19 was for people who had kidney transplants (if you didn’t know, I had a kidney transplant because of Polycystic Kidney Disease in 2015).
It turns out that the Infection Fatality Rate of Covid in kidney transplant patients was ridiculously high – with some studies putting the death rate as high as in the 20-40% range.
Now I’m vaccinated and boosted which lowers the risk. However boosted or not I’m likely much more vulnerable to Covid than the usual person, so I have to take more precautions than the usual person.
So what am I doing about my own training right now?
- I’m definitely going to get all my recommended booster shots
- During case spikes and hospitalization spikes I’ll dial back my training to just my family training pod
- Until there’s better data about how to protect kidney transplant patients I’m mostly going to train in small groups of vaccinated people
- If available I’ll use Rapid Antigen Tests before those training sessions to ensure that nobody is infectious
I discuss my current strategy in more depth in the current episode with Dr Tyau. And, as always, I’ll keep abreast of the science and change my opinions, strategies and safety measures as the science continues to evolve.
Related Podcast Episodes, Videos and Articles
Podcast Suggestion 1: If you’re interested in this topic you might enjoy episode 302 with epidemiologists Kathrine Wallace and Madeline Lewis in which we examine many of the myths and misinformation around Covid-19.
Podcast Suggestion 2: People mean well when they address me with an honorific but please call me Stephan, and not ‘Professor’ or ‘Sifu’ or ‘Sensei’ or ‘Guru’ or ‘Master’ or ‘Shihan’ or ‘Kru’ or ‘Sabom’ Or ‘Kwisatz Haderach. Click here for episode 350 in which I go off about the danger of fancy titles in the martial arts.
Podcast Suggestion 3: If everything is possible then nothing is true, which is why I HATE reflexive conspiratorial thinking with all my heart. Here’s episode 338 and an epic rant about runaway conspiracy thinking.
Thank you, and take care of each other,