COVID-19 Facts from the Frontline

A panel of doctors, M.D.s, and a Nobel Prize winner unmask the science you aren’t hearing on TV

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On March 11, 2020, people all over the world were thrust into a new reality when the coronavirus known as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. It was as if the globe had ground to a halt as businesses closed, schools shuttered, and stay-at-home orders emptied city streets and suburban highways, alike. Thousands of lives have been lost, all lives have been changed.

Over the past two months, despite the unprecedented circumstances, there have been shining examples of goodness and triumphs of the human spirit solidifying the fact that we as a species are both adaptable and resilient. We witnessed the power of collective human intelligence as physicians, researchers, scientists, and health care workers around the world have aligned their focus to find solutions to this challenge of historic proportions. In just a short period of time, groundbreaking discoveries have been made and we continue to make progress in quelling this virus and protecting our loved ones at risk.

Unfortunately, much of the news about COVID-19 has come clouded in the business of mass media which built momentum selling us a narrative of fear.

As new facts have emerged and research develops, it is our responsibility to stay flexible, and make well-informed decisions utilizing all the information we have. As Tony always says, we must have the acuity to assess whether our approach is working, and know when it’s time to change our approach.

In this episode, Tony goes on a journey of discovery in discussion with 7 special guests to uncover the truth about coronavirus. He spent weeks immersing himself in first-party research and carefully selected a panel of the most qualified researchers, an experienced epidemiologist, a Nobel Laureate, and M.D.s testing and treating patients on the frontlines. Together, they reveal the evidence-based research that has come to light – facts that you’re not hearing in the headlines that are absolutely crucial in shaping decisions about how to move forward.

This is one of the most important interviews that Tony has conducted in his 40+ year career, as it reminds us to stand guard at the door of our mind, practice discernment when determining trustworthy sources, and think critically for ourselves as we stay flexible, and maintain the ability to pivot in light of new information — especially when lives depend on it.

This interview was recorded on May 7, 2020. 


  • Dr. Michael Levitt, PhD, Nobel Prize – Chemistry, Professor of Structural Biology, Stanford
  • Dr. Eran Bendavid, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine, Stanford University
  • Dr. Michael Roizen, M.D., Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus, Cleveland Clinic
  • Dr. Alan Preston, Sc.D, Former Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Texas A&M
  • Senator Scott Jensen, M.D., Family Physician (R-Minnesota)
  • Dr. Dan Erickson, M.D., Co-Owner, Accelerated Urgent Care
  • Dr. Artin Massihi, M.D., Co-Owner, Accelerated Urgent Care


[00:00:00] Introduction: Tony speaks to these extraordinarily intense times
[00:00:30] The challenges we are experiencing
[00:01:00] The effects of our response to coronavirus
[00:01:30] Unintended consequence of these effects is hunger and poverty
[00:02:00] 265 million people projected to go hungry due to COVID-19
Read more here
[00:02:30] This is about going on a journey
[00:03:00] In the momentum of a story narrative, fear can take over
[00:03:30] Experts from around the world weigh in
[00:04:00] The 3 decisions that control our life
[00:04:30] Providing a new set of options is our goal, getting a second opinion
[00:05:00] Tony introduces the format for the panel
[00:05:30] Dr. Michael Levitt, Nobel Prize Winner – Chemistry
[00:06:00] Dr. Eran Bendavid, Stanford University Study
[00:06:30] Minnesota Senator Scott Jensen, MD
[00:07:00] Dr. Alan Preston, Epidemiologist
[00:07:30] Dr. Michael Roizen, MD, Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic
[00:08:00] Dr. Dan Erickson MD & Dr. Artin Massihi, MD, Accelerated Urgent Care
[00:08:30] Interview with Dr. Michael Levitt
[00:09:00] Dr. Levitt initially discussed the morbidity rates and questioned them
[00:09:30] Dr. Levitt followed the outbreaks and numbers out of China
[00:10:00] He saw the Diamond Princess as a great model
[00:10:30] The Diamond Princess death rate
[00:11:00] He realized it wasn’t like SARS
[00:11:30] Cruise ship could have provided everything we needed to know about COVID-19
[00:12:00] People believe what they’ve been told
[00:12:30] The truth is we all have viruses in our body all the time
[00:13:00] What really matters is the death rate
[00:13:30] Addressing what does this really mean
[00:14:00] COVID-19 case count became a big issue for political reasons
[00:14:30] Epidemiologists don’t mind erring on the high side
[00:15:00] A record of exaggerating early predictions
[00:15:30] Partisanship leads to an unbalanced situation scientifically
[00:16:00] Model = Guess
[00:17:00] We have new data, but we haven’t adapted in light of it
[00:17:30] Comparisons among the Top 5 countries in the world
[00:18:00] Sweden’s unique approach to social distancing
Read more here 
[00:18:30] Adjust for pop.; per capita is much lower
[00:19:00] Japan is worth looking at as an example for alternate approaches
[00:19:30] Japanese clubs were open a few weeks ago
[00:20:00] Herd immunity
[00:21:00] There is a natural saturation limit
[00:21:30] Even aboard the Diamond Princess, a perfect petri dish, not everyone was infected
[00:22:00] Saturation occurs differently in different countries and populations
[00:23:00] Environment, age, and health lifestyle play a huge role
[00:24:00] Excess deaths are important statistic
[00:25:00] PCR virus detection
[00:26:00] We are not yet calibrated to this sort of testing
[00:27:00] Interview with Senator Scott Jensen, M.D.
[00:27:30] His experience with coding deaths for COVID-19
[00:28:00] He was coached to identify COVID-19 on death certificates, even without testing
[00:28:30] Bus example
[00:29:00] Hospice example
[00:30:00] Death rate shot up by 600% due to different diagnostic standards
[00:30:30] Hospital financial incentives for coding COVID-19
[00:31:00] Ventilator use means more dollars for hospitals
[00:32:00] State deaths fluctuate due to discrepancies/disagreements on coding
[00:33:00] Why the drive to make death count as high as possible?
[00:34:00] Maximizing revenues
[00:35:00] Partisan battle
[00:36:00] Senator Jensen: Twilight Zone time machine, Hunger Games dystopia
[00:37:00] We need to mind our personal liberties while we grow from this
[00:38:00] We should not be threatened by people wanting to be in charge of their own health
[00:39:00] Interview with Dr. Eran Bendavid, M.D.
[00:40:00] High transmission, low death rate
[00:41:00] Santa Clara county antibody study
Read more here 
[00:42:30] Infection rate Stanford study found is revealed
[00:43:00] Many of the models were calculated based off cases
[00:44:00] 0.1 – 0.2% fatality rate
[00:44:10] We figure out the denominator for the infection fatality rate
[00:45:00] Flu is a very serious disease; many diseases claim many lives
[00:46:30] LA, NY are seeing similar numbers in their studies
[00:47:00] Initial numbers were off by 20X
[00:47:30] The epidemic is far further along in the course than we once thought
[00:48:00] Politics aside, need to come to an agreement about our priority research
[00:48:30] Science is about accounting for new facts and discoveries
[00:49:00] Interview with Dr. Alan Preston, Sc.D
[00:50:00] Epidemiology rookie mistake: Incidence vs. Prevalence
[00:51:00] Why is the case fatality rate overstated?
[00:51:30] Preposterous projection of 2.1 million expected deaths
[00:52:00] Deciphering cases and death rate
[00:52:30] How do we interpret information and data?
[00:53:00] March increase in testing, led to an increase in numbers
[00:54:00] Type 2 Diabetes example
[00:55:00] CDC PUI report
[00:56:00] Flu and COVID-19 deaths are being co-mingled
[00:56:30] Media: If it bleeds it leads
[00:57:00] Case numbers need context
[00:58:00] People can take their own responsibility for their own health
[00:58:20] Individual risk aversion
[00:59:00] Example: Car accident cases & deaths
[01:01:00] Flatten the curve to save the healthcare systems?
[01:02:00] Policy making is not ‘one shoe fits all feet’
[01:04:00] Period of time where the virus tries to overtake the host
[01:05:00] Sneeze or Cough
[01:06:00] We made these rules and we haven’t adjusted the narrative
[01:07:00] People are accustomed to the endemic stage of a virus
[01:08:00] The beauty of America is individual liberties
[01:09:00] We can’t live in a bubble
[01:09:20] New NY hospitalizations were from those who had stayed at home
Read more here
[01:10:15] UC system doctors and nurses have been furloughed
[01:11:00] Only 4 people in NYC I.C.U.; 7 in San Francisco, 11 in Los Angeles
[01:12:20] The U.S. hospital systems are some of the best institutions in the world
[01:13:00] This is not new, per se; we just didn’t understand the nature of coronavirus
[01:13:30] We have 500-600 pieces of a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle
[01:14:40] Common sense measures and most everyone will be fine
[01:15:00] Social distancing can weaken immune system
[01:16:00] Age group 65+ immune systems more vulnerable
[01:17:00] Interview with Dr. Michael Roizen, M.D.
[01:17:40] Who really is affected, 46% of deaths are from NY/NJ?
[01:18:50] Case fatality rate = 3% age 70 and over; Age 60 and under is less than 0.2%
[01:19:30] Consider Ohio, of 5.9 million people, about 80,000 people you need to protect
[01:20:15] You could open up the whole economy and not have much increase in risk
[01:21:00] Long-term care facilities (age 70+ nursing homes) need protection
[01:21:45] Economy Closed = More Deaths of despair
Read more here
[01:23:00] Ohio is opening up restaurants etc
[01:23:40] So if you’re under 70 without a comorbidity, you’re ok
[01:24:00] High BMI relation to COVID-19 fatality
Calculate yours here:
[01:24:50] Obesity in America creates 1-to-3 co-morbidities
[01:25:15] Nearly half the deaths in the United States are from two states
[01:26:10] Living longer is about controlling your lifestyle triggers
[01:27:00] Half deaths are from nursing homes
[01:27:35] In Ohio you could spend $240M to open up a $400B economy
[01:28:30] Hospital ships and run-off bed centers see few patients
Read more here 
[01:29:20] Let’s recap those numbers quick
[01:29:50] If you’re under the age of 50, it’s really hard to die from this
[01:31:00] Let’s isolate and protect those over 70
[01:31:20] Open the economy and stop the “deaths of despair”
[01:33:30] CDC is pulling numbers from alcoholism, drug overdose, and suicide
[01:34:00] Dr. Roizen’s overarching strategy
[01:35:00] Attending sports game and other events
[01:36:00] If you’re under 80 without comorbidities you should go live your life without fear
[01:37:00] Deaths of despair continue to rise in quarantine
[01:38:00] Interview with Dr. Dan Erickson, M.D.
[01:38:30] Viral press conference video removed by YouTube
Read more here
[01:39:30] Local media was interested in their data
[01:40:30] They were unaware that it would blow up in the way it did
[01:41:00] Hospitals are laying off doctors and nurses, closing floors
[01:42:00] A radically different narrative than what we’ve been told for months
[01:42:30] CA Governor Gavin Newsome response to small number of deaths
[01:42:50] I can go to Costco, but I can’t go to church
[01:43:20] The discussion has to pivot
[01:44:00] Flattening the curve lengthens the disease cycle
[01:45:00] Collateral damage of COVID-19 outweighs the virus itself
[01:45:30] Interview with Dr. Artin Massihi, M.D.
[01:46:25] The epidemiology of this disease is similar to flu
[01:47:00] We want to protect the average American
[01:48:00] Isn’t science continually testing and updating facts and making new decisions?
[01:49:00] Numerous data studies NY, Pittsburgh, USC proving COVID-19 similar to flu
[01:50:00] Social distancing hinders our flora and immune system
[01:51:00] The risk of losing our constitutional rights is real
[01:52:00] Tony opens the floor up for panel-wide questions
[01:53:00] Ventilators and their unintended consequences
– Read more 
Read more here
Read more here
[01:53:37] Dr. Bob Hariri intervenes with Tony’s team member on a ventilator
[01:54:31] People need oxygen, not pressure from ventilator intubation
[01:55:55] Round-Robin discussion
[01:56:00] Most individuals who are on a ventilator are in dire shape
[01:56:30] Dr. Roizen discusses Ohio’s experience with ventilators
[01:57:00] This is execution and age-dependent
[01:58:50] It is meticulous supportive care that makes a difference
[01:59:00] Hyperbaric oxygen might be a beneficial solution
[02:00:00] Dr. Roizen; We always want second opinions
[02:00:25] Tony opens the floor to talk about solutions
[02:01:00] Tony asks the panel what the most promising treatments are right now
[02:01:40] Vaccines and single-stranded RNA mutating coronaviruses
[02:01:45] Hydroxychloroquine benefits
[02:03:00] What can we do to build our own immune system?
[02:03:30] Senator Jensen; We are missing the boat here
[02:04:00] Hope energizes, fear paralyzes, put all these stats in context
[02:05:00] Roizen; China mislead us to believe lockdown stopped the spread
[02:06:00] Erickson; China had a chance to develop herd immunity
[02:07:00] Roizen; Dr. Fauci was misled by early China data
[02:08:00] The media’s role in pandemic of fear
[02:09:00] Dr. Preston calls Dr. Fauci to have better judgement
[02:09:50] Lesson to be learned here is: beware of generalizing data
[02:10:30] Italy has the second highest population of elderly and density in the world
[02:11:00] We need wisdom as opposed to more information
[02:12:00] Governor of South Dakota defends citizen liberties amid pork plant cases
[02:12:30] Dallas is attacked for opening
Read more about other state openings 
[02:13:45] Media must get back to their journalistic instincts; not sensationalize
[02:14:00] The unintended consequences of blanket policies
[02:15:00] The likelihood of you dying in Texas would be 0.000906
[02:16:00] Senator Jensen on state governors, Sweden, and non-cookie-cutter approach
[02:17:00] Senator Jensen highlights the fear-mongering of Dr. Fauci
[02:18:00] Tony poses final question: Where does it go and will it come back?
[02:19:00] The flu is an endemic, not a pandemic – COVID-19 will be the same
[02:19:47] Dr. Preston on we’ve been conditioned by fear by the media
[02:20:30] Politics have made this situation a “gotcha” moment
[02:21:30] Dr. Roizen explains how to handle the economy if this comes back
[02:22:00] We have the power to improve our own immune systems
[02:23:00] Senator Jensen on perfect storm: Flu season + COVID-19 + an election
[02:24:35] Mark Twain: “There’s 3 kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics”
[02:25:02] Dr. Erickson; Herd immunity, protecting eldery, personal responsibility
[02:26:00] Sweden has caught flack, but their method is viable
[02:26:20] The controversy around masks – do they really protect us?
[02:27:00] Dr. Erickson on how masks can increase exposure
[02:27:28] Dr. Jensen on N-95 mask limitations with COVID .1 micron particle
[02:28:00] Cloth masks are only designed for 1 to 5 microns
[02:28:39] Tony’s intention for this podcast: reduce fear and protect the elderly
[02:29:20] What the average citizen should know – feeling vs. fear
[02:29:33] Dr. Preston thanks Tony for organizing the panel
[02:30:30] They key is to put energy towards protecting the vulnerable
[02:31:00] Dr. Erickson; Read and make up your own mind based on facts
[02:31:40] Dr. Roizen; Need to educate politicians about deaths of despair, open the economy
[02:32:30] Dr. Jensen; Life is a gift, take responsibility for your own health
[02:33:00] Get a second opinion, reduce fear, make rational decisions, restore our economy
[02:34:30] Tony’s closing comments
[02:34:50] Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself
[02:35:02] Honor those who put their lives on the line fo us
[02:35:26] Thank you to the doctors who are bringing new information to light
[02:35:55] Tony’s wish is to protect the vulnerable and mitigate deaths of despair
[02:33:40] Pass this information on
[02:37:00] Human beings are resilient, we’ve been around 200,000 years!
[02:37:30] Life is meant to be lived!
[02:38:00] There’s a quality of life to be grateful for, even in the midst of challenge
[02:38:18] We want your feedback – please leave your comments


1. Dr. Michael Levitt, PhD

Nobel Prize – Chemistry; Professor of Structural Biology, Stanford 

Articles and Research:

2. Dr. Eran Bendavid, M.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Stanford University 

Articles and Research:

3. Dr. Michael Roizen, M.D.

Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus, Cleveland Clinic

Articles and Research:

4. Dr. Alan Preston, Sc.D

Former Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Texas A&M University

Articles and Research:

5. Senator Scott Jensen, M.D.

Family Physician; Senator (R-Minnesota)

Articles and Research:

6. Dr. Dan Erickson, M.D.

Co-owner of Accelerated Urgent Care (8 COVID-19 testing locations throughout Central and Southern CA)

Articles and Research:

7. Dr. Artin Massihi, M.D.

Co-owner of Accelerated Urgent Care (8 COVID-19 testing locations throughout Central and Southern CA)

Articles and Research:

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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