Update on Corona Virus from Dr Peter Van Houten

October 19, 2020

Update with Dr Peter Van Houten

Statistics – last update was 2 weeks ago

Overall, there are fewer symptomatic cases out of the total people who are tested with PCR nasal testing, compared to March/April time period. There may be some false positive tests and there may be testing happening on people who have already had the virus and no longer contagious.

Nevada County (100K pop) 581 cases/ up from 543, most in the western part of the county. 8 deaths. Case Fatality Rate 1.4% Case Positivity Rate in NC: 2.7% stable; 581 cases per 100K pop

95959 zip code (Ananda Village and portion of Nevada City): 51 cases / up from 45

Other Counties:

Sierra County (3100 pop): 6 cases, CPR <1%, no deaths, no new cases; 193 cases per 100K

Yuba County (80K pop): 1250 cases / up from 1200; CPR 4.6% up from 3.2%, 10 deaths; 1566 per 100K

Placer County (400K pop): 3900 cases / up from 3600; CPR 3.6%; deaths 52 / up from 49; 970 per 100K

California (40 mil pop): 2187 cases per 100K

875K cases / up from 833K

CPR: 5.1% falling from 5.4%; deaths 17K up from 16K,

Long Haulers: rough estimates that about 10% of cases may have long term effects and disabling symptoms over a long period of time. May have 90K people who become long haulers in California.

USA (330 mil pop): 8.4mil cases / up from 7.6mil; increasing to 50 – 75,000 new cases per day; deaths 225,000 up from 215K; 68 deaths per 100K pop; deaths per day approx 300 – 900 (has dropped a bit); CPR 6.7% dropped from 6.8%; 2500 cases per 100K

Worldwide: 40mil cases up from 36mil; deaths 1.2mil up from 1.1mil; 516 per 100K

Mexico (129 mil pop): 847K cases up from 760K; deaths 86K up from 79K (about 500 per day); CPR 39%; CFR 10.2% stable; not able to effectively test

India (1.3bil pop): 7.5 mil cases up from 6.6 mil; 60 – 70K new cases per day; deaths 114K up from 103K; deaths per day 500 – 1000 range; we may never get a full estimate; CPR 8% down from 8.4%, 545 per 100K

Looking at 2 of the hardest hits states in the US and comparing to other countries:

New York (20mil pop): 184 deaths per 100K *a true medical catastrophe

New Jersey (9mil pop): 172 deaths per 100K

compare to Belgium (11mil pop): 90 per 100K

and Bolivia (11mil pop): 72 deaths per 100K

Weekly Meeting with Public Health and Providers in Nevada County

Several weeks with no new outbreaks in nursing homes

Case Positive Rate: now in yellow zone (minimal)

County is in the Orange zone (moderate) right now and may be able to move to Yellow (minimal) if numbers keep going in the right direction. Yellow zone means more options.

Main mode of spreading Covid is through droplets, but it is clear that some cases are being spread by aerosal. Virus particles floating in the air. Being in closed, poorly ventilated spaces is problematic. Must keep at least 6 feet apart in those conditions.

Possible vaccine by the end of the year. Made available in tiers, with high exposure risk first (first responders and seniors) If vaccine offered in Jan or Feb, it wouldn’t be until summer before those who want it will have it. How long until we don’t have to wear masks? 9 – 12 months after people are immunized. Maybe middle of 2022? Things may look different by then.

People who have tested positive and get retested in less than 90 days, are not considered a new infection. If it is past 90 days, then it would be considered a reinfection. Recommend a viral culture at that time.

After testing positive – after 10 days without fever; no anti fever meds; and with improving symptoms, you are allowed to go back to work safely (without retesting).

Rapid Testing Abbott ID machine (which Dr Peter’s clinic will be getting soon): results are now seen as equal to an “in laboratory” test. They can start contact tracing immediately without waiting for a confirmed test that would take much longer. Better sensitivity. Some false positives. Best for people who are symptomatic and not “peace of mind” testing.

Antigen testing: still primarily being handed out to nursing homes for rapid testing. Some false positives.

From the MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Report for US) Arizona – when they had a big uptick in cases and responded with increased compliance of mask use, the case rates dramatically decreased. Used as an example of how masks are important.

There have been some cases of people getting Covid, who were wearing masks and some people are using this as data that says masks don’t work. But these were people with higher than normal exposure, such as health care workers. Self reports of wearing masks are also questionable. This is not evidence that masks do not work.

Schools in NC are doing well. Nevada Union now opening to limited in person instruction.

No cases of influenza yet in NC, but some cases in California. Good time now to get immunized.

More people getting flu shots this year. Many places doing free clinics.

CDC not recommending one vaccine over another. The “high dose” vaccine may have a better immune response for those 65 or older. Available at pharmacies. Good idea if you are exposed to public a lot, or high risk.

Oregon and Nevada getting hard hit by Covid and there is concern it will move over into California.

**Please stay home and don’t expose others if you have ANY symptoms of an infectious illness.**

Probably a good time to stock up a bit on consumable products, before the winter hits and possible uptick in cases.


One way to look at fatalities from Covid is to look at “excess deaths” which is a technique used to compare average baseline deaths during a time period in the past with the same time period in the current year. For example: March – July of 2020 there is 20% excess deaths (225,000) over previous years in that time frame. About 2/3 of those deaths could be directly attributed to Covid, and 1/3 may be unconfirmed cases or other reasons, such as people being fearful of going to the doctor during lockdown.

How many people in the US have already contracted Covid and are recovered? Serologic testing can show antibodies. One large study with 30,000 subjects (dialysis patients who have regular blood testing). This population is high vulnerability and have higher exposure than most people. Found less than 10% had antibodies. Not enough for herd immunity.

India: Right now they are at 60 – 70K new cases per day. A bit of improvement for that country.

Superspreaders: The Sars II Corona virus has an odd way of spreading that is different from influenza. It is not evenly spread, with each person infecting one or two others. Covid is spread in a much more concentrated fashion, with just a handful of people spreading the balance of the cases.

New study showed that just 8% of the cases caused 60% of new infections. Or 7 out of 10 cases were not linked to any transmission. The more even transmission is called “deterministic” and the more random distribution is called “stochastic”.

Another reason to wear a mask and protect others, in case you are one of those who can spread the disease to many others.

Remdesiver has been shown shorten hospital stays but not change mortality. 3 days of treatment is as effective as 5 days.

Regeneron antibody treatment (President received) has emergency approval by FDA. Trying to make widely available.

Perfect storm of conditions?

Covid: hard to know how it is going to go through the winter. Fewer deaths because we are getting better at treating. But may go up because people will be inside more.

Economics: Stimulus – may have repurcussions

About 60% have gone back to work, but the 40% that is left may never return to work or business.

Political: Division, controversy

Best not to get too caught up in the news.

Jyotish and Devi: They talk with Ananda India frequently. India statistics not reliable. They are doing well.

Q: N95 masks are hard to find and expensive. K95, made in China, are reasonable alternative?

A: These are needed for health care workers, dental offices, etc. The K95 are an alternative. A face covering, cloth or surgical masks, is what is important. The difference is not so critical if you are not in high risk situations.

Don’t use the ones with exhaust valves – that defeats the purpose of the masks.

Q: Is testing at 5 days helpful for shortening quarantine?

A: Good to pay attention to the time frames because testing is not perfect. If symptomatic, test now.

If quarantining after a trip and not symptomatic, day 5 and day 11 works well.

What You Can Do During the Spread of the Coronavirus — A Letter from Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi

A Letter to Ananda Sangha

Dear Friends,

We send our loving thoughts and prayers that you are finding strength and inner guidance to deal with the challenges that are facing us now with the spread of the coronavirus. In times like these, the greatest gifts from our Masters are the inner peace of meditation, their guidance about right attitudes, and their grace to protect us.

Yoganandaji said: “The world will always have turmoil and trouble. What are you worried about? Go where the Masters have gone, to the shelter of God, whence they are watching and helping the world. You shall have safety forever, not only for yourself, but for all those loved ones who have been entrusted to your care by our Lord and Father.”

We also want to let you know about all the things Ananda Worldwide is doing both to serve and protect our members.

What Ananda Is Doing

1. All of our temples, teaching centers, and meditation groups in the United States are now closed, as are The Expanding Light Retreat and the Ananda Meditation Retreat.

2. This is also true in Assisi, Italy, and in most of our centers in India.

3. We are offering all scheduled events such as Sunday services and classes online. We are also adding many new satsangs and offerings daily to support you and sharing a comprehensive list of events from around the world. Please check Ananda.org or the website in your local area.

4. We will be opening up a new online community, free of charge, to anyone interested in joining. Here you will be able to find daily inspirational and practical tips from our members around the world. Look for more information soon in your email or on Ananda.org.

5. On Thursday, March 26, Ananda will launch a worldwide campaign for global healing called “Be a Warrior for the Light.” Each Thursday from then on at 8:00 a.m. PDT, 4:00 p.m. in Italy, and 8:30 p.m. in India, there will be a shared 20-minute broadcast that includes an opening prayer, brief discourse, meditation, group affirmation, visualization, and closing prayer. It will be led by Ananda leaders from around the world.

6. Through our Virtual Community, we will be posting a selection of chants you can listen to during this time.

What You Can Do

1. Be informed about the nature of the spread of this virus, and take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones. We encourage you to watch a video with Dr. Peter Van Houten , in which he gives a thorough explanation of these points. He recommends such things as social distancing, “sheltering in place” if you are 65 or older, wearing gloves and masks in public if you have them, and canceling all nonessential local trips or travel. This disease is very easily spread, and the countries who have put strong sequestering in place have contained it.

2. Keep your meditation practice strong and keep to a regular schedule if possible.

3. Reach out remotely to support others in need, through phone calls, Skypes, etc. Swami Kriyananda once said, “The best thing to do in troubled times is to learn to love heroically.”

4. Join Ananda’s Healing Prayer Council and pray for others daily.

5. Pray for the world to find healing and unity.

6. Join us for our weekly worldwide prayer sessions mentioned above on Thursdays starting March 26. Here is the prayer/affirmation we will be using together. Practice it on your own as well:

  • God’s light is within me and around me. With the sword of faith in my hand, with the love of God in my heart, I am a warrior of light. I join my brothers and sisters everywhere to overcome fear with faith, hatred with love, and disease with health. Let us fill the world with God’s light.

7. Finally, deepen your connection with God and Guru. They are the source of our strength, and it is through their grace that humanity will go forward into a time of peace, harmony, well-being, and higher consciousness.

Many blessings to you in this challenging time. Our prayers are with you.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi

From Surendra and Ananda; How We Are Moving Ahead In This Time Of Change

Dear Gurubhais and Friends…

We want you to know how we, as a community and sangha, are addressing the coronavirus and its spectrum of issues and precautions. Included in this letter are the policies we are adhering to, services we are offering, and where you can access daily updates and information regarding this entire situation.

Two very helpful resources come from Ananda Village with Jyotish and Devi and Dr Peter Van Houten, M.D.:

Dr Peter video about the Corona Virus:  https://www.ananda.org/video/informative-talk-on-covid-19-with-dr-peter-van-houten/

Warriors of Light Video with Jyotish and Devi and Peter Van Houten, M.D.:https://www.ananda.org/video/facing-world-challenges-as-warriors-of-light/  

Online socializing – via cell phone, Skype, Zoom, Facetime or Google Hangouts – is what we are recommending for “getting together” in the days ahead. As you have probably heard by now, all group gatherings within the community have been cancelled until further notice, most likely for at least the next few weeks, and this includes community meals, group meditations, kirtans, and direct socializing other than with live-in family, caregivers, or other essential people in your life.

Likewise, the Ananda Portland Temple and Living Wisdom School are closed to all activity and classes. Sunday Service has been, and will continue to be, conducted via webcam and video-recording, available on the Ananda Portland website, YouTube, and in our sangha-wide enewsletter, which is sent to you via email every Monday morning. Please open this each week for other possible updates too.

By now you are surely familiar with the basics of proper hygiene to combat the spread of this virus, but beyond the basics are subtleties that are equally important to know about and implement. Once again, we want to emphasize the importance of listening to Dr. Peter’s daily updates.

With love and concern, we ask for your full cooperation in meeting the protective necessities that will keep this virus at bay. Reach out to us as you need to. Tune in to the countless postings of inspiration on Ananda.org and the websites of all Ananda colonies. Meditate. Pray. And above all, let this be a time of inward joy and gratitude for the countless blessings we share.

Affirmation for health:
“Heavenly Father, Thou art present in every atom, every cell, every corpuscle, every particle of nerve, brain, and tissue. I am well, for Thou art in all my body parts.”
—Paramhansa Yogananda

In divine friendship,

Surendra, Pavani, Vajra, Lorna, Rose, Hanuman, Mari, and Madhavi

Facing World Challenges as Warriors of Light

Watch this inspiring message by Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi, the spiritual directors of Ananda, and Dr. Peter Van Houten, MD, the medical director of Sierra Medical Family Clinic near Nevada City since 40 years, as they share the best practical and spiritual practices during the corona virus pandemic. Practice this powerful affirmation by Yogananda with Nayaswami Devi (from his book “Scientific Healing Affirmations”):

Ananda Portland and COVID-19

Dear friends,

In Autobiography of a Yogi it is said, “God is simple, everything else is complex.” The complexities of these times are certainly challenging! The reality of  COVID-19 is affecting every part of our lives and we must deal with it while also clinging to the deeper reality of God’s eternal presence.

It is our hope that we can slow the progress of this virus by following the guidelines being put forth by experts and limiting social contact and supporting efforts to keep everyone as safe as possible. Dr Peter Van Houten, along with the leadership team of Ananda Village and the leaders of all the Ananda colonies worldwide are taking steps to minimize interaction and continue serving their sanghas by utilizing online venues. Ananda Portland will do the same.

Ananda Portland Temple is closed to group events until it is clear that it is appropriate to resume a normal schedule.

All yoga classes, meditation classes, drop-in meditations and events are cancelled for the near future.

9 am Fire Ceremony and Purification will not be done until further notice.

10 am Sunday Services will be offered in abbreviated form via recording or live stream with no live audience in the temple.

Sunday, March 15 – service will be recorded and posted on our website and YouTube the Monday after as usual.
Sunday, March 22 and beyond – we hope to offer a live stream of service at 10 am so you can enjoy the inspiration from home.

Surendra and Lorna will continue to be available to answer questions and to support our spiritual family here in Portland in any way we can. Please feel free to call us at 503-626-3403. Our ministry team will be working together on a daily basis to keep you informed and we will be in daily contact with Ananda Village and the leaders of Ananda around the world. 

We encourage you to keep in touch with Ananda as your source of inspiration. Use the tremendous online resources that are found on Ananda.org and all of the colony websites, as well as the Ananda apps that are available, Radio Ananda and the books and materials you have at home.

Two things we would like to share:

A Corona Virus Update #1 article by Peter Van Houten, M.D.

A  Corona Virus Update #2 article by Peter Van Houten, M.D.   https://anandaportland.org/corona-virus-update-2-peter-van-houten-m-d/

In divine friendship and joy,
Surendra and Lorna for Ananda Portland


“I accept with calm impartiality whatever comes my way. Free in my heart, I am not conditioned by any outward circumstance.”

Meditation—for Real

Meditation Is Part of the Conversation

Today I had a conversation with two women about meditation, while we were at a mutual friend’s birthday party. It was not an Ananda gathering and even while enjoying the exchange, part of my mind was fascinated that meditation has become a mainstream conversation topic.

One woman expressed confusion and asked me to explain meditation to her; because every time she asks, the answer is different. She then shared her experience with a meditation class in which the teacher led students through a guided visualization technique that was relaxing, but unsatisfying.

She said, “I think I’m missing something, but I’m not sure what it is.”

Meditation Is Focused Concentration on the Divine

When I told her that Ananda teaches that meditation is focused concentration on God, or an aspect of God, her eyes lit up with interest. I felt that was enough encouragement to continue, so I offered the possibility that the visualization of walking through lovely imagined scenery was limited because it wasn’t real.

Spending time in a relaxed state thinking of nice things can be beneficial. If you are looking for lower blood pressure and escape from stress, it is a good practice. But there is a point where part of you realizes you are playing a nice game and the game only takes you so far.

But focusing on what is changeless and always true—the inner peace and calmness that is your true nature, and clearing away the debris so you can experience the highest within you—now that’s real.

Then, with deep feeling, she told me that what “works” for her is to repeat the 23rd Psalm: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.

She turned and asked her friend, “Do you feel that way? That God restores your soul?”

After considering, her friend agreed that when she took communion, she felt like that.

Everyone Experiences Meditation Differently

I felt their sincerity and their longing, and I affirmed, “That’s because it is real.” The Psalm is inherently true, but it also has truth and meaning on a personal level, so it “works” to take her to a place of deep stillness and expanded awareness, just as communion does for her friend. After some more friendly discussion, I was asked to come teach meditation to their service group.

If you ask twenty people, “What is meditation?” you will most likely get a variety of answers, as this woman did. Even if you ask different people within Ananda, the answer will vary somewhat, depending on a variety of factors. But always, Ananda techniques of meditation are for discovering, experiencing, and living the truth of your own highest nature.

I’ve struggled with many wrong ideas about meditation over the years. I have been concerned about what a model devotee should do, or anxious for immediate signs of sainthood. I’ve been worried about pleasing others, guilty of feeling guilty when I didn’t meet my goals, or painfully embarrassed when comparing myself to every meditator I know. I could write a book on “101 ways to try to get yourself to meditate more.”

Despite all the wrong thinking and the failed attempts to find a shortcut to sainthood, I keep coming back to meditating, because it puts me in touch with the only thing that is always true every time I sit down in the silence. In that silence, I know what is real.

I encourage you to try it. Try meditating, for real.

You Can Change Your Life by Changing Your Magnetism

I Used to Mentally Label Magnetism as “woo-woo”

Grounded, practical, real—these are words I would be inclined to use to describe myself and those spiritual teachings that I am attracted to. Magnetism, or some strange spiritual power of attraction, didn’t fit my down-to-earth mentality and therefore was condemned to the woo-woo category.

But luckily, my hasty judgements are often revoked and as I tried to live the practical teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, the truth about magnetism began to sink in.

What explained the circumstances, people, and opportunities that came to very particularly to me? The law of karma helped me to see how the whole system works in a harmonious and balanced way. But what was really going on when things happened in my life that didn’t happen to my neighbor, or my friends, or even those in my own family?

Why do some people obviously have more power and energy than others, and what was that amazing “something” that pulled me to want to spend time with Swami Kriyananda? He was loving and kind, of course, but that wasn’t enough to explain the powerful pull on my consciousness when I was near him.

Magnetism! It’s not magical or woo-woo, it’s actually a very scientific and grounded concept.

Science and yoga tell us that everything is energy and energy vibrates.

And, if everything in this physical reality is energy, and energy is always moving, something must happen when all that energy tries to move and go somewhere.

Where does it go and why does it go there? Some energy is attracted to me and my life—some energy never seems to show up in my life. So some kinds of energy are drawn to me and some kinds of energy are repulsed, or at least, not drawn to me.

Wow! Could I change my magnetism and could that change my life?

We are offering a 4-class series, to explore these truths about magnetism, and delve more deeply into these concepts. Our guide will be the new book from Crystal Clarity by Naidhruva Rush, Change Your Magnetism and Change Your Life.

One Lesson in the Story of Jesus

I was once a part of a team writing spiritual curriculum for children and had the fascinating assignment of writing the story for the Easter lesson. It was fascinating and challenging because I was asked notto refer to the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. This group took a more scholarly approach to the life of Christ and did not believe in the resurrection.

My first thought was, what is the point of Easter if it is not about the resurrection? If there is no triumph over death or joyful celebration of the eternal reality of Spirit, why bother? I even considered saying no, but as a disciple of Yogananda I knew there was a deeper purpose at work and perhaps I was being asked to look more closely.

Jesus was born into the depths of Kali Yuga, the darkest hours in the cycles of time. Think of the consciousness that was present to even allow crucifixions to happen to anyone. It was not an extraordinary form of execution reserved for Self-Realized masters. It was common practice.

Jesus came to change that consciousness and to make a lasting impression—he had a great mission. So he gave the most material, graphic, outward demonstration of the power of divine truth over fear, hatred, and unspeakable suffering.

He was nailed to a cross and his body died in front of witnesses. He then created a new body and dramatically showed up alive again; a walking testimonial of God’s power and personal love. It made an impression—we are still talking about it. Some of us are celebrating. I am thrilled to my very core every time I hear the words: He is risen!

Another Self-realized master was born 2000 years later, at a time when mankind was awakening to more subtle spiritual truths. He was able to use different tactics to teach those who were ready to hear.

Paramhansa Yogananda said that resurrection is more than the physical death and rebirth of the material body. Another way to look at resurrection, Yogananda explained, is relaxation away from our identification with the body and an increased awareness of our reality as Spirit, or Christ Consciousness. He said that resurrection can be any beneficial or uplifting change.

Swami Kriyananda explained that if we understand the lesson of the cross is the resurrection, then that means, for us, the lesson of every test we go through is resurrection from that test to a higher level.

Every day we can resurrect ourselves and come closer to understanding our true nature. Every mistake and every triumph can be a resurrection and renewal, a step toward the complete freedom that Christ and Yogananda have.

Truth exists on every level of reality, so of course Jesus could resurrect his body after being crucified, and of course, there is much more for us to understand than one empty tomb.

Jesus taught the subtle truths that Yogananda did, but not many were ready for that level of understanding. Now we can dive more deeply into the hidden lessons behind the resurrection and celebrate the eternal truth of Christ’s life and his infinite consciousness.

I want to tell my scholarly friends that when you peel back the layers of an avatar’s life, you find more truth, not less.

Therefore, pass this Easter, at least a few hours of it, in lifting your consciousness from the domain of matter into the vastness of the Silence within your own temple and commune with the risen Christ there. Rise above the body consciousness. Resurrect yourself from the tomb of ignorance. Sit on the throne of Christ Consciousness and say in Realization: ‘I and my Father are One.’ —Paramhansa Yogananda, April 1933

Kissing the Face of God

Blessings of the Christ-Consciousness this Holiday Season

This image by artist Morgan Weistling is titled, “Kissing the Face of God”. I first saw it on a boxed set of Christmas cards my husband brought home, and we were both captured by the tangible sense of human and divine love the artist conveyed.

The artist has said that the thought of Mary loving and cuddling Jesus as a little baby was so inspiring that he was “propelled” into the painting, which took only three days to complete.

In India it is common to see images of Krishna as a baby and as a young child; stories of his childhood are favorites with people of all ages. The childhood of Jesus was “lost” in antiquity, so in the West we have only Christ’s birth, the nativity story, in which we see God as a newborn baby, needing care and comfort as all babies do.

A child can awaken the human heart and propel us into compassion, joyful willingness, and boundless, loving concern-all in an instant. Our hearts are so often closed; the human experience can be so painful and impossibly hard.

Yogananda said that God is sitting right there in our heart!

But he can’t do anything for us until we open to his presence.

Envision God as a child you can love and cuddle in your arms and devotion will bubble to the surface and soften the hardest, coldest places you didn’t even realize were there, keeping God away.

My daughter has a realistic baby doll named Benjamin, who has had the honor of playing the role of baby Jesus in the Ananda nativity service for about 10 years now. We hope he will be asked to perform again this Christmas Eve. His face is sweet and his eyes are clear and bright.

Every young lady who has played the role of Mary in the service has said it was a surprisingly powerful experience to look into those eyes and pretend they held the real Christ child.

Heavenly Father, Divine Mother, Friend, Beloved, God: that is the way we say our prayers at Ananda. These are roles that God can play in our life, ways we can relate to an infinite consciousness in a personal way.

Who can be more beloved than a baby? Try playing a part in the nativity story this Christmas, in the privacy of your thoughts and meditation. Hold God in your arms and look into the eyes of love. Give yourself to God as you would a child–with joyful willingness. Celebrate Christmas with the Christ Child and kiss the face of God.

Have a Merry, Blessed Christmas.