Global Analysis from the European Perspective. Preparing for the world of tomorrow




Social distancing or vitamin D?

Guest author: Koert van Rijn

It’s a vicious virus that is going around, with a mortality rate of about five times that caused by the flu. Most nations looked away initially, but were faced with reality when it hit them in the stomach. Almost every country waited till the hospitals had filled up and then totally panicked. The fear of the virus was wrongly increased by the WHO’s speculation of a 3.4% mortality rate, and Neil Ferguson, who conjectured about half a million deaths in England alone. A big blunder, but the fear was created and remained stuck even when the data were reassuring.

They had to do something, but what? There was a paper-thin theory that social distancing may stop this kind of influenza from spreading. If it works with the flu, why not with Corona? An ever increasing number of countries implemented this idea and they imposed a strict lockdown. Lo and behold, the infection rate has diminished. Three times hooray to all the leaders for their bold approach.

Unfortunately, there is increasing evidence that it’s not a 1.5-m distance that was the cause of the positive result. A comparison of the countries with a strict and not so strict lockdown show that the difference in deaths or infection cases is but slight.1)The end of exponential growth: The decline in the spread of coronavirus, The Times of Israel 2020-04.This is logical if you look at the information that is now available about the mode of transmission of the virus. On the one hand, there seems to be many superspread events.2)A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead, Los Angeles Times 2020-03-29.There are many well-described events in which an infected person has transmitted the virus on in a church or hall full of people, if the conditions were conducive. That is to say, low-humidity, low ventilation, with the affected person speaking or singing.3)Latitudinal Variations in Seasonal Activity of Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): A Global Comparative Review, Plos One 2013-02-14.

Furthermore, research has shown that in German households with one virus carrier only 18-44% of the members have become infected.4)Infection fatality rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a German community with a super-spreading event.No doubt, household members keep a shorter distance than 1.5 m. Why have they not all been infected? Research has also shown that there is barely if any form of outdoor corona infection, no matter how big the get-together has been.5)Indoor transmission of SARS-CoV-2, medRxiv 2020-01-11.This means that the virus being extremely airborne is also easily blown away. Security can thus be improved by the avoidance of large gatherings held in poorly ventilated areas that are shut off from the outside world. The 1.5-m distance is no cure.

The Rain Dance has probably been created because the Indians, in their despair and longing for rain, tried all sorts of things. It may have happened that it started to rain after a wild dance. Such a coincidence might have started the custom, the belief, that became fossilized in the Indians’ religion. Yet, correlation does not always mean causation. Similar to this, there is this strong belief that a 1.5-m distance will save the day in spite of the increasing scientific evidence to the contrary, and despite the growing confirmation of economic harm.

Because people seem to cling to social distancing like a drowning man catching at a straw, no new information seems to be arriving. The relationship between low levels of vitamin D in blood, and poor outcome after infection are compelling.6)Vitamin D Determines Severity in COVID-19: Researchers Urge Government to Change Advice, SciTechDaily 2020-05-13; Vitamin D deficiency in India, ncbi 2018; Vitamin D Insufficiency is Prevalent in Severe COVID-19, medRxiv 2020-01-11; Evidence Supports a Causal Model for Vitamin D in COVID-19 Outcomes, medRxiv 2020-01-11; 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations Are Lower in Patients with Positive PCR for SARS-CoV-2, MDPI 2020-05-06; 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations Are Lower in Patients with Positive PCR for SARS-CoV-2, MDPI 2020-05-06, Nutra 2010-03-31.I would venture to say that if at the beginning of March supplementing with vitamin D had been started, the number of deaths would have been cut in half or more. (Unless there is a huge confounding effect. I don’t want to make the same mistake as the leaders and their biased belief in social distancing)

There is also very strong evidence that hydroxychloroquine with zinc administered at the beginning of the infection can prevent its development.7)Can Zinc Correction in SARS-CoV-2 Patients Improve Treatment Outcomes? Preprints 2020-04-07; Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin plus zinc vs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin alone: outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, PDF; Does zinc supplementation enhance the clinical efficacy of chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine to win today’s battle against COVID-19? ScienceDirect 2020-09.Why are these cheap and safe approaches not implemented everywhere? Why abide by this lockdown with trepidation and desperate hope for a vaccine? The corona virus is like a large, lumbering bear which will be visiting us again the coming winter. The bear can luckily only run about 5 miles per hour. The only thing you need to do is improve your health by supplementing your diet with vitamin D, which will enable you to outrun him. A low-cost, antibear repellent, hydroxychloroquine, will mostly also do the trick. As it is, people are locked up, getting not enough vitamin D, and getting out of shape. They will be doomed, when Winter is Coming.

The smart thing to do now is to build up resistance by eating wholesome food, and going outside into the sun, by protecting the weaker members of society, by providing extra vitamin D, by making sure there is good ventilation with a good virus filter. Clubs can re-open, especially for young people, who are safe anyway. For older or fragile people it is safe to go to shows and concerts so long as there is proper vertical ventilation and good humidifiers. Wearing a mask in public transport can be considered, but please don’t be like the Chinese: wear a cool one from Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren. That’s the way we can re-open society in a European stylish way and we can start living again.

References   [ + ]

1. The end of exponential growth: The decline in the spread of coronavirus, The Times of Israel 2020-04.
2. A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead, Los Angeles Times 2020-03-29.
3. Latitudinal Variations in Seasonal Activity of Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): A Global Comparative Review, Plos One 2013-02-14.
4. Infection fatality rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a German community with a super-spreading event.
5. Indoor transmission of SARS-CoV-2, medRxiv 2020-01-11.
6. Vitamin D Determines Severity in COVID-19: Researchers Urge Government to Change Advice, SciTechDaily 2020-05-13; Vitamin D deficiency in India, ncbi 2018; Vitamin D Insufficiency is Prevalent in Severe COVID-19, medRxiv 2020-01-11; Evidence Supports a Causal Model for Vitamin D in COVID-19 Outcomes, medRxiv 2020-01-11; 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations Are Lower in Patients with Positive PCR for SARS-CoV-2, MDPI 2020-05-06; 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations Are Lower in Patients with Positive PCR for SARS-CoV-2, MDPI 2020-05-06, Nutra 2010-03-31.
7. Can Zinc Correction in SARS-CoV-2 Patients Improve Treatment Outcomes? Preprints 2020-04-07; Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin plus zinc vs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin alone: outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, PDF; Does zinc supplementation enhance the clinical efficacy of chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine to win today’s battle against COVID-19? ScienceDirect 2020-09.

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