Covid-19, worrying developments

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably reached a point where you’d like to forget about Covid-19 altogether, so sorry, but these developments could be important.

As always, my source is Dr John Campbell. You can find his latest Youtube video here. The three things that worry me from this video concern:

  • the implications of skin colour
  • the new inflammatory syndrome in children
  • the results of Germany’s cautious re-opening

Skin Colour

If you’ve watched Dr John’s videos before there’s a good chance that you’ve already heard his views on the role of vitamin D in possibly easing the severity of Covid-19. As people with darker skin produce vitamin D more slowly, he has been advocating that they be tested for vitamin D deficiency and prescribed supplements if necessary.

As someone with olive skin who was tested for vitamin D some years ago – and found to be deficient – I’ve made it a point to get out into the sunshine more. The connection to race though, that has made me feel a little uncomfortable. I hate racism in all its forms because I had a tiny taste of it as a kid in ‘White Australia’.

But…this statistical data from the UK is too stark to ignore:

The graph shows data that has been adjusted for socio economic factors and other risk factors that could skew the results. Despite this, the stats show that there is a continuum of increased risk based on skin colour. Basically, people of mixed race are just as likely to die of Covid-19 as the control group, which is white people.

From there, however, the likelihood of dying increases as skin colour darkens. People with black skin colour are shown to be twice as likely to die of Covid-19 as white people. And this is the graph that has been adjusted for other, known risk factors.

There may be some other, unknown risk factor at work, but if there is the slightest chance that skin colour, and hence vitamin D production is involved, then taking vitamin D could save lives.

There has been well documented research done on vitamin D and the effect it may have on protecting cells from viruses:

‘Vitamin D has long been recognized as essential to the skeletal system. Newer evidence suggests that it also plays a major role regulating the immune system, perhaps including immune responses to viral infection. Interventional and observational epidemiological studies provide evidence that vitamin D deficiency may confer increased risk of influenza and respiratory tract infection.’

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308600/

There is also a lot of research that shows the health impacts that result from a lack of various other vitamins. The following are just a few of the best known ones:

Vitamin K

‘Vitamin K deficiency in adults is rare but does occur in infants. The main symptom of a vitamin K deficiency is excessive bleeding caused by an inability to form blood clots.’

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320394

Vitamin C

Scurvy is a disease resulting from a lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid).’

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scurvy

Vitamin A

‘The major cause of blindness in children worldwide is xerophthalmia caused by vitamin A deficiency.’

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10643184/

I’m no expert on nutrition and vitamins, but it seems clear to me that vitamin D may save the lives of those most at risk. If that’s true, it must be acknowledged and used.

Inflammatory syndrome in children

So far, this new syndrome is quite rare – about 20 cases in the UK and 64 in the US – but it has been associated with Covid-19 so parents should be aware of it. The screenshot below was taken from Dr John’s video:

No one knows exactly what connection this new syndrome has to Covid-19, but any connection is worrying.

The syndrome has been named: Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome.

Re-opening in Germany

As Australia is also looking to cautiously ease the lockdown that’s protected us so well, I found the results from Germany less heartening than Dr John. The statistics shown are for only the first ten days since the lockdown in Germany was officially eased:

Even if every German citizen immediately raced out and kissed everyone they met, the incubation period for Covid-19 is between 2 and 9 days, give or take. As such, the numbers of new cases are not likely to rise exponentially for a week or two yet. In other words, I don’t think we’ve seen the true effect of the easing in Germany. Not yet.

I may be overly pessimistic, but I’m seriously scared that money, and human impatience, will give rise to a second wave of the virus, a second wave that will be significantly worse than the first.

During the Spanish Flu pandemic, the second wave was caused by a mutation in the original virus that made it much more virulent:

‘Reported cases of Spanish flu dropped off over the summer of 1918, and there was hope at the beginning of August that the virus had run its course. In retrospect, it was only the calm before the storm. Somewhere in Europe, a mutated strain of the Spanish flu virus had emerged that had the power to kill a perfectly healthy young man or woman within 24 hours of showing the first signs of infection.’

https://www.history.com/news/spanish-flu-second-wave-resurgence

The Covid-19 virus does not appear to be mutating yet, but the more people that are infected, the greater the likelihood that one of them will host a mutated version of the virus.

Scientists all over the world are trying to develop a vaccine that will stop the spread of Covid-19, but they’re not there yet. They need more time.

I believe it’s up to us, and our governments, to do everything in our power to slow the spread of this virus. Not just to reduce the number of people dying from it, but also to reduce the chance that it will mutate. If the Spanish Flu is anything to go by, that mutation will not be benign.

I truly hate to be a Cassandra, but I’m really scared that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Stay well,
Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

36 responses to “Covid-19, worrying developments

  • Paediatric Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and young adults | Meeka's Mind

    […] alerted us to this new, serious condition in children back in early May, and I mentioned it in this post. The condition was named ‘Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome’ and parents […]

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  • CarolCooks2

    Yes the infection rates are lower here in Thailand but where I live people are much more responsible about social distancing, masks.. There are no buses, trains or planes… Few shops are open and temperatures are taken and no one is allowed in without a mask.. Also relaxing the curfews etc is being treated with great caution. When I see news on people flouting lockdowns it makes me fearful I feel far safer here than I feel about my family in other countries.. I am scared for them.. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      I’ve read that the mask wearing is really working in Thailand, but also in Austria and other South East Asian countries that experienced the SARS outbreak.
      I fear the easing of restrictions here in Australia is going to send our infection rates soaring coz no one’s talking about mandating masks at all. :/

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      • CarolCooks2

        While masks don’t stop infection they do offer some protection particularly if everyone wears them… I hope that no one suffers a second wave of infections it would be a disaster x

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          Exactly right. If everyone were to wear masks, those who are already infected would be much less likely to infect others. Sadly I think that in the West, getting everyone to wear a mask in public would be like herding cats.

          Liked by 1 person

          • CarolCooks2

            Sadly Mekka it appears that is true so short sighted and dangerous some protection is better than none. My nephew said that my brother in law refused to wear a mask while he was driving nurses backwards and forwards to work which was admirable ..however neither the bus company or the nurses told him you cannot drive if you don’t wear a mask and gloves he has now paid with his life…I rest my case talk about the blind leading the blind….Stay safe xx

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            OMG…Carol. I don’t know what to say. That’s awful. Why oh why won’t our govts bite the bullet and do something that would actually save lives? Esp. now that every country is looking to ease restrictions?
            Gah, sorry, that was a rhetorical. I’m so sorry your brother-in-law lost his life helping others save lives. I truly wish they could have saved his. -hugs-

            Liked by 1 person

          • CarolCooks2

            So do I, Meeka thank you for the hugs …But to me it could have been preventable why don’t people listen and why don’t the government make it crystal clear? I am so angry and scared for my family in the Uk…xxx

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            The mixed messages seem to be all over the English speaking world. Except for New Zealand. They got it right from the start.
            There’s a part of me that wonders whether Boris’ vision of ‘herd immunity’ isn’t still playing in the background. Not just in the UK, but in Australia and the US as well. If ordinary people like us can figure out that universal mask wearing would stop the virus, how is it that the so-called health and science officers haven’t got the memo?
            Sorry, I’ll take my conspiracy theorist hat off now. I hope your family are well and doing everything possible to stay that way. :/

            Liked by 1 person

          • CarolCooks2

            We are and they are however here unless you wan to stay home permanently mask wearing is mandatory as is observing the curfews…We are told just do it! End of and in this case I agree! The people who argued at the airport about 14 days isolation and just left were given 12 hrs to conform and come back or be punished… the airports were then closed and as of yet not open…The motto here is do as you are told…Enough of COVID-19 now it is invading every thought…Be well and stay safe Hugs xx

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            I think Thailand has the right attitude. Take care of yourself. πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

  • Widdershins

    I can’t remember now if John said, ‘biological’ or ‘physical’. but we both chortled gleefully when he leaned in close to the camera and whispered the word. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  • Scottie

    Hello Meeka. grand post. I just want to add that there is a second strain now of the virus and it is much more virulent and dangerous. Plus it seems those that had it before can be reinfected with the new strain. We in the US are going to have the first and second wave happening at the same time as the country is so large. The places just starting to get hit hard are going through the first wave while the places opening up far too early are going to get hit with a worse second wave. The hospital where my husband works is not opening up elective procedures even though they really need the revenue because they fear the second wave will be worse and they will again have to shut everything down to care for overwhelming VD19 patients. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  • Mick Canning

    Yes, money and impatience. Possibly a lethal combination.

    Liked by 1 person

  • K Morris Poet

    I understand and, to some extent share your worries. However, given that a number of scientists have expressed scepticism that we will find a vaccine (or at least in the near future), we can’t, quite obviously continue with lockdowns indefinitely. Therefore there is no alternative to easing lockdowns. Also I think research needs to be carried out not just on the virus (which is, of course vitally important), but also on the impact lockdowns have had on the mental and physical health of those subjected to them. We need money to sustain national health and welfare systems and lockdowns impact on economic activity meaning that there is less money for these vital services. Of course having lots of people ill or dieing of COVID also has an economic impact and one has to possess the wisdom of Solomon to balance the 2. Best, Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      You make good points, Keven; if a viable vaccine is still 12 to 18 months away, then clearly we have to do something in the interim. I guess my problem is that I don’t see any English speaking government learning real lessons from other countries.

      For example, here in Australia we’ve been told that there’s a three stage plan to come out of lockdown, but only in Victoria [my state] is community-wide testing being carried out. Only by doing this kind of far reaching testing can the authorities work out exactly how widespread asymptomatic infections are in the community. Without that, they’re working blind.

      Another thing that hasn’t been done is to mandate the wearing of masks in public and on all public transport. In countries that have done this, even relatively poor countries like Thailand, both the number of cases and the case fatality rate are extraordinarily low.

      Masks don’t stop you getting the virus, but they do stop infected people from /spreading/ it.
      Yes, lockdowns probably do need to be eased, but we’re not going about it the right way. It seems that most English speaking governments are only paying lip service to ‘protecting the vulnerable’. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • K Morris Poet

        Your point on masks is interesting. What would you regard as “public”? You mention public transport and I guess you also mean shops. Would an office be classified as a public place? I suspect not as most offices are private. There is also the problem of people wearing masks not only on public transport, in shops but (if also in offices) they would need to take them off for drinking, eating etc, plus (in hot weather) they would, I assume be a nightmare to wear.

        I can see (possibly) the logic for wearing masks on public transport, but not in parks and other outdoor places. There is, I understand evidence that outside is, in general much safer than indoors and I really can’t see the utility of wearing a mask when going for a walk in the forest or other similar place and, being honest the libertarian in me baulks at the idea of mandating masks (although, given the current exceptional circumstances I can see their utility in limited circumstances).

        On the vaccine, some scientists have said that (as with the common cold) we may never find a vaccine. I sincerely hope that they are wrong and that we do. But, if they are right then we can only hope that, over time the population builds up a certain degree of emmunity to the virus.

        Best, Kevin

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          Initially, masks were discouraged, at least in Western countries because it was felt that they would not be capable of filtering out very small virus particles. But then they did a bit of lateral thinking and realised that if everyone wore a mask, infected droplets would be trapped inside the mask instead of spreading out and infecting others. Plus I believe that there were no masks to be had so ordinary people were not encouraged to demand them.

          A lot of Asian countries are used to wearing face masks and/or have already experienced SARS etc so they have no problem with wearing masks. Their infection rates are low in comparison to most Western countries. Even a relatively poor country like Thailand has a low infection rate, at least partly because of face masks.

          The virus seems to spread best in stuffy, confined spaces, and I wonder if large, airconditioned buildings are also a risk factor. Recirculated air could aerosolize the virus droplets so the question would be – are the filters on those airconditioning units good enough to filter out virus particles of that size?
          I don’t know. Personally, I intend to stay away from shopping malls and office buildings.
          In the longer term, vaccines are effective because a) they protect the individual and b) they provide almost instant herd immunity to a population by starving the virus of new ‘victims’. What happens if we don’t get a viable vaccine? The global population would acquired herd immunity eventually, but can you imagine years of this? I can’t. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

  • Matthew Wright

    I think you’re quite right: this is only the beginning of the pandemic problem. The 1918 experience is salutary – it was the second wave that did much of the damage. Right now, we’re in Wave 1 of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Here in NZ we’re easing up on lockdown, but I believe government is keeping a very wary eye on case numbers and causes. It’s surprised me that a lot of people here, including the Leader of the Opposition, seem not to understand the issues that follow from the lags associated with the virus – there were calls to stop lockdown as soon as the numbers fell.

    The Vitamin D link is interesting and seems to warrant further investigation. My GP told me, some years ago, that most people don’t get enough ordinarily anyway. And as for Covid-19, we’re on the very beginning of a learning curve; it’s already sprung us some curve balls and I bet there will be more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      Yes! I’m totally baffled at the apparent ignorance of a lot of politicians. Don’t they get briefings? As you say, they seem to be completely unaware of the lag time between easing up and getting the results. And then, of course, there are questions about the validity of those results. If only people with symptoms are tested then the decision makers are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile, asymptomatic people are quietly spreading the virus all over the place.
      In many ways, I’m more worried now than I was at the start of this pandemic. Let’s pray that we don’t make the same mistakes as in 1918.

      Like

  • D. Wallace Peach

    I’ve been taking my vitamins, Andrea! It may not help, but it can’t hurt, right? This virus seems to be getting worse with each new report. We are in this for a long time, and things will be the same when we come through the other side of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Good! We’re taking ours too. As you say, it can’t hurt. I guess we just hunker down and wait. Even extreme boredom is better than being dead.
      That’s one good thing about being writers, we can escape inside our own heads. Stay well my friend. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  • robertawrites235681907

    I share your concern that we “ain’t seen nothing yet,” Meeks. It is scary and I am happy to work from home. I know lots of people can’t work from home and have run out of money and that is the conundrum. I also know that governments are running out of money due to greatly reduced tax revenue. That will impact state pensions and people receiving benefits going forward. The “salary” reductions will have to be extended throughout the economy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Yeah, that’s the awful flip side to all this. Here in Australia, the young have been more or less ignored because they were part of the GIG economy and not ‘full time with any employer for 12 months’. They get some welfare, but it’s less than mostly older generations who are/were in permanent jobs. When the only choice is between infecting a total stranger or being homeless and hungry, how many people are going to let themselves starve?
      -sigh-

      Like

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    We have NOT seen the second, third… waves of the pandemic.

    And the second wave in 1918 was ALSO due to the dropping of precautions. Basically, people have the attention span of a fruit fly.

    Until there is a well-tested vaccine, I’m sure I’ve had it, it covers mutations, and it’s had time to become effective, I’ll be in lockdown. Because husband and I are on the tail end of the whip, and we know it.

    The main problem is that lag – behavior’s consequences take weeks to show up, by which point it’s already too late to reinstate the precautions effectively.

    I think some of the older residents here are losing heart – what they had left was a social life, and it’s been destroyed. I think it’s going to affect their will to live, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    • acflory

      lol – don’t be mean to fruit flies!

      Jokes aside, you’re right about the residents in assisted living or care homes. I wish I could reach out to every over 60 and teach them how to use the internet, really use it. My students from last year – ranging in age from early 70’s to 92+ are coping really well because they have an escape route. As do we.
      Given the awful statistics about deaths in care homes, I just don’t see what anyone can do. It’s lose-lose. :/

      Like

  • Covid-19, worrying developments β€” Meeka’s Mind – Health Matters

    […] Covid-19, worrying developments β€” Meeka’s Mind […]

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