Flat White

Take control of Covid the easy way

16 January 2022

4:00 AM

16 January 2022

4:00 AM

Remember the chilling lines from T. S. Eliot’s Choruses from The Rock?

They constantly try to escape
From the darkness outside and within
By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.

This seems to be the strategy taken by the authorities and experts who are meant to lead us out of the pandemic. They wish to herd society in such a way that we, the people, would only need to surrender our free will, suspend our scepticism, and secede from humanity so that all will be taken care of.

Except their system is far from perfect. The data shows that the authority’s holy trinity of lockdowns, masks, and even vaccines unfortunately do not work as well as advertised. Multiple studies examining more than 100 countries found that lockdown severity is not associated with disease mortality rates. The latest randomised controlled studies on masking showed that it has virtually no effect. Even the vaccines are not as effective and long-lasting as promised.

The Omicron strain is scores of times more transmissible than Delta and is sweeping across the world at break-neck speed – bypassing vaccinations. Despite this, health experts can offer nothing else other than to repeat ‘lockdown, vaccination, and masks’ leaving much to be desired about their pandemic management.

We have known for a long time that the virus largely kills the infirm. An extensive study of well over 500,000 adults hospitalised with Covid in America found that almost 90 per cent of these cases had at least two underlying medical conditions (48 per cent had more than six underlying conditions). Another study found that 63.5 per cent of more than 900,000 Covid-related hospitalisations were attributable to diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart failure. So why, two years into the pandemic, have none of the authorities made recommendations about cardiovascular health or obesity? Instead, they continue to push mandates that will increase these underlying health problems. A study has shown that in America, people have gained weight at a rate of 0.27 kg every ten days during lockdowns.

Likewise with vitamin D. It was in November 2020 that this writer wrote a blog piece on the evidence of vitamin D being protective against Covid. Indeed, an expert commentary published as early as August 2020 in the prestigious The Lancet suggested that society would do well ‘to enthusiastically promote efforts to achieve reference nutrient intakes of vitamin D, […] there is nothing to lose from their implementation, and potentially much to gain’.

A systemic review published in December 2021 looked at 54 studies involving 1.4 million individuals and found that deficient and insufficient vitamin D levels were significantly associated with higher risks of Covid infection, hospitalisation, ICU admission and mortality.

More than a year after The Lancet commentary, with a small mountain of peer-reviewed scientific studies showing the significant link between vitamin D and Covid, there still hasn’t been a single recommendation for ensuring adequate vitamin D levels from any of the institutions that are supposed to look after our health.

This is not surprising to those who have been paying attention to their behaviour over the past two years. The myopic and neurotic fixation on lockdowns, masks, and vaccines has been done to the cost of everything else, revealing an obvious but underappreciated truth – that the so-called experts, as the late Christopher Hitchens liked to remind us, are ‘mere mammals’ too.

But cheer up, dear reader! There are plenty of silver linings. The latest research suggests that Omicron is only a fraction as dangerous as Delta. Getting infected by the milder strain has been shown to increase immunity against Delta by four-fold. Nevertheless, there are risks associated with even this gentler version of Covid, but adequate vitamin D levels and exercise may be two easy ways to vastly reduce the already waning risks.

What might not be obvious is that a large proportion of people are vitamin D deficient. Even in sunny Australia, it is estimated that more than a third of adults are deficient in the winter months. A 2011 US study found that 41.6 per cent of adults surveyed had deficient vitamin D levels, which were especially low in those with darker skin tones such as POC (82.1 per cent) and Hispanics (69.2 per cent). Sunlight is free and supplements are cheap, while Vitamin D supplementation remains very safe.

If you choose the great outdoors, you might as well do some exercise. A Korean study found that adequate exercise reduced mortality risk from Covid by over 80 per cent, which is almost as effective as the vaccines. And don’t forget that the side effects of adequate vitamin D and exercise may include better mental health, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of dementia, and maybe even that beach body.

A great lesson of the pandemic is that it is unwise to surrender our responsibilities for ourselves to people who do not even know us, let alone care about us. As quipped by William F. Buckley, one should ‘rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the telephone directory than by the Harvard University faculty.’

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