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    • The premise of this study, which was published as an *editorial* and not peer reviewed by the Journal, is that countries in the Southern Hemisphere have fewer deaths from coronavirus. And that the cause for this is their greater exposure to natural sunlight. They recommend everyone take Vitamin D supplements as a result.

      What?!

      There are 32 countries in the Southern Hemisphere so I compared their number of deaths per million to the US current death rate of 183.

      My data source:


      1. Angola 0.06
      2. Argentina. 5
      3. Australia. 3
      4. Bolivia. 5
      5. Botswana. 0.4
      6. Burundi. 0.08
      7. Chili. 11
      8. Comoros. No data provided
      9. East Timor. No data provided
      10. Eswatini. 0.9
      11. Fiji. 0
      12. Lesotho. No data provided
      13. Madagascar. 0
      14. Malawi. 0.2
      15. Mauritius. 8
      16. Mozambique. 0
      17. Nauru. No data provided
      18. New Zealand. 4
      19. Papua New Guinea 🇵🇬. 0
      20. Paraguay. 1
      21. Peru. 26
      22. Rwanda. 0
      23. Samoa. No data provided
      24. Seychelles. 0
      25. Solomon Islands. No data provided
      26. South Africa. 2
      27. Tanzania. 0.3
      28. Tuvalu. No data provided
      29. Uruguay. 4
      30. Vanuatu. No data provided
      31. Zambia. 0.2
      32. Zimbabwe. 0.3

      For further comparison:
      Canada. 77
      Ireland. 235
      Italy. 458
      Spain. 519
      Sweden. 244
      UK. 384
      USA. 183

    • This is what happens when people who aren't infectious disease experts try to act like they understand how infectious disease works. Same can be said of Trump.

      What's sad (?) is that there are actually people out there who choose to listen to these people instead of actual healthcare experts.

    • Los Angeles will offer the testing to residents regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms. But those that are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms will take priority. Los Angeles accounts for almost half of the total coronavirus cases in California. 

    • The original conversation from January has become ridiculously slow in loading after 750+ posts. You can read those posts here.

      Our conversation continues here.

      Something is not right. As I mentioned elsewhere, there should be at least the option to change the sort order on page, if not make last updates be the topmost ones as default. That would do away with the huge delays loading that conversation. On the other hand, the first access page load should not take that long anyway since the site solely displays one page at a time either way. So why wait for all the invisible pages to "load", when they're not actually shown? Just my 0.2 cents..

    • when you open the conversation, click on the " new post" button and the page loads and shows the new posts, this is very fast for me?

    • Someone emailed me this today...

      and frankly, I am amused even though I perhaps I will be dead sooner than who knows when. Hahahaaa

    • To me, all those permit applications seem like a bureaucracy nightmare from the eastern bloc cold war era, when people were not legally allowed to even hold passports. Unless they were approved and/or sent by the communist party in "delegations" abroad. Maybe I misunderstand this, and am sorry for the young folks who have no idea how totalitarian societies are formed and operate. This is how.

      And maybe the specifics regionally speaking are way different across our worlds today, in that here there are no free lunches nor any health "care" per se, when time comes to die we better die, unless we are useful a as hen with golden eggs by the insurance companies.

      My point is, you can't make me obey things without seriously getting me onboard to the why's. And if you say it's for my own good, protecting me from myself, I beg to differ, I am able to take care of myself and keep six feet distance. I know not everyone can, heck many of my neighbors would hug each other nowadays, during daily walks. This is one big mess officials are struggling to grasp a hold on. But they lost hold on society long ago, and this may be the final straw.

    • Sometimes I don’t understand Elon Musk.

      He is knowledgable about rockets, commerce and engineering. As such he thinks he's generally knowledgable to opine on anything. As someone noticed: First rule of Dunning-Kruger Club is you don't know you're in the Dunning-Kruger Club.

    • I finally had time to read it all. Fantastic! One thing I probably knew at one time but forgot is breathing through your nose probably cuts your chance of contracting the virus by 80% ish, same as a cloth mask.

      As soon as I put on a mask, I revert to breathing through my mouth, thus negating the effectiveness of the mask. D’oh, gotta stop doing that.

    • Quite fascinating! Good detective work. Dunno what the testing is like in the Southern Hemisphere, but when we were in Costa Rica, the country seemed far ahead of the U.S. in its approach, but I imagine things are not good in places like Nicaragua and Guatemala.

      Here’s another fascinating study. It’s hard to believe vitamin D could have such a dramtic effect, but maybe. I have no idea what the mechanism would be.

    • Wow, those numbers, at first look, seem pretty impressive.

      I am surprised, many medical papers are not nearly that sharpely delineated. I see you are similarly impressed, if a bit sceptical too - @Chris I doubt it is really that easy, but who knows?

      So we shouldn't be seeing deeply tanned severely ill folks, then???

      Shouldn't be hard to do that survey in the ER pretty quickly then.

      I am more impressed by the original paper than the link posted above from a newspaper

    • Yeah, I’ve been following Vitamin D studies for awhile and it’s hard to untangle causation. People with underlying conditions typically don’t get out much so they don’t get much sun. Older people cover up and their bodies lose the ability to generate Vitamin D as they age. Those two demographics are the ones you’d expect to get more severe forms of Covid 19.

      Don’t get me wrong: I think everyone should know their vitamin D levels and most people should supplement. I just don’t know how much of what they’re seeing is a symptom of poor heath but not the cause

    • Correlation is not casusation, that's for certain

      From the paper, they neglected to mention the distinction between correlation and causation

      "This means that serum (OH)D level in the body could account for the clinical outcomes of the patients infected with Covid-2019. An increase in serum (OH)D level in the body could either improve clinical outcomes or mitigate worst (severe to critical) outcomes. On the other hand, a decrease in serum (OH)D level in the body could worsen clinical outcomes of Covid-2019 patients."

      Or as you mention, maybe patients were already ill and their Vit D levels were depressed due their other preceeding illnesses.

    • Dr. Fauci announced that a vaccine may be here by January.

      "It may all of a sudden have a safety signal," he said. "If it doesn't work, it doesn't protect people. I've been involved in vaccine work for decades. Not every vaccine we went after worked. That's an assumption that it's going to be safe, that it's going to be effective and we're going to be able to do it quickly. I think each of those are not only feasible, but maybe likely. That's what I mean when I say by January we'll do it. But I can't guarantee it."

    • I never know whether to laugh or break something after watching these. Thanks much for sharing.

      🙏

    • In a surprise move, the Malaysian government has just announced that starting Monday (4th May) the country will be under a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) which aims to slowly open up the economy while still maintaining safety measures to prevent any spike in COVID-19 cases. I say it's surprising because nobody was expecting it. Just two days ago the 4th phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO) begun and it was supposed to go on until the 12th of May. If a CMCO was to be implemented, we would've expected it to begin on the 13th, to give a chance for the MCO to reduce the spread of the disease even further. As it stands now, many people believe this CMCO is too soon and unnecessarily rushed.

      Under the CMCO, dine-in at restaurants will now be allowed, but restaurant operators are encouraged to minimise the number of tables available and only limit tables to 2 or 3 customers max. Non-contact sports and exercise is allowed, like jogging, cycling, golf etc, but no football, rugby, basketball or team sports involving a large number of people. Most businesses are allowed to operate, except for cinemas, theme parks, museums, places where large groups of people tend to gather. Many things which were banned previously though are still banned. No social events, no religious events, no conferences, no schools or universities will be opened yet, and no interstate travel (unless permitted).

      To be honest I'm a little concerned. Despite being under the MCO for 6 weeks we are still getting local transmissions of the disease. I feel like this CMCO is too soon. I hope that we won't get a new cluster in the coming weeks.

    • Another piece of advice from the President: Trump suggested today that Americans wash their hands with boiling water. When asked to comment, Dr. Birx said, “the President was just spitballing.”

    • Ireland has posted a road map to exit lockdown: Full article here

      TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has laid out a roadmap for a phased lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland this evening.

      This plan – which can be read in full here – lays out the staggered approach to lifting certain measures put in place by the government to slow down the spread of Covid-19. 

      It must be noted that the plan is tentative and will be kept under constant review. There is an ongoing possibility that restrictions could be re-imposed. 

      The document setting out the plan noted that, across the different categories, phases might kick in at different times – for instance, a ‘middle phase’ education measure might start earlier than a social/recreational measure from the same ‘middle phase’.

      This evening, Varadkar confirmed that current restrictions are to remain in place until 18 May. However, over 70s will now be allowed to leave their homes to exercise or drive within a 5km radius.

      Tuesday, 5 May

      From Tuesday, people will be allowed to travel up to 5km for the purposes of exercise. 

      “From Tuesday, it will be possible to go for a walk or a drive within five kilometres from your home if you avoid all contact with other people,” Varadkar said. 

      Phased reopening

      Starting on 18 May, the country will begin to re-open in five stages, three weeks apart. 

      Varadkar said that “all things going to plan”, the fifth stage will commence on 10 August. 

      Based on the three-week review process, the current phases would commence on the following dates: 

      Phase one – 18 MayPhase two – 8 JunePhase three – 29 JunePhase four – 20 JulyPhase five – 10 August

      Phase one – 18 May

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase one people should continue to avoid unnecessary journeys. 

      Other guidance includes: 

      Up to four people not of the same household may meet outdoors while maintaining strict social distancing. People should continue to avoid non-essential social visiting. Current restrictions on attendance at funerals to a maximum of 10 people should be continued. 

      In terms of education and childcare measures, schools and college buildings may open for access by teachers for organisation and distribution of remote learning.

      Looking at economic activity, the following is being advised on a risk-based approach: 

      A phased return of outdoor workers will be permitted (ie. construction workers and gardeners). Social distancing will be required. People who are in are position to work remotely will continue to do so.

      Guidance for retail services is as follows: 

      Open retail outlets that are primarily outdoor (eg. garden centres and hardware stores)Open retail outlets that were open in Tier 2 (ie, homeware, opticians, motor and bicycle repair)Retailers will be asked to develop a plan for safe operation and protection of staff and consumers. 

      In terms of social and cultural measures, some outdoor public amenities and tourism sites will reopen where people are non-stationary and social distancing can be applied. 

      Outdoor public sports amenities will be open where social distancing can be maintained. People will be permitted to engage in outdoor sporting or fitness activities in groups of up to four, where social distancing can be maintained. 

      Looking at health and social care services, there will be an increased delivery of non-Covid-19 care and services across phases one and two. A further breakdown of this can be found in the document

      Phase two – 8 June

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase two the restriction on movement from a person’s home will be increased to 20km but unnecessary journeys should still be avoided.

      Other guidance includes: 

      Visits to homes of over 70s and medically vulnerable by no more than a small number of people for a short period of time. People will have to wear gloves, face coverings and maintain social distancing. Up to four people may visit another household for a short period while maintaining strict social distancing. Slightly larger groups of people will be allowed to attend funerals. 

      Looking at economic activity, workers who can maintain working from home should continue to do so. Organisations will be asked to develop plans for a return to onsite working by employees in light of Covid-19. 

      Some of the plans for retail services include: 

      Small retail outlets can reopen with small numbers of staff on the basis that the retailer can control the number of individuals that staff and customers interact with at any given time. Marts can reopen where social distancing can be maintained. 

      In terms of cultural and social measures, public libraries with limited numbers can reopen. 

      People will be permitted to engage in outdoor sporting and fitness activities, involving small group team sports training (but no matches), where social distancing can be maintained. 

      Phase three – 29 June

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase three people should maintain restriction to within 20km of their home and to continue to avoid unnecessary journeys. 

      In terms of education and childcare measures, creches, childminders and pre-schools for children of essential workers will reopen in a phased manner with social distancing and other requirements applying. 

      Looking at economic activity, the following restrictions will apply: 

      Organisations where employees have low levels of daily interaction with people and where social distancing can be maintained will reopen. Workers who can work from home should continue to do so. 

      Some of the plans for culture and social measures include: 

      The reopening of playgrounds where social distancing and hygiene can be maintained. ‘Behind closed doors’ sporting events where social distancing can be maintained. The reopening of cafés and restaurants providing on-premises food and drinks where social distancing can be maintained. 

      Moving onto retail services, there will be a phase-in opening of all other non-essential retail outlets. This is to be limited to retail outlets with street-level entrances which are not in enclosed shopping centres. 

      In terms of health and social care, there will be a commencement of a phased approach to visiting hospitals, residential healthcare centres, other residential settings and prisons, etc. 

      Phase four – 20 July

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase four travel can be extended to outside a person’s region. 

      Slightly larger numbers of people may visit another household for a short period of time while socially distancing. Small social gatherings by family and close friends, such as small weddings and baptisms may be allowed. 

      RELATED READS

      01.05.20Campaign group welcomes slight relaxation of cocooning but calls for voices of older people to be heard01.05.20Coronavirus: 34 deaths and 221 new cases in Ireland confirmed01.05.20The Explainer: Where are we at with testing for Covid-19 in Ireland right now?

      Looking at education and childcare measures, creches, childminders and pre-schools will reopen for children of all other workers on a gradually increasing phased basis. 

      With regard to economic activity, organisations where employees cannot work remotely will be considered first for return to onsite working arrangements. 

      Retail services will see the commencement of loosening of restrictions on higher risk services such as hairdressers and barbers. 

      Some of the plans for culture and social measures include: 

      Reopening of museums, galleries and other cultural outlets. Reopening of religious places and places of worship. Sports team leagues will be permitted but only where limitations are placed on the number of spectators and where social distancing can be maintained. Reopening of public swimming pools. Reopening of hotels, hostels, caravan parks and holiday parks for social and tourist activities, initially on a limited occupancy basis. 

      Phase five – 10 August 

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase five large social gatherings will be restricted due to risk. 

      There will be a continued restriction on all household contact of suspect cases. 

      Looking at education and childcare measures, schools and universities will reopen in September and October. 

      In terms of health and social care, there will be a return to normal visiting for hospitals, residential healthcare centres, other residential settings and prisons, etc. 

      Economic activity will see a phased return to onsite working. 

      Some of the plans for retail services include: 

      Reopening of enclosed shopping centres where social distancing can be maintained. Further loosening of restrictions on services involving direct physical contact for periods of time between people, such as tattoo and piercing services. 

      And, finally, here are some of the plans for culture and social measures: 

      Reopening of pubs, bars, nightclubs and casinos where social distancing can be maintained. Reopening theatres and cinemas where social distancing can be maintainedPermitting close physical contact sportsReopening of gyms, dance studios and sports clubs, only where regular and effective cleaning can be carried out and social distancing can be maintained. Reopening of indoor venues such as bowling alleys and bingo halls. Festivals, events and other social and cultural mass gatherings only in accordance with both indoor and outdoor numbers. 

      Decision-making

      It must again be noted that there is an ongoing possibility that restrictions could be re-imposed. 

      Before each government consideration of the easing of restrictions, the Department of Health will provide a report regarding the latest data available. 

      It will also provide risk-based public health advice on what measures could be modified in the next period. 

      The government would then consider what restrictions could be lifted, having regard to the advice of the Department of Health, as well as other social and economic considerations. 

      This process will be carried out on an ongoing basis once every three weeks.