This comment piece first appeared in the Evening Standard.
One solution that could be recommended much more emphatically by government is vitamin D. Although its main source — sunlight — is in short supply right now, and indeed most of the year round in these dark and dingy isles, inexpensive supplements are widely available for pennies.
If we’re following the science, multiple studies show vitamin D not only prevents respiratory tract infections but when administered to Covid-19 patients has dramatically reduced the need for intensive care treatment. Since the summer, when new evidence first emerged, the Government has shifted somewhat from outright denial of any causal connection between Covid and vitamin D to Matt Hancock accepting that it has benefits and “no downsides”.
As for the accompanying offer of four months’ supply free of charge to 2.7 million defined extremely clinically vulnerable people, they had to actively “opt-in” themselves by January 4. Given Christmas and the new year, I can’t imagine that there has been a huge stampede.
The failed tiers experiment couldn’t prevent London being declared a major incident; its hospitals are now at capacity. Many adults won’t get a sniff of any vaccine until autumn. Until then taking vitamin D offers us all hope to stamp out this dreaded disease.