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Why aren’t we taking these simple steps to help beat the virus?


LOCKDOWNS cannot be for ever, although many are starting to wonder. 

They are crude, anachronistic emergency tools whose use has now been abused beyond reason. 

These are fine words for someone not in government, but what are the alternatives? Thousands are dying, the NHS is on the brink of collapse, or so goes the narrative. But thousands die all the time and the NHS is on the brink every winter.  

There is indeed a small overall excess of deaths for 2020 over the average of previous years. Yes, there is a new virus in town and there was a certain amount of fumbling in the dark in the early spring of last year to get the measure of it.  

Many sadly died during those early stages, but since then much information has been gathered. The virus was sequenced very early on and China shared this information as soon as it spread beyond its borders.  

But this was a virus with a twist: corona viruses are generally known to be respiratory viruses, and yet the autopsies showed that this corona virus behaved as a circulatory pathogen. 

Whilst governments have facilitated magnificently the development of vaccines, and great strides have been made in the treatment of the disease for patients in hospital, they have failed to adequately build up health service capacity (the reason given for the great sacrifices of the first lockdown in the spring of 2020) and failed in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 patients pre-hospitalisation.  

Worse still, various common and extremely safe medications showing potential, eg hydroxychloroquine, were explicitly banned from prescription.  

Early on in the pandemic, prestigious clinical trials testing such pre-hospitalisation treatments were designed with doses and timings that were known to be sub-optimal, ineffective, or even toxic (for example: Discovery trial, or Recovery trial).  

Trials sections were prematurely discontinued on World Health Organisation instructions, as a result of fraudulent science (published in the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, but retracted in June 2020;  and never re-started

All the while, anyone catching Covid-19 has been sent home with paracetamol and fingers crossed, hoping their illness does not progress to needing hospitalisation. 

Let us remember that the primary reason given for lockdowns was to avoid overwhelming the NHS. If this is the aim, then any potential mitigating strategies which might lead to a reduction of unfavourable outcomes – contagiousness (viral load), hospitalisation, death and long-term side-effects – should be introduced without delay. 

In fact, a range of these is safely available with minimum medical guidance and others could be safely made available on prescription. The website is collating daily all the trial results worldwide for various potential medications.  

This reveals that mitigating strategies of prevention or at the first signs of symptoms include: 

  1. Vitamin D: 65 per cent overall improved outcome (further increased if Vitamin C and zinc are added)  
  2. Anticoagulants, such as aspirin  
  3. Hydroxychloroquine: 66 per cent overall improved outcome (increased if adding antibiotics such as azithromycin and with zinc). Other mostly cheap medications are also being investigated (see 
  4. Domestic use of an Oxymeter, an extremely simple medical device for monitoring blood oxygenation available as part of health watches, or as a standalone clip on the finger. A sudden drop below 92 should mean a rapid call for assistance. 
  5. Respiratory frequency above 24/minute is another flag for quick intervention. 

While fortunes are spent on locking up the healthy and vaccinating whole populations, these simple actions, especially in combination, could not only dramatically reduce deaths and hospitalisations (conservatively by as much as half in aggregate) but also cases of ‘long Covid’. 

This information should be provided to the general population, through public health campaigns, as a matter of urgency. 

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Dr Laurence Villard
Dr Laurence Villard
Dr Laurence Villard is an epidemiologist. She lives in Oxford.

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