COVID19 mini-update: fixing your indoor air (not just for COVID); vitamin D evidence in the House of Commons; Bell’s Palsy; COVID19 risk as a function of age

From Dr. Roger Seheult’s medical tutoring channel

Via Dr. John Campbell, David Davis MP presents some great evidence from the Spanish region of Andalusia about administering calciferol (a vitamin D metabolite) reducing mortality by about 2/3 among vulnerable patients.

For some reason, Israel seems to have many fewer adverse events than the US, let alone Norway. I suspect that screening prospective vaccinees for a history of allergic reactions may pay off here: on the three occasions we showed up for jabs (Mrs. Arbel twice, me once), we were questioned in detail about this, and our answers cross-referenced with our files in the HMO’s medical database. The nurse was actually reluctant to jab me because of some spurious suspected cross-reaction with an IV antibiotic: I convinced her that if I never had an allergic reaction in over a decade of annual flu shots, chances were I’d be fine with a Pfizer mRNA vaccine.

About a dozen people reported Bell’s Palsy, a form of facial paralysis. However, having had a mild bout of this in the wake of a viral infection last year, I suspect many of these are cum hoc sed non propter hoc (together with, but not because of it):

In the general population, having nothing to do with Covid-19 nor the Covid-19 vaccine, approximately 40,000 individuals develop Bell’s palsy annually in the United States, or approximately 1 in 10,000. In both groups of vaccine trial participants, the rate (1 in 10,000) was commensurate with the incidence of sudden facial paralysis in the general population. While the exact cause is often not identifiable, it is most likely caused by viral inflammation of the nerve. Typically the herpesvirus lives in a dormant state in the nerve, and may become activated and cause the nerve to swell in times of stress or illness. The bacteria that causes Lyme disease can also cause dysfunction and resultant weakness or paralysis of the facial nerve. In many cases, the paralysis resolves spontaneously over weeks. But in some cases, some or all of the weakness remains.

And finally, I had a few queries: just how dependent is mortality on age? I have previously covered a paper with a meta-analysis presenting a simple exponential dependence of the infection fatality rate on age:

(numbers in parentheses are uncertainty intervals on the parameters)

In addition, here is a table extracted from the latest daily update of the Clalit HMO: and the Ministry of Health COVID19 dashboard. (Note: our criteria for coding a death as COVID are fairly strict.)

Age bracketNumber of deadPercentage of deadPercentage of infections
Total COVID19 fatalities in Israel since the beginning of the pandemic: 3,984.

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