I have been somewhat remiss in COVID19 updates. But while things are getting under greater or lesser degrees of control in the West, a tragedy is unfolding in India. The combination of a staggering population (nearly 1.4 billion, or 17.7% of the world’s population) with a precarious healthcare system would not help matters at the best of times, but now variants have developed that definitely appear to be much more contagious than the wild type. As Dr. John Campbell explains in his latest update, hospitals are running out of supplies as basic as oxygen cylinders, and are telling families to go procure them on the black market (for 100x the normal price).
A number of Western countries have closed their airspace to flights from India for fear of importing the Indian variant. Weizmann Institute epidemiologist Prof. Eran Segal, however, points out that all the point mutations in the Indian variant are present in other variants against which the Pfizer vaccine is known to work, so that it is unlikely to be an “escape mutation” (G-d forbid).
In yesterday’s video, Dr. Campbell revealed the (for me startling) fact that vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly prevalent in India despite the sunny climate, which sure does not help matters with any infectious diseases.
Here is a pre-Corona article about this, in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care:
The diet of poorer people, in particular, tends to be quite starchy and lacking in many nutrients, including vitamin D. People who work outside in agriculture might get enough from sunlight, but the darker your skin type, the more you need, and if you work indoors at a factory or office, you will get very little. (Light skin came about as a mutation that happens to allow humans to thrive at more northern latitudes.) Provinces of India where fish is a main part of the diet, like Kerala, appear to have a lower prevalence of vitamin D deficiency — and interestingly enough, Dr. Campbell explains, suffered a much lower casualty rate during the 1918 flu pandemic as well.
(2) Another story Dr. Campbell covers in the first video is of a leaked report of an unusual alleged side effect of the Pfizer vaccine in Israel:
The report said that out of more than 5 million people [doubly] vaccinated in Israel, there were 62 recorded cases of myocarditis [=inflammation of the heart muscle] in the days after the shot. It found that 56 of those cases came after the second shot and most of the affected were men under 30. […] 60 of the patients were treated and released from hospital in good condition. Two of the patients, who were reportedly healthy until receiving the vaccination, including a 22-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man, died.
An investigation is in progress. I reached out to a hospital department head at [details redacted]. (S)he was however quite dismissive of the story: (s)he said the study had no proper control population, but that the incidence figures “looked statistically indistinguishable from pre-COVID”. I hit the books a little and turned up this
The incidence of myocarditis is approximately 1.5 million cases worldwide per year. Incidence is usually estimated between 10 to 20 cases per 100,000 persons. The overall incidence is unknown and probably underdiagnosed. In the United States, the frequency of myocarditis is difficult to ascertain as many cases are subclinical. In community-based populations, the prevalence and outcomes of myocarditis are unknown as epidemiologic studies suggest that the majority of Coxsackie B virus infections, an important cause of myocarditis are subclinical, thus following a benign course. […] The majority of patients are young and healthy.
From the Myocarditis Foundation:
While we often associate cardiovascular conditions with elderly populations, myocarditis can affect anyone, including young adults, children and infants. In fact, it most often affects otherwise healthy, young, athletic types with the high-risk population being those of ages from puberty through their early 30’s, affecting males twice as often as females. Myocarditis is the 3rd leading cause of Sudden Death in children and young adults.
At that website, one also learns that the majority of myocarditis cases are viral infections, but that a minority (giant cell myocarditis) is autoimmune in origin.
For sure, a diligent investigation is called for. But in light of the above, I am somewhat skeptical that this is ‘signal’ rather than background noise.
Incidentally, the same doctor told me that in hospitals in central Israel, corona wards have completely emptied out, while regional hospitals in localities with substantial Arab and Beduin populations (these populations being the most reluctant to get vaccinated, even more so than the “ultra-Orthodox” sector) still have one or two dozen corona beds filled, almost entirely by people from the said populations.
According to the Ministry of Health COVID19 dashboard, just 0.2% of COVID19 tests return positive at present; Dr. Campbell mentioned a similar figure in the UK, where over 50% of the population has now had at least one shot. And down from 80 dead a day at the peak of the epidemic, we have seen a total of 9 dead for the entire week, an average of 1.3 a day.
(3) Incidentally, Dr. Campbell expresses his frustration that some people see treatment, vaccination, and prevention almost as mutually exclusive, with advocates of one being dismissive of the two others. I agree this is a most unfortunate attitude.