Covid.us.org is now warning people that the U.S. and other nations face a catastrophic Second Wave of Covid-19 cases and deaths this winter, unless we act soon. What do we need to do? Here is the multi-part plan to avoid a Second Wave.
A. “Sunshine on Skin”
The previous articles found that Covid-19 is responsive to vitamin D levels in the blood. Higher levels of vitamin D are highly protective, whereas a vitamin D deficiency greatly increases risk of infection, risk of a severe case, and risk of death from Covid-19. This is what makes Covid-19 seasonal: vitamin D. For it is well-proven that vitamin D levels rise in the summer and fall in the winter in the general population. And this is due to changing amounts of exposure of the skin to sunshine (which produces vitamin D). Low vitamin D in winter means more cases and greater severity to those cases.
Unfortunately, in regions where social or religious customs cause persons, especially women, to cover up most of their skin, even in hot weather, vitamin D levels are continually low. Put another way, it’s always the worst season for Covid-19 in those regions. For vitamin D levels, in anyone who does not take supplements (and does not have a very unusual high vitamin D diet), are mainly a result exposure of the skin to ultraviolet light from the sun. No sunshine on skin means low vitamin D.
The good news is that the poorest of the poor in the world can be protected from Covid-19 without medications and without cost by simply exposing their skin to the sun. The best time of the day in very hot nations might be morning, so that the sun is not too hot. In other places, the midday is usually the best time for sunshine on skin. In any case, the poor often have access to sunshine. All that is needed is an information campaign — “Sunshine on Skin” — to increase their vitamin D levels and help protect them from Covid-19. This may require a change to social or religious customs and the support of the leaders who can bring about that change. Otherwise, some persons might simply choose to disregard the customs, if possible.
Sunshine on Skin: 1 hour a day or more, 3 days a week or more, as much skin as you can show, without breaking the law!
The saying needs to be as simple as possible. It cannot have complicated conditions. And it needs to take into account that many persons in the developing world have darker skin. That is why the time is one hour, rather than the half hour more commonly recommended for fair-skinned persons.
In any case, vitamin D is not a panacea. Even with high levels of vitamin D, you can easily contract Covid-19. The odds of a mild case are high, and the odds of a severe or critical case are low, but it can still happen that someone with high vitamin D in the blood will have a severe case or even die. However, it is much less likely, according to the studies we currently have. See Vitamin D Studies 1-18 here.
B. Vitamin D Supplementation
We can turn back the Second Wave with a massive vitamin D “supplementation and sunshine program”. It will take at least a month of high-dose vitamin D supplementation to raise vitamin D blood levels to the required point (over 40 ng/ml). For persons with vitamin D deficiency, it may take 2 or 3 months to get their levels into the normal range. The higher the dose of vitamin D, the faster the blood level reaches normal range. At 10,000 IU/day, it takes 35 days to correct a deficiency.
Now, in the developed nations, for those who have access and can afford it, vitamin D supplementation is a fast and easy way to raise blood levels of vitamin D. And, in theory, if a large enough portion of the population can supplement with vitamin D, we may be able to either avoid or at least lessen the impact of a Second Wave of Covid-19 cases and deaths. Here are the recommendations for vitamin D supplementation.
Infants: 400 IU/day
Children, 1-3: 2,000 IU/day
Children, 4-8: 2,500 IU/day
Children, 9-13: 3,000 IU/day
Teens, 14-18: 4,000 IU/day
Adults, 19-59: 10,000 IU/day
Seniors, 60+: 20,000 IU/day
The infants’ level of vitamin D intake is simply the U.S. RDA value (actually called “Adequate Intake” when applied to infants) of 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
For children, the levels are set at 500 or 1000 IU below the tolerable upper limit for each age group set by the Institute of Medicine at the U.S. National Academies of Science [See the PDF chart here]. At the age group of 14 to 18, the value is equal to the tolerable upper limit.
So the vitamin D levels for infants and children and teens are set based on two factors, that Covid-19 is usually not severe at those ages, and the level chosen is within the tolerable upper limits.
Now for adults and seniors, the values are above the TUL. This is justified by the much greater risk that adults and especially seniors face from Covid-19. Moreover, researchers such as Grant et al. have specifically recommended 10,000 IU or more , and Garland et al. have found in their study that doses up to 40,000 IU/day are safe for all adults . Therefore, the dose chosen for adults with moderate risk is the 10,000 IU level, and the dose chosen for the seniors, who are at greatest risk, is half the dose that is considered the safe upper limit in the Garland study . Another reason for the higher dose for seniors, 60 and over, is that older persons have a lower ability to absorb vitamin D in the digestive tract. So if they take 20,000 IU, they are not absorbing all of that does.
Grant: “To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d. The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40 – 60 ng/mL (100 – 150 nmol/L). For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful. ” 
Garland: “The supplemental dose ensuring that 97.5% of this population achieved a serum 25(OH)D of at least 40 ng/ml was 9,600 IU/d. Conclusion: Universal intake of up to 40,000 IU vitamin D per day is unlikely to result in vitamin D toxicity.” 
Grant says take 10,000 IU/day for a few weeks. I would just continue taking that dose, at least until the pandemic is over. Garland says that 9,600 IU in this minimum needed to ensure that the whole population reaches the optimum blood level of vitamin D (over 40 ng/ml). So you might as well take 10,000 IU, as there are not “9,600 IU” pills. Garland found that even “universal intake” at four times that dose, 40,000 IU per day, was safe.
And since the reason for taking vitamin D is to greatly reduce risk of infection, a severe case, and death from Covid-19 a deadly pandemic, it is reasonable and necessary to take high doses of vitamin D, without needing to wait for the health authorities to recommend it, without waiting for a randomized placebo controlled trial.
C. Vaccinate Now!
Any vaccine for Covid-19 which has passed the Phase II safety and efficacy tests should be made available to doctors and nurses and other front line personnel — law enforcement officers, government officials, military — if they choose to accept it. If the vaccine is proven safe and effective, let doctors and nurses choose to get the vaccine, or not. Why wait? The Phase III trials give the vaccine to 30,000 volunteers, why can’t doctors and nurses have it now? It is safe. The Phase II trials prove that. And you would give the vaccine to groups of persons, staggered, so that if there are any serious problems, you can stop.
Waiting until spring 2021 will be too late. There is a Second Wave of Covid-19 cases coming this winter. We need to get the fronline personnel vaccinated, and then immediately move to the general population, esp. the elderly.
Hundreds of thousand of lives could be lost each month in the U.S. alone in the Second Wave.
D. Emphasis on Prophylaxis
We need to focus studies on prophylaxis. The reason for this is simple and compelling. Covid-19 has a long incubation period. After you are infected, it will be anywhere from 1 to 14 days, average 5.5 days , when symptoms will begin. So for about 5 or 6 days, on average, you will be infected with Covid-19, the virus will be multiplying rapidly, and you will not know it. Your doctor will not know it. And consequently, you will not be taking any prescription medications. Most people will not be taking anything. This gives the virus a big head start on any treatments from your doctor.
The solution is to take supplements and/or OTC medications or prescription medications (for high risk persons) while you are well — or while you think you are well. You can be infected with Covid-19 and not know it for more than a few days.
There is a prophylaxis regimen, within the MATH+ protocol, which includes several supplements and over-the-counter medications. This needs testing as a prophylaxis against a placebo and against other prophylactic regimens. But there is enough evidence, and the supplements and medications are safe enough that high risk persons should probably be taking the MATH+ Prophylactic Protocol now. In this way, people will be taking medication during the long incubation period, and the virus will not have that advantage.
Why is the incubation period so long? It’s because this virus is good at both hiding from the immune system, and directly attacking the immune system. Read the article on how Covid-19 attacks your immune system here. The way to counter this attack is to take vitamin D supplements and perhaps some other prophylactic supplements or medications.
More research is needed on this particular way of fighting the pandemic. But we also need to act NOW with the information we have.
And hospitals should be required to report to the CDC their treatment modalities and outcomes, so that the data can be analyzed, in various ways, to learn what is working and what is not working. In South Korea, they have universal healthcare. And this leads allows researchers to access and analyze the data of millions of patients and learn a great deal. We could be pooling our data on Covid-19, so as to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.
F. After the pandemic is over, there will be a vast number of “survivors” of Covid-19 who have chronic damage from the disease. They will need extra medical care for the rest of their lives. This will weigh on the health care system. We need to plant for their care as follows:
(1) More medical schools and nursing schools, and more seats in each school,
(2) More training for medical technical positions,
(3) More hospitals, esp. tertiary care hospitals,
(4) a new type of hospital, dedicated solely to long-term treatment for chronic ailments, including “Covid-19 Survivors Syndrome” as well as cancer, organ transplants, veterans injured in war, etc.
(5) A nationwide very strong focus on prevention of diseases, like cancer and heart disease. Prevention is the only way to have enough resources to treat everyone. Healthcare for all is prohibitively expensive unless we prevent most illnesses. 90% of all cancer and heart disease and type 2 diabetes cases are preventable. Research on prevention must be followed up with implementation of research conclusions.
G. The Information Gate Keepers
This winter will see a vast wave of cases and deaths from Covid-19. The hope that people will wake up and realize that prophylaxis works against this disease is slim. The information gatekeepers — social media giants, talk show hosts, news organizations, politicians — are preventing any insights from being accepted and acted upon. They block information on any ideas that are not accepted by the health authorities, such as the CDC, FDA, and WHO. Then those health authorities are in turn influenced by the media to do the same, refuse new insights. It is a feedback loop that prevents people from realizing that a Second Wave of cases and deaths is approaching and prevents acceptance of the measures needed to stop that Wave.
The cancel culture has cancelled the information that could lead us out of the pandemic. To do an end-run around those gate keepers, we need to convince more and more researchers and doctors of the relation between vitamin D and Covid-19, and the necessity to act soon. If enough experts agree, the health authorities will speak out and the information gate keepers will have to permit the dissemination of this information.
There is a big task ahead for us as a society, and if we fail, millions will die needlessly.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Note: The author of this article is not a doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider, and this article does not offer medical advice.
1. Grant, William B., et al. “Evidence that vitamin D supplementation could reduce risk of influenza and COVID-19 infections and deaths.” Nutrients 12.4 (2020): 988. Study Link
2. Garland, Cedric F., et al. “Vitamin D supplement doses and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the range associated with cancer prevention.” Anticancer research 31.2 (2011): 607-611. Study Link
3. Lauer, Stephen A., et al. “The incubation period of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from publicly reported confirmed cases: estimation and application.” Annals of internal medicine 172.9 (2020): 577-582. Study Link
See also the endnotes on vitamin D here