Monday 1 April 2024

Vitamin D – evidence neglected during the Covid-19 pandemic

The neglected importance of natural immunity and vitamin D during the pandemic of Covid-19



What is natural immunity?

A good starting point is to remember the HG Wells story “War of the Worlds”, published in 1897.  Technologically advanced life forms from Mars invaded Earth, and after leaving a trail of destruction they suddenly all died. The cause of death was considered to be “the bacillus”, an infection. The “germ theory” of the causation of disease was a new medical-scientific concept at the time. The invaders from Mars died because they had no immunity to protect them against the Earth's bacteria that caused fatal infection.



Humankind has inherited natural immunity, which evolved during the 3,500 million years since life on Earth began. It was present in a simple form in early life-forms, including plankton that emerged 1,500 million years ago. 


It is interesting that plankton were, and still are, able to synthesise the oil 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC), which UV from the Sun converts into cholecalciferol. In the early 20th century this became known as vitamin D.


Figure 1. UV from the sun acts on 7-DHC


The hormone cholecalciferol is a vital component of the escalation of defensive immunity in humankind and other advanced land animals, but it was of no value to the plankton that initially produced it. Their immunity had not evolved to require vitamin D / cholecalciferol. The conversion of 7-DHC into cholcalciferol within plankton absorbed damaging energy of UV radiation close to the surface of the ocean and it thus acted as a "sunscreen" to protect the plankton. 


Much later (420 million years ago), fish needed vitamin D for their boney skeleton and advanced immunity, but being covered in scales or thick skin, and living at depths, meant that they could not poduce it from the Sun. They therefore obtain their vitamin D from consumption of plankton in the aquatic foord chain. When we eat fish, the vitamin D that we take in is derived from plankton.


Advanced defensive immunity appeared as a very sopisticated evolutionary development in the complex life-forms that  appeared "suddenly" in the Cambrian era, about 500 million years ago. 


Bacteria and viruses had been present since early evolution, before the critical  appearance of plankton. However further evolution of complex animal life could not advance until defensive immunity against bacterial and virus infection had developed. Any new life form of a more advanced nature would have died in the way of the Martian invaders in the story by HG Wells. The development of sophisticated defensive immunity must have been among the most critical steps in evolution.


The components of immunity

It is as well to know just a little of the highly complex cascade of immunity. Only 10% of the cells of our body are human. 90% are tiny micro-organisms, and they must be kept under control. When we die, they take over and we decompose, but while we are alive our defensive immunity is of vital importance.


There are two major components of immunity, antibodies in the circulation, and the much more complex but the less easy to measure tissue immunity. Both are activated by signals of invasion of our body tissues by micro-organisms.


The genes of the cells of immunity must themselves be activated so as to escalate defensive cell processes and proteins. The key to this is a complex protein molecule called VDR that is synthesised within the cells, and this was a critically important evolutionary event.


But by an “accident" of evolution, VDR is synthesised in an incomplete form: it lacks a small steroid component. We could call this an ecomomy of evolution because this "small steroid component" of a complex molecule is created elsewhere in the body. We synthesise in our skin the oil 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) and and as we have seen, by another accident of evolution, UV from the sun converts this into the hormone cholecalciferol, that we also know as vitamin D. 


Vitamin D (in the activated form 1,25(OH)D) is the component required by VDR (Vitamin D Receptor) to make it complete and therefore active. It can then switch on the genes that control the escalation of immunity.


There is no need to expand on the highly complex process of defensive immunity at this stage. It is important to appreciate its activation and its importance.


Figure 2: The activation of defensive immunity


What did we know in January 2020?

Vitamin D had been discovered early in the 20th century. It was recognised that deficiency was common in people who were deprived of sunlight, resulting from indoor life and serious atmospheric pollution. 


The main results of this were childhood rickets (vitamin D deficient bone disease) and tuberculosis (due to vitamin D deficient sub-optimal immunity). It was identified that both could be reversed by exposure to the sun or by consumption of fish oils.


An epidemic of AIDS occurred at the end of the 20th century, and this was characterised by defective tissue immunity due to suppression of T-lymphocytes, that under normal circumstances are activated by vitamin D + VDR. This gave us a great deal of insight into the effects of the suppression of immunity, with consequent increased incidence of tuberculosis, other microbial infections, certain cancers, neurological disease, and heart deaths.

 

From the experience of the early and late 20th century, the importance of natural defensive immunity and the critical role of vitamin D in its escalation were well known before the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.


It was also known that vitamin D deficiency is common and that certain groups within the population are especially susceptible.


The elderly

As mentioned, we produce within our skin the oil 7-DHC, in the same way as plankton and many land animals.


UV from the sun converts 7-DHC into cholecalciferol / vitamin D, but the problem in the elderly is that the skin becomes thin and dry. Adequate amounts of 7-DHC are no longer synthesised in the skin, and so adequate amounts of vitamin D cannot be produced. This has been known since 1985.


Figure 3: Production of vitamin D in the skin of the young and the elderly



Elderly people will inevitably be increasingly deficient of vitamin D, no matter how long they sit in the sun. However there will be variation among the elderly and this requires further research with blood levels. 


A supplement of vitamin D in adequate dose is essential in the elderly, so as to prevent deficiency and maintain optimal immunity.


This should have been a public health priority as soon as the onset of the pandemic was anticipated. The neglect of this policy led to large numbers of deaths of the elderly from Covid-19.


A small supplement of vitamin D (400 units each day) was belatedly recommended to elderly people in mid-2020, but with the intention of protecting against the very rare bone disease osteomalacia (not the much more common osteoporosis which is not due to vitamin D deficiency). No mention was made of the need to optimise immunity by correcting vitamin D deficiency, nor any attempt to detect vitamin D deficiency by blood testing.


Black African and South Asian ethnic groups

In the 1920s it was observed informally in Glasgow and other industrial cities that rickets and tuberculosis tend to co-exist within families. A remarkable study conducted in Bombay showed the same thing, but the two conditions occurred in the families of the wealthy, who had an indoor life, whereas these medical conditions were rare in the much more healthy poor families who worked in the fields (Hutchison HS, Shah SJ. QJMed 1922; 15: 167-195). VItamin D deficiency was clearly the problem. 


In the UK since the 1960s it has been known that children of ethnic Black African and South Asian parents have a significantly high incidence of rickets, and that adults have a high incidence of tuberculosis, both resulting from vitamin D deficiency. We have known of the much higher prevalence of severe vitamin D deficiency in people of Black African and South Asian ethnicity in the UK compared to ethnic white. 


It has been known that the pigmentation of dark skin blocks UV penetration, and although of benefit in the intense sunlight of the tropics, it seriously reduces the amount of vitamin D produced in the skin when living in the UK for example, closer to the North Pole than to the Equator. Extensive clothing and vegetarian diet worsen the vitamin D deficiency.


Knowing of their consequent reduced immunity, there should have been a public health imperative to correct the severe vitamin D deficiency in the Black African and South Asian ethnic groups. Failing to do so resulted in the devastating effect of Covid-19 on these groups. 


Figure 4: A view of the Muslim section of
the 
cemetery of Bradford, UK, in 2020


Three official reports into the high mortality of Black African and South Asian ethnic people from Covid-19 concluded that it was the result of socio-economic disadvantage and racism. In just one of the three was vitamin D mentioned, only to be dismissed immediately. There was no biological consideration.


26 practising doctors died from Covid-19 in early 2020, and of these 25 were of Black African and South Asian ethnicity. No notice was taken of this disturbing fact, even though it negated the sociological conclusion of the reports. The relevant racism was the deliberate ignoring of the special needs of the Black African and South Asian ethnic groups.


Figure 5: Practicing doctors who died
from Covid-19 in the UK in 2020



Ignoring the established high prevalence of serious vitamin D deficiency in people of Black African and South Asian ethnicity was a serious dereliction of duty by those responsible for public health, resulting in high death rates from Covid-19. How did this come about? Who was responsible? Have lessons been learned?


The Obese

It was also known before the Covid-19 pandemic that obese people, as well as having overall poor health, have on average low blood levels of vitamin D. It was again predictable that the obese would be vulnerable to serious and perhaps fatal Covid-19. And so it turned out.


If an obese person receives a given exposure to UV, the blood levels of vitamin D will increase less than, perhaps 50% less than, with a non-obese person. The reason is that vitamin D, being an oil, is taken into the fat calls of the body.


Figure 6: Production of vitamin D in the skin
of the obese and the non-obese


The obese could also have been protected against Covid-19 by correction of low blood levels of vitamin D. This did not happen and so when the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, the obese suffered disproportionately, with a large impact on intensive care units.


This was predictable and action should have been taken in early 2020. Why did this not happen?


What did we learn in 2020?

Suggestions that vitamin D should be given to optimise natural immunity during the pandemic of Covid-19 were met by scepticism and claims that there was "no proof of benefit". The definition of “proof” was never declared. Proof is pragmatic and it means the fulfilment of pre-determined criteria, and these criteria must be clear and testable.


When it was stated repeatedly that there was “not enough evidence”, it was not clear how much evidence would be “enough”. The famous criteria of proof defined by Sir Austin Bradford Hill were not considered, even though they were fulfilled.  When the results of randomised trials  became available, it was stated that they were “too small”, despite clear statistical significance and no untoward effects demonstrated.


Observations that people critically ill with Covid-19 almost always had very low blood levels of vitamin D led to criticisms that this was the result of the illness rather than causative. This had some truth, as the low blood levels of vitamin D were both causative and the result. The details were not clearly understood by the critics. 


In Galilee, Israel, severity of Covid-19 was assessed against blood levels of vitamin D that had been recorded before the pandemic. All of the critically ill patients had pre-illness vitamin D deficiency, and most of them had severe deficiency. 





It was clear that a blood level of vitamin D above 100nmol/L (40ng/ml) provided protection against critical Covid-19, whereas blood level below 50nmol/L (20ng/ml) gave a significant risk of critical Covid-19. 


This is the most important message of 2020 that could, or should, have underpinned policy in the future. The obvious public health objective would be to make certain that blood vitamin D levels are in the safe range.


Why was this study ignored by those "experts" who were in charge of public health? Why were they asleep?


How much vitamin D supplement should be taken?

The answer must be “Sufficient to achieve the target blood level”. This is the same as in the treatment of diabetes with insulin or other treatments of deficiency disorders. To heal rickets in children, just a small quantity of vitamin D is necessary, 400 units each day. However it is clear that a higher dose is necessary to optimise immunity.


Vitamin D and insulin were isolated at about the same time, but it was not possible a century ago to measure their mass. They had to be measured in internationally agreed biological units. One unit of vitamin D was defined as the daily requirement of a ten gram mouse. Scaling up from that, the daily requirement of a 60kg human would be 6,000 units per day.





Strictly speaking we should express a dose as for example, 6,000iu per day. However many people might not understand that "iu" means "international units". As with insulin, I use the term "units" as it is clear, well-known, and it is standardised.


To be cautious it is as well to have a starting dose of 3,000 units per day, adjusting the dose as necessary in future months. Dose adjustments do not need to be made for the elderly or those with a dark skin. However the obese will require a higher dose of vitamin D, and this should be related to body weight.


The vitamin D that we take as a supplement is also the result of solar UV acting on 7-DHC, but in the skin and wool of sheep. Vitamin D is a component of the oil in the fleece of a freshly sheared sheep. It is extracted in an organic solvent and purified to provide supplements for indoor farm animals (80%) and for humans (20%). The vets are ahead of the game, and we seem to care more about farm animals than about humans.


Effect of immune response on vitamin D

Vitamin D circulates in the blood as a reservoir, ready for use whenever necessary. Its circulating reservoir form is as 25(OH)D, a hydroxyl group (–OH) being added during a slow process that takes place in the liver. It is as 25(OH)D, also known as calcidiol or calcifediol, that we measure vitamin D in the blood. 


As with all reservoirs, it desirable for it to be almost full rather than almost empty. Water in our reservoirs is continually used and continually refilled by nature; vitamin D is also continually used and must be continually replenished by nature, by the Sun. 


A molecule of vitamin D in its fully activated form 1,25(OH)D can be used only once to activate VDR, the key complex intracellular molecule that will activate the genes necessary to optimise defensive immunity. 1,25(OH)D is then automatically and irreversibly de-activated, so as to prevent dangerous accumulation. Immune cells can synthesise any number of VDR molecules, but vitamin D must come from the skin (as a hormone) or from the diet (as a vitamin).


So when defensive immunity is active, vitamin D will be consumed and stores circulating in the blood will become depleted. Immunity is active in response to an infection, but also in response to a vaccination, which acts like an infection so as to produce defensive capability for the future.





It follows that during the pandemic of Covid-19 repeated infections and repeated vaccinations will have resulted in vitamin D depletion. This in turn could be the reason for the current problem of excess illness and excess deaths, affecting not just the UK but many other countries of the world. 


The answer to current problems of excess illness and death is quite simple. We must apply our knowledge of the great importance of vitamin D. There is a big opportunity, and meeting this opportunity is imperative.



Saturday 28 October 2023

Vitamin D and the second pandemic of the present decade




The first pandemic of the present decade

Early 2020 saw the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the UK, significant numbers occurred in March, and by March 23rd there had been 28 deaths from Covid-19. The government had to do something. As government advisors (mathematician modellers) had predicted huge numbers of deaths, action was essential. It was in the form of “lockdown” on March 23rd, the closure of schools, universities, places of worship, holidays, concerts, most transport, and many places of work.


Figure 1a. The Covid-19 pandemic in the UK in 2020, cases


Damaging as it was to society and the economy, Lockdown had no obvious effect on the number of Covid-19 deaths, which by April 8th had increased to almost 1,000 per day.



Figure 1b. The Covid-19 pandemic in the UK in 2020, deaths


The benefit from UV and vitamin D

After April 2020 there was a progressive decline of cases and also of Covid-19 deaths, to only single numbers each day in the summer (Figure 1b). This should have come as no surprise: it was the result of “nature”. Every year the incidence of respiratory infections is maximal in the winter and progressively reduces to a minimum in the summer. Covid-19 was no exception. This annual phenomenon is the result of an increasing penetration of solar UV to ground level as the Sun rises higher above the horizon. The UV acts on our skin to convert the synthesised 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) into vitamin D, which is essential for the escalation of defensive immunity. 


Ignoring those at most risk

50% of those who died from Covid-19 in the UK were older than 85 years. The other groups with a high risk of death were the obese, those with Black African and South Asian ethnicity, and Haredi Jews. The great majority of people in all these groups were  known before the appearance of Covid-19 to be seriously deficient of vitamin D. 


Figure 2. Doctors dying from Covid-19  in the UK


Why was this knowledge ignored? This was serious clinical negligence, especially when compounded by the failure to absorb new knowledge published during 2020 and 2021.


Disinformation from the Secretary of State for Health

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health in 2020, was asked about multiple studies showing a link between serious Covid-19 and vitamin D deficiency. He replied that a British study had found the opposite. Officials have recently admitted that this was not true, and that the health secretary “mis-spoke”. This disinformation meant that vitamin D supplements in appropriate dose were not used to protect against Covid-19 in the UK, and elsewhere. 


Variation of Covid-19 deaths in 2020

It was not surprising that there was an increase in Covid-19 deaths in the autumn of 2020 when the intensity of solar UV declined and the production of vitamin D in the skin diminished. This would be expected, but it is surprising that the peak increased to an even higher level in early 2021. We will follow this shortly.


The importance of vitamin D

Several studies demonstrated that a very low blood level of vitamin D is found in people with critical or fatal Covid-19. It has been pointed out and it is true that a serious infection can reduce the blood level of vitamin D in an individual, but this has not been clearly quantified. It could have been quantified in detail during the 2020 pandemic but if so results are not available. 


However it became clear (especially from Israel) that low blood levels of vitamin D were of great predictive value in respect of a serious critical or fatal Covid-19 outcome, Figure 3. 


Figure 3. Critical care Covid-19  and vitamin D status

We can see in Figure 3 that in this study all (100%) of the Covid-19 cases who were critically ill were vitamin D deficient. 95% were severely deficient with pre-illness blood levels less than 20ng/ml, 50nmol/L. The future opportunity for prevention of illness is glaringly obvious.

In a previous Blog post I reviewed the reports of the benefits of vitamin D in the Covid-19 pandemic.

A typical epidemic/pandemic

We are accustomed to epidemics of disease and deaths, which usually occur during the winter months, especially January to March when the blood levels of vitamin D are at their lowest. The epidemic, if fatal disease, produces a sudden increase in a number of deaths more than expected at that time. It is the vulnerable that usually die, but they can only die once. This means that the increase in the number of deaths for a given population is followed by a compensatory decrease in the number subsequently, in Figure 4. 


Figure 4. The typical pattern of an epidemic

We remember that in early 2020 we saw many deaths from Covid-19, a rapid increase over expected numbers of deaths, followed by reducing numbers in the Spring. But we were only shown Covid-19 deaths at the time, not total number of deaths. It is only from total deaths that we can appreciate a compensatory reduction of deaths. The number of those who died in the pandemic is matched by the subsequent reduction in the number of deaths. This always happens. 


New Zealand

The time-line of the first pandemic is illustrated well by the experience of New Zealand. This information from Our World in Data shows total deaths. We can see in Figure 5 the excess deaths in early 2020 compared with the 2015–2019 average, indicating the initial Covid-19 pandemic. It is followed by a reduction of “excess” deaths, negative, in the following weeks. 


Figure 5. The typical pattern of an epidemic, example from New Zealand



Germany

We have been provided with total deaths occurring in Germany during 2020. The important data concern the proportionate increase or decrease. The baseline of the bar chart shown in Figure 6 is the average during the years 2015 to 2019, expressed as zero for the purpose of comparison with subsequent years.


Figure 6. Germany – excess deaths by age-group in 2020


It is interesting to note that there was only an overall minimal excess deaths during 2020 (grey column in the Figure 6). The excess was only minimal even in people above the age of 70, those who experienced most deaths. The point is that we are looking average deaths per week during all of 2020. The elderly people who died in the initial weeks of the pandemic were no longer alive during subsequent weeks. In other words they were destined by their age and frailty to die during 2020, and the pandemic merely brought forward their deaths by a few weeks or months.


 It is also interesting to look at excess deaths among children of school age. There was a large reduction of deaths, but this could hardly be a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We can only speculate, but it seems to be most likely that the reduction of deaths of children was the result of lock-down, with closure of schools and places of worship, children being confined to the house, and the absence of road traffic should they venture outside. Although Lockdown appears to have reduced the number of deaths of children, there are recent reports that another effect was to reduce the communication skills of children with a negative effect on education.


The second pandemic – excess deaths


Sudden unexpected deaths

During 2022 it became clear that there was an unusually large number of young and middle-aged people dying from “sudden unexpected death”. This phenomenon was often called in the press “heart attacks”, which is a euphemism meaning that individual died suddenly and unexpectedly as presumably the heart suddenly stopped beating. Sometimes the cause of the sudden death has been given as “natural causes”, meaning not trauma or homicide, but from the medical view point this is completely unhelpful. 


We have not had any clear understanding of the results of autopsies in these “sudden and unexpected deaths”, and there are reports of a distinct official policy to discourage or even prevent autopsies being performed. We therefore have little or no knowledge of whether or not there was an underlying or pre-existing disease. 


We must remember that during the 20th century there was a pandemic of coronary heart disease (CHD) with its peak in 1970. This was shown clearly by information from the USA and from the UK. During the pandemic, and especially at its peak,  cardiac arrests were relatively common. This led to the introduction of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), defibrillation, and coronary care units (CCUs), unknown before the late 1960s. I qualified in medicine in 1966 and I remember this very well. The underlying heart disease was atherosclerosis in a particularly vicious form. The early stages were identified very clearly in young US soldiers killed in action. It was obvious that the development time from initial disease to clinical and perhaps fatal disease was at least twenty years. The "sudden and unexpected" deaths during the past three years suggests a disease process other than known CHD.


The number of sudden unexpected deaths during 2022 is not known because national data has not been published. When questioned, the UK Chief Medical Officer, Sir Chris Whitty, did not deny the existence of many additional sudden and unexpected deaths, but he suggested that the reason was that people had stopped taking their statin medications (reported on January 18th 2023). The lack of effectiveness of statins is not important at present, but a perusal of the weekly UK reports of medicines dispensed indicates no change in respect of statins during 2022 (Figure 7). More disinformation from government.


Figure 7. Statin prescriptions in England


During 2020 the national newspaper The Guardian drew attention in its news and obituary pages to 49 sudden and unexpected deaths. Without comparison with previous years, this seemed to be a remarkably large number, but The Guardian was unwilling to display the total. During 2023 there have been 18 similar reports or obituaries, but whether the decline is the result of a lower incidence or a change in editorial reporting policy is not clear. The average age at sudden death among these sudden and unexpected deaths was 59 years, range 17 to 78.


There were so many reports of sudden and unexpected deaths in 2021 and 2022 reported in the media. They were inevitably deaths among well-known people, such as Lisa Marie Presley (famous father, 54), Paul Grant (actor, 56), Shane Warne (Australian cricketer, 56), Lance Reddick (actor, 62), Paul Cattermole (musician, 46), Dominic Kwiatkowski (Paediatrician and geneticist, 69), Helen Smart (headteacher and former Olympic swimmer (43), Maddy Cusak (Sheffield United footballer, 27), Ivan Andaur (pilot, 56). Many of the sudden and unexpected deaths were among sports-people, but they were all individual events. They were all human stories, human tragedies but there was little attempt to collate them. 


Figure 8. one of many similar sudden unexplained deaths

More information from Gemany

Further data analysis from Germany looked at diagnostic categories of sudden death and cardiac arrest. The data was that of death from these categories by quarter from 2016, as reported in official international diagnostic (ICD-10) codes. There is a slight gradual increase up to the end of 2020, but then a very sudden increase, a doubling of these deaths in 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. This is alarming, and was obviously not random. 


Figure 9a. Germany – sudden heart deaths by quarter


A similar pattern was seen in the USA, this time looking at the total number of alleged deaths due to vaccinations from 2011 to 2023, Figure 9b. This data is from the official long-standing Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Again, something happened in 2011 that had not been experienced previously. The numbers of alleged deaths due to vaccinations was unprecedented.


Figure 9b. USA reports of possible vaccinations deaths


What is it that happened in Germany, the USA, and in other countries in early 2021 that might have caused this abrupt increase of sudden heart deaths, real or possible? Because of official silence on the phenomenon we cannot be certain and therefore speculation is inevitable. The official UK explanations of "not taking statins" or "delayed hospital treatment" are clearly not credible. Take for example, Helen Smart and Maddy Cusak, mentioned above. 


The obvious question is, "What else happened in early 2021 that might have been responsible?" The widespread  Covid-19 vaccination programme at the beginning of 2021 becomes a contender, especially as it soon emerged officially that the new mRNA vaccines could damage the heart causing myocarditis. Exercise in someone experiencing acute myocarditis (perhaps asymptomatic) might be expected to result in a high risk of cardiac arrest.


The role of the mRNA vaccinations has been disputed, but without an alternative credible explanation. Silence from government and other official bodies suggest that there might be something to hide.



Figure 10. Cardiac arrests of footballers ?not a vaccine effect



Excess deaths

Sudden unexplained deaths became obvious during 2021 because they became the experience of people in respect of their friends or family or from reports of sudden unexpected deaths reported in the newspapers. However the total number of deaths in a day/week/month/quarter/year would be outside the experience of an individual and the data can only come from national data collection.


It is important to look at total deaths, and with this the number of deaths in a given time period compared to what is expected from the experience of a previous five-year average. As we have seen above, this gives us a measure of excess deaths.


United Kingdom

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) informed us that in week 21 of 2023 there were 12,528 deaths in the UK. This included 1,076 deaths additional to the number expected compared to the 2015–2019 five year average for this particular week. Covid-19 was written on the death certificate in only 282 of these .


Figure 11. UK ONS – 1074 excess deaths this week


A thousand excess deaths in a week is alarming. Had it been  a result of an earthquake, tsunami, or other natural disaster it would have been visible. But that was not the case. The 1,076 deaths were individuals in different places, just one at a time, peacefully, quietly, unknown to all but their close family and friends. Individuals might have been mentioned in newspaper death announcements, but there was no aggregated death report in the newspapers or medical journals.


The government has remained silent. Government officials will obviously have known about these deaths and there would obviously be detailed discussion behind closed doors. As there would appear to be no public action to be taken, it was in the interests of the government to make no comment.


No doubt through government direction, there has been no report of excess deaths in the general press, but on June 22nd 2023 The Daily Telegraph informed us that “Heart deaths surge by more than 500 a week since pandemic”. These heart deaths are half of total excess deaths, but no detailed analysis was given. The story lasted just a day. 


The BBC has reported the excess deaths of 2022, but again with no sign of government interest.


Figure 12. Excess deaths, BBC report


Excess deaths, Our World in Data
We can look at total deaths in the UK from early 2022, information form Our World in Data. We see the number of deaths expressed as a percentage difference from the 2015 to 1019 average.


Figure 13. UK – excess deaths 2022–2023

The 100% increase in January 2020 was due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The increase in the following winter was when the summer vitamin D production had come to an end. 2021 was the year of vaccinations, intended to bring excess deaths to an end. But in 2022 excess deaths were at about 20%, and in 2023 continuing steadily at about 10%.

The UK government explained the thousands of excess deaths during 2022 as being due to hot weather during the summer. By international standards the UK does not have exceptionally hot summers. Older people were not issued with air-conditioning units during 2023.


Figure 14. UK – excess deaths due to hot weather ?

Stillbirths and neonatal deaths

There has not been a compensatory reduction in deaths, but a continuing excess. The total number of excess deaths can be judged (or counted) as the area under the graph points. Without a compensatory reduction of the number of deaths or an increased birth rate, a reduction of population will be occurring. 


Unfortunately there appears to be a new increase in the number of deaths just before and just after birth, especially in socio-economically disadvantaged families.


Figure 15. UK – excess perinatal deaths, Guardian

Excess deaths of young people

There is a concern that it is not just the elderly who have been dying in excess numbers during 2022 and 2023. Figure 16 shows excess deaths in the 0–24 age group in England. 




Figure 16. England – excess deaths 2022–2023, 0–24 years of age


We can see, as with the experience in Germany, a reduction in expected deaths during the first pandemic, Covid-19. The excess deaths in this age group during 2022 and 2023 is very disturbing, but the detail of causes of these deaths is not yet available.

Edward Dowd is a health insurance expert and data analyst in the USA. He has noted the increasing insurance claims and has also analysed data from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). Figure 17 shows his analysis of excess deaths in the UK, young adults aged 15 to 44.



Figure 17. England & Wales – excess deaths ages 15–44



We see a 30% increase of excess deaths in 2021 and 2022. The numbers for 2023 are not yet available.

In the UK there have been in 2023 strikes by doctors who demand a pay increase. The government states that this is the reason for excess deaths, but it would not have an effect beyond the shores of the UK. We will look at what has been happening in other countries.


Ireland                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

In Ireland we see in Figure 18 the current excess deaths at about 20% above expected. This has been persistent during 2021– 2023 and it shows no sign of settling.


Figure 18. Ireland  – excess deaths 2020–2023


New Zealand

We have seen in Figure 5 the excess deaths in New Zealand during 2020, but the time-line of excess deaths in New Zealand  up to the middle of 2023 is seen in Figure 19. It is interesting and alarming, with excess deaths rising to 30% above expected during 2022, but perhaps settling in late 2023.


Figure 19. New Zealand  – excess deaths 2020–2023


Australia

A similar timeline is recorded in Australia, but no data have been recorded since mid-summer. The first pandemic in 2020 had a small effect with compensatory reduction in deaths. But in 2022 we see a second pandemic. Excess deaths have been steady at about 15% during 2023. Once again the area under the graph in Figure 20 indicates total excess deaths, and there has been no compensatory reduction. Excess deaths continue.


Figure 20. Australia  – excess deaths 2020–2023



Germany

We have seen in Figure 6 the interesting information of excess deaths in Germany during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Although excess deaths were minimal in 2020, there was a 2% increase in the 70–79 age group.


Looking at the same data souce, we can see in Figure 21 that 2021 was different: there was an overall 3.5% excess death rate. It was still negative for young people, particularly high (about 7–8%) for the middle aged, but minimal for the elderly. 


Figure 21. Germany  – excess deaths by age group, 2020, 2021, 2022


There were more excess deaths in 2022, 9.5% for the 5–29 age group, and this is particularly alarming. The excess deaths were more than 10% in the 70-79 age group, and overall 6% above the pre-2020 five-year average.


The overall Our World in Data result for Germany is shown in Figure 22.


Figure 22. Germany  – excess deaths 2020–2023


Excess mortality reached a peak of more than 50% above expected levels in late 2022 but is now about 10%.

Europe
The important source of data Eurostat provides further information, but I will just provide the Spring 2023 headline.


Figure 23. Europe – excess mortality

The EU has also released information concerning excess deaths of children, absolute numbers in the EU populations. We can see 1,500 excess deaths in 2022, and 600 excess deaths in the first half of 2023.

Figure 24. Europe  – excess deaths ages 0-14,  2019–2023


Norway

In Norway we can see in Figure 25 the usual variation in numbers of deaths throughout the years 2014 to 2020, with more in the winter, fewer in the summer, but varying around a steady average. The number of excess deaths in the winter is always compensated by fewer than average deaths in the summer.


The excess winter deaths were always less than 1,000, even in 2020, the year of the Covid-19 pandemic. But in 2021 we see a steady increase in the number of deaths, increasing in 2022 to a cumulative excess of 7,000. This trend has been unprecedented, but the 2023 number is not yet available. There appears to be an epidemic starting at the end of 2021. The excess deaths are no longer compensated by below average deaths in the summer, show in Figure 25. The pattern is as in Figures 4 and 5.


Figure 25. Norway – pattern of deaths 2014–2022



The Our World in Data timeline for Norway is below. We can see the Covid-19 epidemic effect in 2020, and a compensatory recovery in early 2021. But in late 2021 and 2022 we can see again what appears to be a second epidemic, of ill-defined fatal illness.


Figure 26. Norway – excess deaths 2020–2023


Canada

Again the same pattern is seen in Figure 27, but with excess deaths increasing to 30% in 2022 and 2023. The sudden drop to 10% excess in April 2023 is encouraging but there is no data beyond that time. The area under the time-line represents the total number of excess deaths. There is no end to this, no compensatory reduction of deaths.



Figure 27. Canada – excess deaths 2020–2023



USA
The pattern of excess deaths shown in Figure 28 is similar to what we have seen in Canada. After peaks of more than 40% excess deaths, the excess still continues steadily at 10% above what is expected from previous experience.

Figure 28. USA – excess deaths 2020–2023


Malaysia
From the far East we can see the example of Malaysia. Similar to Australia and New Zealand, there were few if any excess deaths in 2020, but an epidemic appeared in 2021 and it has not completely settled. It would appear to be something other than Covid-19. It coincided with the introduction of mRNA vaccinations. Deaths continue to be excessive, about 15% above previous average.

Figure 29. Malaysia – excess deaths 2020–2023


End of the pandemic?
As we have seen, we can only conclude that a pandemic is over when we see the compensatory reduction in the number of deaths. We have not yet seen this.


Serious non-fatal illness

Ed Dowd, US data analyst and insurance expert mentioned above, has brought to attention the increase of claims made to life and health insurance companies in the USA concerning the apparent epidemic of sudden deaths in the USA. The reasons for and mechanisms of these deaths have not been defined, and as in the UK and other countries, there has been no official acknowledgement. This book "counts the bodies" and describes the tragedies of the many young people dying far too early in their lives.



Figure 30. "Cause unknown", by Ed Dowd, 2023


Dowd also extracts data from US insurance claims concerning disability resulting in absence from work. The data did not come through government agencies but from the insurance companies themselves. 


We can see in Figures 31 and 32 the pattern of disability resulting in absence from work and claims for insurance. There is an obvious increase in 2022 and 2023, even more obvious in women than in men.



Figure 31. USA: insurance claims for sickness, men


Figure 32. USA: insurance claims for sickness, women



The insurance companies are responsible for paying claims in excess of what they had expected, and this has become greater than the income from those at work. This will produce a financial crisis within the insurance industry.


Dowd also examined ONS data looking to see if there is a similar increase in disabling illness in the UK. There is. 


In the UK there is National Insurance, administered by government agencies. The principle is the same, working people pay and when they are off work on account of illness they receive financial support. The government therefore has accurate records of the numbers of people receiving "sick pay". In current official language, it is called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 


Figure 33. UK: national insurance calims for sickness, 2016-2023


In previous figures we have seen excess deaths appearing after the Covid-19 pandemic, that is in late 2021, 2022 and 2023 up to the present time. Now we see disabling illness, hopefully short-term and not long-term, but time will tell.

Figure 33 also shows vaccinations, starting at the beginning of 2021. The association is remarkable but whether the illness epidemic is the result of vaccines cannot be concluded. Is there a plausible alternative explanation?


We see indirectly the numbers of excess ill people by noticing the pressures on family doctors and hospitals. The Accident & Emergency departments are overloaded, unable to cope with the numbers. "The busiest ever day in the A&E ward", and this was on June 15th 2023, the middle of the summer, but not excessively hot.


Figure 34. My local newspaper, June 15th 2023.

There are also long delays of several hours before a patient requiring admission can be transferred to an appropriate inpatient ward.


Figure 35. UK numbers of Emergency patients waiting for transfer to a ward

We can see in Figure 35 that this has been a feature since the end of 2021.


The "Debate"

Those who raise alarms about possible vaccine damage are called "antivaxers", and there is much pressure to silence them.


Figure 36. UK: war against anti-vaxers


And also more direct action in social media against "anti-vaxers".

Figure 37. "Not to resist government mandates".

"Not to resist government mandates" is chilling.

There is no debate concerning the pathological mechanism and cause of excess deaths and serious illness, and suspicions of a causative role of vaccines is constantly suppressed. In the UK we can see the attendance in the House of Commons when time was given for a short debate on possible vaccine damage. Hardly an inspiring event, and YouTube showed a clip of members of parliament being actively sent out of the chamber. 

Figure 38. UK: House of Commons debate on possible vaccination damage


After more than 20 attempts, Andrew Brigden, a UK member of parliament, was granted an adjournment debate, late on a Friday afternoon. It took place on Friday October 20th. On this occasion there were about 20 members of parliament present. He gave a convincing presentation on the important topic of excess deaths, and this was followed by a feeble response from a junior government minister.

Figure 39. Andrew Brigden MP

The debate is published in the Parliamentary Hansard, and it is available to the public. There is also a YouTube of the debate, presented by John Campbell.

Figure 40. UK: Hansard report, House of Commons debate on excess deaths



The parliament of Australia made a decision concerning alleged vaccine damaged citizens.

Figure 41. Australia: Senate approach to possible vaccination damage


The "victims" were claimants, but investigation was denied. Hardly transparency.

But the UK government did accept an increase of "sick leave" to a 10 year high, and proposed an answer. 

Figure 42. UK: sick leave due to stress?


There had to some explanation to counter suspicions of vaccination damage. "Stress" is the old stand-by to explaining illness, but it is difficult to define and impossible to measure.

The obviously important policy was to keep the vaccination show on the road. 

Figure 43. UK: Pfizer images to promote vaccinations in 2023

Pfizer led the way with the Marvel characters. There is no time for reflection, despite obvious concerns, and no explanation of or interest in the second pandemic.

Could it be that multiple vaccinations might be the cause of the second pandemic, or might there be another credible possibility? Not hot weather or stress, but perhaps something that has a strong scientific foundation. 

Vitamin D and the Second Pandemic

Remember that an epidemic occurs in one country or one continent. When it occurs in all continents (except Antarctica) it is called a pandemic.

We have seen above that the second pandemic is a true pandemic. The strange thing is that an epidemic or pandemic is usually due to a specific disease or micro-organism, for example Covid-19. This is not the case with the second pandemic of the present decade. The pandemic is an excess of disabling illness and death in all ages, without a defined disease. Without an accurate official count, there appears to be several diseases that are in excess. 

The one that is officially accepted is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. It is usually the result of a virus, but the mechanism of the relationship to mRNA vaccination is not clear. The cardiac arrests that have occurred are sometimes reversed by prompt defibrillation, but many are fatal. There is usually no record of pre-existing heart disease.

There is also an increase of neurological disabling illness, such as Guillan-BarrĂ© syndrome, a paralytic neuropathy, and facial palsy. There is an increase in deaths from liver cirrhosis, not easy to understand. There is also a curious reduction of deaths from respiratory disease. 

There are convincing reports of an increase in cancer deaths, with activation of cancer in remission, and what have been called "turbo-cancers", very rapidly progressive. This subject has been brought to attention by Angus Dalgliesh, professor of oncology at St George's Hospital Medical School, London. He is a medical practitioner and scientist with a long and distinguished career. He has great experience and a great deal of knowledge to call upon. He has been interviewed at length by Dr John Campbell, and the interview is available on YouTube.

It is as though there is something fundamental that is occurring, that increases susceptibility to a number of diseases, fatal or not. 

There is a parallel and that is AIDS, in which T-cell immunity is suppressed leading to the development of a number of unusual and fatal infections and malignancies. it has been suggested in Australia that this is happening now, what we might call VAIDS, vaccine induced acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Figure 44. mRNA vaccines damage immunity, from Australia

It is possible that vitamin D deficiency is driving the immune deficiency, as we know that vitamin D is essential for defensive immunity and is a powerful stimulator of the vitally important T-cells.

It was just on September 22nd 2023 the the UK Government  released the information that during 2023 the incidence of tuberculosis, TB, has increased. This is likely to be the result of depressed immunity, especially T-cells, as has been a major feature of AIDS. Depression of immunity at the present time is likely to be a result of repeated mRNA vaccinations.


Figure 45. Increasing incidence of TB in the UK



 I have indicated previously that in the process of defensive immunity a molecule of vitamin D, in its activated form 1,25(OH)D, can be used only once, and then it is inactivated. With repeated infections, or vaccinations (which simulate infections so as to produce an immune response) the body supplies of vitamin D will become depleted. The result will be susceptibility to infections and malignancies.


Figure 46. Hypothetical effect on multiple vaccinations on blood levels of vitamin D

We can see in Figure 46 that the person represented by the blue line starts with a good blood level of vitamin D in its circulating form 25(OH)D, 40ng/ml, 100nmol/L. Despite repeated depletion by immune challenge, this person manages to maintain a blood level above the danger level of 10ng/ml, 50nmol/L.

The person represented by the green line starts of with a low blood level of only 20ng/ml, 50nmol/L, and repeated immune challenges, Covid-19 or vaccinations, soon cause very serious depletion of vitamin D to a level at which fatal illness would be inevitable.

The way to avoid this is to have a constant and adequate supply of vitamin D to maintain a good defensive blood level.

Figure 47. Benefit from vitamin D supplement


In Figure 47 the blue line person is receiving a continuous supplement of vitamin D, and so the depletion following infection or vaccination is rapidly corrected. A good blood level of vitamin D is maintained. The green line person without the vitamin D supplement does not have a good future.

This is a theoretical model but perfectly credible. Appropriate research to confirm or refute the suggestion could easily have been undertaken during the Covid-19 pandemic, but to my knowledge the perhaps unique opportunity has been missed.

There is no official acknowledgment of the value of vitamin D in defensive immunity, despite the knowledge from forty years of research plus a wealth of evidence accumulated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This can only be regarded as serious neglect, with many lives lost as a consequence.