The CDC has released preliminary guidance for adults who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The guidance outlines what activities fully vaccinated adults can safely do at this stage when still the majority of the population have yet to be vaccinated. By definition, “fully vaccinated” means 2 weeks since receiving the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine OR the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. What do public health experts think about the guidance? In my case, while I’m fully vaccinated as of Thursday I am still wearing my mask and taking other precautions when in public!
An interesting question which will require additional research is whether vitamin D may play a role in COVID-19. Vitamin D is known to be essential to immune function. Some initial research suggests that vitamin D may reduce COVID-19 severity by suppressing the cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients. Vitamin D deficiency is more common among persons with naturally dark skin. The pigment (melanin) in dark skin doesn’t absorb as much UV radiation, which stimulates natural skin production of vitamin D. This may contribute to an explanation for why African-American and Latinos in the US are more likely to become infected with SARS-CoV2 and experience more severe COVID-19, including being more likely to die from the disease.
A recent study of 14,000 members of an Israeli HMO who were tested for SARS-CoV2 infection from February 1st to April 30th, 2020, and who had at least one previous blood test for plasma vitamin D levels found that low plasma vitamin D levels were associated with an increased likelihood of COVID-19 infection and of hospitalization due to COVID-19.
Undoubtedly more research will continue to shed light (excuse the pun) on this topic.
That is one of the (many) million dollar questions during this COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever the answer, public health recommendations to wear masks and keep distance from others are both necessary and precautionary as cases continue to rise in the United States. An excellent review of the science by Jayaweera et al. is found here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935120307143?via%3Dihub. Conclusion: we need more research to understand the virus as well as to make evidence-based decisions around prevention.
Friday, June 19, 2020 at 11:00 AM
As we arrive at the 6-month mark from when the world was first introduced to SARS-CoV2 from its origins in Hubei province, China, scientists, medical doctors and public health professionals have been working at a frenzied pace to understand the new virus. This webinar will review what is currently known about the epidemiology COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and discuss what we still need to learn. The presentation will include an overview of core concepts in epidemiology which we will apply to our discussion.
To watch a recording of the webinar: https://tinyurl.com/ycwe4uqa