Usually medical interventions require testing before being released to the public. This is to demonstrate that the intervention/treatment works and that it does not cause unacceptable side effects. There have been many drugs over the years that have not made it to market for failing one or two of these basic requirements. There have also been medications withdrawn from the market when serious adverse effects emerged.
As I have written previously, public health interventions are not subjected to the same degree of rigour. The textbook example of this is the introduction of the low-fat dietary guidelines in the early 1980’s with no basis to do so. The results after nearly 40 years is plain to see – increased rates of obesity and type two diabetes and other related conditions.
When Covid-19 emerged earlier this year actions needed to be taken without much knowledge. This is understandable. When the severity of the virus, its infectiousness and lethality were not known, one can see why governments would act on the side of extreme caution.
There was no time for trials of what might work. Adverse effects were not even a consideration. However, it is now some six months since the pandemic began. We don’t know everything, but we know a lot more than we did in February or March.
Without formal organisation there have been a number of trials run in different countries. Some have locked down, others not or to a much lesser degree. Some countries have used hydroxychloroquine, others have not. Other clues have emerged by “accident”.
Data from the USA shows that 40% of deaths occurred in people with diabetes. UK data also identifies metabolic problems as present in over 30%. Boris Johnson opined that he was “too fat” and needed to take steps to change that.
In Australia the mean age of death from Covid19 is 82 – which is the same as the average life expectancy. The vast majority of these have been in residents of aged care facilities who had multiple other medical illnesses.
Last year in Australia over 800 people died from influenza – most of these had a similar medical profile to the over 250 Covid ones this year.
Data shows countries where us of hydroxychloroquine is banned have higher fatality rates than those where it is used. This could be coincidental or maybe other factors are at play. The use of zinc in combination with either hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin may be a factor. We know that zinc with vitamin C has been shown to be helpful with cold like illnesses.
The hostility to the possible use of these treatments is difficult to understand.
Meanwhile much faith is put in a vaccine which does not and may never exist. There has never been a vaccine for a Corona virus. Given the timeline, we cannot know how effective it will be, or for how long, or whether there are serious adverse effects in an unacceptable number of people. We all hope for the best.
We know that the effectiveness of seasonal flu vaccine is between 20 and 60% with an average of 40%. Will similar figures for a Covid19 vaccine be enough.? Will an annual shot be needed as with flu vaccine?
A development that concerns me in the current situation is the lack of questioning of government edicts. We are told to listen to the experts as if these people are never wrong. We can follow requirements whilst still being questioning.
We can certainly expect governments which restrict freedoms and threaten citizens to at least competently execute that which they are directly responsible for. Victoria has failed this test but yet government continues to blame the citizens. NSW shows us how to admit error (Ruby Princess) and resist extreme measures.
Almost daily, new evidence emerges on the harmful effect of lockdown. This includes increase self-harm and suicide but also delay in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and families separated from loved ones. Loneliness is a known factor in all-cause mortality.
The longer lockdowns continue, the more apparent it is that they are not the solution. Tracing and tracking of cases, isolation of actual cases and protection (as best possible) of the vulnerable is what works. Real life experience around the world shows us this. Add good personal hygiene, staying away from others when unwell and physical distancing and we have a model for living with the virus – which is not going to go away or be eliminated.
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases and is an advisor to Reed Medical Conferences.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA.