To stop COVID, help poor people, data shows.

Cell-phone data from the spring of 2020 shows that poorer people moved around more, and spent more time in public places, early in the pandemic, making them more likely to catch and spread COVID-19. To stop the pandemic, we must make it possible for poor people to stay home, like rich people do.

People with lower incomes can’t stay home because they need to go to their jobs, which cannot be performed remotely. When they go out to get what they need – for groceries, for example – the places they go are more crowded, allowing the disease to spread. If we want to control the disease, we need to help the poor.

Finding ways to help people stay home could help erase differences in people’s movements based on their income. In the Chicago metro area, overall visits to public places plummeted 54% in March, but in April people living in the lower-income neighborhoods were 27% more likely to travel to public places than people from higher-income neighborhoods. The authors said the gap probably reflects frontline workers holding jobs that could not be performed remotely.

Beyond capping occupancy at grocery stores, the scientists urge policymakers to open emergency food distribution centers. They also advocated for free, widely available testing in high-risk neighborhoods. To improve the lives of people who can’t work from home, they recommend better paid leave policy or income support so people can stay home when they are sick.

These humane and fundamental measures are unlikely to occur in the U.S. The government’s policy is not to take care of people, but rather to keep them on the edge of survival so they’re easier to control. The pandemic has revealed the hazards of this brutal and commonplace injustice.

No income, no peace.

Working people in Europe are ignoring lockdown orders because they fear starving in their homes. Government plans have proven so inept or misguided that people no longer believe that following instructions will save them.

“Across the continent, there is similar evidence of people facing dire economic hardship and psychological exhaustion. Earlier this month, a study from the World Health Organization reported widespread apathy and reduced motivation to follow public health guidance. The emotional toll of Covid-19 has been compounded by a growing scepticism in the capacity of governments to truly get on top of a crisis that is destroying people’s livelihoods as well as threatening their health.”

We will have the same reaction here in the U.S. as the winter sets in, but worse! Our national government has no plan, and is actively interfering in science-based efforts to control the pandemic. Biden’s promised task force may issue decent advice, but it has no resources to deploy and no power to compel compliance. It will be a tough winter.

Does Vitamin D protect against COVID-19?

Does Vitamin D protect against COVID-19? We don’t know. Maybe. Probably? We hope so! In any case, everyone should be taking a supplement, on the order of 2,000-4,000 I.U. (International Units) per day.

Low levels of Vitamin D are correlated with greater risk of COVID-19 infection and with more severe disease. Studies have shown that people who test positive for COVID-19 have lower levels of Vitamin D in their blood. Also, people who get more severe disease (i.e. need hospital care) have lower levels of Vitamin D.

These studies do not prove, however, that insufficiency of Vitamin D is the cause of  infection or severe disease. Read More »