Covid19 UK & Europe Models, Strategy & Advice LIVE
Dr Gareth (Gruff) Davies
PhD Medical Physics, Imperial College, London; Codex World’s Top 50 Innovator; Machine Learning & Data Scientist, Software Engineer; Award-winning Serial Tech Entrepreneur; I have more than three decades of complex system modelling experience with a science and medical background. I also worked for 2 years as a consultant at the NHS Modernisation Agency and The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, so I know a little about how the NHS works from the inside.
Public permalink to this document: bit.ly/Covid19LIVE
Model Drivers & Assumptions and FRAQs (for models prior to 24th March)
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Update: my research project investigating seasonal mimicry as possible combat routes has now been closed and replaced with our findings. A 2-page summary of this report can be found here for medical professionals only: bit.ly/VitDCovid19SummaryShort
Update 2020-03-23 - call to medical scientists and ICUs (note: this is not for general public consumption):
Evidence strongly suggests Vitamin D supplements could be effective in preventing Covid-19, and play a key role in treating patients if added to existing treatment plans, especially if this is done early in the disease progression.
NB: advice and strategic summary were written 14th March prior to UK Gov action. I will update these in due course now more is understood about the disease,
Up-to-date Advice for individuals:
The UK needs to be in PROACTIVE lock down NOW.
1. Stay home unless you absolutely have to leave. Work from home (if you can). [update: the UK Gov now supports this position]
1. Make sure you still exercise and if it’s sunny, get fresh air and sunshine. Just practise social distancing. Use your garden if you have one. You can go for walks, just stay 2m from other people that you don’t already cohabit with.
2. Don’t meet in groups larger than 6 (no pubs, restaurants, sports gatherings etc.) [update: Gov announced schools to close Friday - welcome news]
1. I would make stronger recommendations now to avoid all social contact until further notice. Hopefully only for the next few weeks.
3. Use virtual conferencing, the internet, and try to find ways to continue life as normal as possible without moving. Find ways to support your local businesses to continue to operate.
4. Don’t take Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) - use paracetamol instead. (See why)
5. Increase your hygiene levels. Wash hands at least every hour, before and after leaving the house when you must. Wipe down anything coming into the house from outside, including post, food and drinks.
6. Don’t panic. The majority of people are not at risk. The reason for these precautions is to safeguard those that are. Be socially responsible. Fear and panic are not the same thing.
7. Take a vitamin D3 supplement - now is not a good time to be Vitamin D deficient:
1. 2020-03-27 update: breaking news from Turin, Italy confirms what we have suspected, “The first preliminary data collected in these days in Turin indicate that patients hospitalized for Covid-19 have a very high prevalence of Hypovitaminosis D” (Google translated English news)
2. Vitamin D supplements of between 400iu to 1,000iu per day are safe and probably a good idea anyway: “the intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates” (And Gandini n.d.)
3. After a long, dark winter people in the northern hemisphere are very likely to be Vitamin D deficient and may benefit from taking a short-term higher dose (I take 4,000iu per day currently and will reduce this to 2,000iu and then 1,000iu as summer approaches). Anyone with a pre-existing condition should check to see if this is safe for them. If you live in a tropical or southern hemisphere country you are probably okay right now.
4. For healthy young individuals, NICE recommendations advise “all adults living in the UK, including people at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, should take a daily supplement containing 400 international units (IU [10 micrograms]) of vitamin D throughout the year, including in the winter months”.
5. “The upper tolerable limit, defined as the highest level of daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population, for vitamin D3 is 1000 IU/d in infants ages 0–6 months, 1500 IU/d in infants ages 6–12 months; 2500 IU/d in children ages 1–5 years; 3000 IU/d in children ages 4–8 years, and 4000 IU/d in adolescents and adults” (Tebben, Singh, and Kumar 2016)
6. Young people with known Vitamin D deficiency and those older than 60 and should supplement with 2,000iu/d during winter. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN, 2016) does not recommend routine monitoring of serum vitamin D levels during long-term supplementation with vitamin D. Furthermore, expert opinion in the National Osteoporosis Guideline Group 2017 (NOG 2017) is that routine monitoring of serum 25(OH)D levels is unnecessary for people on long-term maintenance doses of vitamin D (up to 2000 IU a day).
7. Please note prolonged supplementation at higher levels carries a risk of hypercalcaemia (Contraindications, British National Formulary) and should only be undertaken with professional advice.
8. If you are able to get exposure to natural sunlight then your body will synthesize Vitamin D and you are less likely to need supplements to maintain healthy levels.
UK Strategic Summary
Note: this is looking a little out of date now. I wrote it on 12 March. We have taken appropriate action since so we need to continue with lockdown.
1. We need to throw as much water on the fire now when it will make a difference to slow the accel