Vitamin D may not protect against COVID-19, as previously suggested

Press release:

While previous research early in the pandemic suggested that vitamin D cuts the risk of contracting COVID-19, a new study from McGill University finds there is no genetic evidence that the vitamin works as a protective measure against the coronavirus.

“Vitamin D supplementation as a public health measure to improve outcomes is not supported by this study. Most importantly, our results suggest that investment in other therapeutic or preventative avenues should be prioritized for COVID-19 randomized clinical trials,” say the authors.

To assess the relationship between vitamin D levels and COVID-19 susceptibility and severity, the researchers conducted a Mendelian randomization study using genetic variants strongly associated with increased vitamin D levels. They looked at genetic variants of 14,134 individuals with COVID-19 and over 1.2 million individuals without the disease from 11 countries.

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Political partisanship has had outsized influence on individual social mobility during COVID-19 pandemic

Partisan pandemic: How partisanship and public health concerns affect individuals’ social mobility during COVID-19

Press release:

In the United States, political partisanship has played a much stronger role in individuals’ decisions to limit their social mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic than the local incidence of the disease in their own communities, according to a new survey-based study of 1,135,638 million responses collected between April 4 and September 10, 2020 via Survey Monkey from randomly chosen people. The analysis, based on an average of 6,744 responses daily during the study period, suggests partisanship has been roughly 27 times more important than local COVID-19 prevalence for explaining individual mobility. In addition, Joshua Clinton and colleagues also found that self-identified Democrats were 13.1% less likely to be socially mobile compared with independents, while Republicans were 27.8% more likely to be mobile. Notably, this gulf widened over time, driven largely by increasing unwillingness on the part of self-identified Republicans to limit their mobility. The researchers weighted each day’s sample cohort to be representative of the country’s adult population using current estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Each survey asked respondents to identify their political affiliation (Democrat, Republican, or Independent) and to report whether, in the preceding 24 hours, they had engaged in activities such as going to a restaurant, visiting family or friends, taking a walk, exercising, getting groceries, receiving medical care, or going to work. While the analysis primarily focused on the daily aggregate of all such activities, the researchers also found similar trends among individual activities as well, and further noted that the gap was even more pronounced when looking at riskier, voluntary activities such as eating at a restaurant or visiting with family or friends. “These differences have tremendous consequences for the ability of the United States to limit the spread of COVID-19,” the authors write, further noting that their results “add to a growing consensus that partisanship is a key factor in explaining behavior and attitudes surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Researchers rank various mask protection, modifications against COVID-19

Medical procedure mask and modifications designed to enhance mask fit or comfort for the wearer. A mask w/ear loops (A) modified by tying the ear loops and tucking in the side pleats (B), attaching ear loops to a 3D-printed “ear guard” (C), fastening ear loops with a 23mm claw-type hair clip placed behind the wearer’s head (D), placing ring of three, ganged, rubber bands over the mask and around the wearer’s ears (E), and sliding a 10-inch segment of nylon hosiery over the fitted mask (F).

Press Release:

CHAPEL HILL, NC – It’s been shown that when two people wearing masks interact, the chance of COVID-19 transmission is drastically reduced. This is why public health officials have pleaded for all people to wear masks: they not only protect the wearer from expelling particles that might carry SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), but masks also protect the wearer from inhaling particles that carry the virus. Some people, though, still refuse to wear a mask. So UNC School of Medicine scientists, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, researched the protectiveness of various kinds of consumer-grade and modified masks, assuming the mask wearer was exposed to the virus, like when we interact with an unmasked infected person.

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