Op-Ed: Don't Let COVID-19 Patients Die With Vitamin D Deficiency | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Op-Ed: Don't Let COVID-19 Patients Die With Vitamin D Deficiency

The U.S. is breaking new records in the number of daily deaths from COVID-19. The breakneck speed with which several vaccines have been developed and deployed is nothing short of breathtaking. Yet we still have to confront the grim prediction that our national death toll will exceed 500,000 Americans before widespread vaccinations can dig us out of this crisis. The response to the pandemic, therefore, should include an effort to aggressively eliminate what is becoming apparent as a morbidity and mortality risk factor in COVID-19 -- vitamin D deficiency.

For any COVID-19 risk factor, like obesity, hypertension, or diabetes, strong correlational data is sufficient to inform clinical care, as in Surgeon General Luther Terry's 1964 Report on Smoking and Health. This groundbreaking publication, which has saved tens of millions of lives from lung cancer, was based on a causation analysis by an advisory committee. The team reviewed existing data and drew on the work of Sir Austin Bradford Hill and Sir Richard Doll who had examined the increase in lung cancer cases in the U.K. Hill later outlined the standards that were the result of their inquiry, now known as Hill's criteria for causation. He surmised that correlational data can be used to infer causality by satisfying various criteria such as consistency, specificity, temporality, and dose-responsiveness. Vitamin D deficiency, associated with deleterious effects on innate and adaptive immunity, has many small but growing datasets that satisfy all of Hill's criteria as a risk factor for severe COVID-19. And unlike other risk factors, it can be acutely modified.