Public health should be more proactive

I am very concerned about the present Covid-19 situation and also the wider implications of it when we come out of lockdown on December 2. Case rates are significantly higher in Swindon than the rest of Wiltshire and a level 3 classification is looming unless things improve quickly with all the negative consequences that will have on the town. People here don`t need to be reminded of the imminent loss of Honda, which further influences the grave situation we find ourselves in. 88 cases, alone on November 12 were reported, which prompted this letter.

While I no longer work in the medical area I did work in medical research for a number of years so I do feel I am able to give an opinion, uninfluenced by current government policy, as an informed layman.

It should be abundantly clear by now that schools and colleges are vectors of transmission. Also that children can and do spread Covid-19. The latest example is Lethbridge school but there have been so many others. Education is important but is there not an overwhelming case that the Christmas school holidays should be extended to four weeks this year? Exams have been pushed forward three weeks so disruption should be minimal but public health benefits could be significant.

There is growing support from a variety of medical expert to promote Vitamin D Supplements. Many studies have suggested that adequate vitamin D levels can mitigate Covid 19. Is it not worth promoting this? Similarly other components of a healthy immune system such as Zinc could be discussed but never are. Prevention has to better than cure.

In Germany there are significantly less cases and deaths than the UK. There a large part of the public health campaign revolves around adequate ventilation. As an example school windows are open at regular intervals in Germany. I have also seen school buses go past with all the windows closed. This is simple common sense but seems to have been forgotten in the hands face space mantra.

Finally why is more emphasis not put on the fact that wearing a mask protects the wearer not just others? It might encourage more compliance if that aspect was emphasized. I think the public health team needs to not just repeat government guidance but be more proactive: Our death rate is one of the worst in Europe so that suggests the advice we are getting from central government and NICE is far from perfect. We need to learn from experts at home and successful policy abroad and do the right things. People`s lives are depending on it before the vaccine arrives so I urge urgent consideration of these points by those locally responsible,

Jonathan Sheldrake