Vitamin D’s lookin’ good here

Black people are more than four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white people, according to stark official figures exposing a dramatic divergence in the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in England and Wales.

The Office of National Statistics found that the difference in the virus’s impact was caused not only by pre-existing differences in communities’ wealth, health, education and living arrangements.

It discovered that after taking into account age, measures of self-reported health and disability and other socio-demographic characteristics, black people were still almost twice as likely as white people to die a Covid-19-related death.

Bangladeshi and Pakistani males were 1.8 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white males, after other pre-existing factors had been accounted for, and females from those ethnic groups were 1.6 times more likely to die from the virus than their white counterparts.

The risk of Covid-19 death for people from Chinese and mixed ethnic groups was found to be similar to that for white people.

We’ve medical types here – whadda you say, Vitamin D a candidate?

56 thoughts on “Vitamin D’s lookin’ good here”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    I’ve been having a spat on the sailing forum I use. I mentioned going out and getting my Vit D up and was accused of spreading fake news. The basis was a 10 year old article that said Vit D didn’t boost the immune system. Since then we’ve had the usual back an forth and he used the risk of hypervitaminosis D as why I shouldn’t be encouraging people to up their Vit D. When I looked in to it I’d have to take 75 of my prescription Vit D tablets a day for several months to get any symptoms. That’s 150 a day OTC tablets.

    He’s still going on, finding ever more obscure papers, so it would be good if anyone has any good research on it.

  2. Long before the Wuhan plague there was a decent case that most of us are deficient in Vit D in winter – and quite possibly in summer too. Indeed for years the NHS advice has been to supplement with Vit D.

    By “us” I mean white people living at a high latitude in a cloudy climate. If you turn to people with dark skin and a settled disposition not to go out in the sun much – or to go out wrapped in tattie sacks – then presumably the problem may be worse. Quite how you distinguish this effect from a greater vulnerability to high blood pressure and diabetes, I don’t know. But I’d have thought that given time and enough data statisticians would be able to make the distinction. (The last statistician I knew was bright as a button, bless her.)

    I suppose that if such hypothetical statisticians were to conclude that there’s a bit of unexplained variance that might usefully be attributed simply to “genetics” then it would be interesting to see how mealy-mouthed they’d try to be in reporting their results. After all, race is a social construct, innit?

  3. Your comments service is misbehaving again, Tim. I can’t be commenting too quickly if I attempt my first comment of the day.

    Also, when eventually it seemed to accept the comment it hasn’t chosen to display it.

  4. “..whadda you say, Vitamin D a candidate?”

    Get with the programme; clearly the cause is white supremacy.

  5. “Get with the programme; clearly the cause is white supremacy.”

    And in-ek-wally-dee! Stands to reason, dunnit?

  6. Bind

    ISTM,there are two separate claims about vitamin D:

    1.People with vitamin D deficiency are more susceptible to infection
    2.Vitamin D supplements boost immunity.

    1. is likely to be true, given that any vitamin deficiency weakens the human organism.
    2. needs more investigation. Does taking more vitamin D than the RDA boost immunity more than merely the RDA? Or does taking vitamin D supplements only increase immunity in those who were deficient?

  7. I’d recommend getting your vitamin D the natural way, from exposure to the sun. The prescription I have requires it to be done between two nubile blondes.

  8. What about Indians? Apparently there’s 1.4m people of Indian heritage in the UK, why aren’t they mentioned alongside Pakistanis and Bangladeshis? I appreciate there’s lots of ethnicities within the subcontinent, but surely Indians fit in the same broad ethnic group as Pakistanis and Bangladeshis?
    So, is Islam’s fault or does the Guardian not care about Indians as they don’t come under its eternal victimhood edict?

  9. Bloke in North Dorset


    Indians tend to be self more reliant, especially the ones thrown out by Idi Amin, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a large proportion, maybe even a majority, of them who vote conservative.

  10. I’ve read that sitting in a conservatory in a care home in the sun doesn’t get you that Vit-D generating bonus. Reason is that most types of glass stop the UV you want directly on your skin. Also, have read that people living in Italy, Spain and Switzerland are often Vit-D deficient at end of winter – do they tend to spend time in the shade or behind glass as you’d think it would be easier to get your sunshine dose in those places.

  11. Sunshine doesn’t just build vitamin D; it also lowers blood pressure, and it could have other effects as yet unknown. Whether blood pressure affects Covid-19 mortality remains hotly debated.

    There is a lot of contrary evidence about vitamin D; here’s a nice review:

    The same ONS report claims that Chinese have a lower chance of dying of Covid-19; yet they normally live at far lower latitudes than us Brits. (Beijing is at the same latitude as Corfu).

  12. The Meissen Bison

    The report in the DT has different numbers:
    Bangladeshi/Pakistani M 3.6×
    Bangladeshi/Pakistani F 3.4×
    Indian M 2.4×
    Indian F 2.7×

    Why the distinction between Indian and Pakistani/Bangladeshi?
    How ethnically/genetically/what have you do Indians differ from Pakistanis or Bangladeshis?
    Why are Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who come from opposite sides of the subcontinent similar while simultaneously different from the people in between those countries?
    Why are Indian women more susceptible than their menfolk while the Pakistani women are not? (The DM has the numbers the other way round with Indian men on 2.7×)

    It seems odd to generate statistics which pose more questions than they answer although journalists can produce right-on stories on the back of an ONS press-release without much effort. With the predictable quote:

    Dawn Grant, the founder and CEO of, a forum focused on poverty, business, wealth and finance among black communities, described the ONS data as “truly shocking”.

    “Those figures are very, very sad,” she said. “They’re tragic, in fact. Black people tend to be on the front line, with the jobs facing Covid, and are more likely to run and help.”

    That last bit is a perfect Abbottism (West indian mums etc.)

  13. Dennis, Who Does Not Play A Doctor On TV

    Anecdotal: After two bouts of walking pneumonia in three years I added 50 mcg of D3 daily to my vitamin regimen and haven’t had a note-worthy cold in ten years, much less the flu or walking pneumonia. As soon as the virus raised its ugly head, I put my wife on D3 as well.

    Was I deficient back in the day? Probably. I am a pasty white boy who sits at a desk all day long.

  14. Pakistani and bangladeshi “Black” ? That’s a new one to me…

    As for their susceptibility.. Wouldn’t surprise me.. Would take days. if not weeks to research the relevant data, but my bet is on that rather prominent mountain range/desert combo they’ve sat under since ages, and migratory bird patterns. Especially the ones that we now know are a major vector for natural virus spread.
    So millennia of less/different exposure to stuff we and the “chinese” are used to….

    As for vitamin D… Brit weather is generally so dismal, even caucasians are prone to suffering vit.D shortage. Used to be no problem due to the prominence of fish in the diet. Nowadays….
    Being dark brown really doesn’t help in that respect, and I can’t recall that Pakistani/Bangh cuisine is known for their fish dishes. Goat, yes. Fish… not so much.. And a vitD deficiency does do a number on your defenses. So that may play a factor as well.

    Taking supplements… Well… D, C and a couple of the others do play a role in the first line of defense. If only because a healthy body tends to take care of things before they get out of hand. So taking a proper multivitamin supplement in combination with a semblance of a healthy diet would raise the bar against developing symptoms considerably, even when you do get infected.

    Is it the Shotgun we’re looking for? Nope..

  15. “Actually, bigots, race is a social construct.”

    Actually, societies are racial constructs.

  16. Bongo

    I’m guessing, but if they are Club Med darkies, they’ve adapted, so not that unusual? Presumably, it’s when you go out of the latitude of your adapted skin type that we are then different to normal. Brits to Spain, good news, darker heading north means problems?


    Is your GP’s list still open?

  17. @TMB – the contradictions you mention suggest the whole thing is a load of bollocks.

    Dawn Grant, the founder and CEO of, a forum focused on poverty, business, wealth and finance among black communities, described the ONS data as “truly shocking”.

    Of course she did. Hustlers gotta hustle.

  18. Also, of course, 4 times more than what?

    I read an article the other day claiming obese people were 37% more likely to die but never was it mentioned what the bang average chance of dying is.

    I suspect when the full results are in we’ll find that 99% of the victims were either elderly or ill (actually ill, not just ‘at risk’) or both.

    If you are under 60 and don’t have any medical conditions your chance of dying from COVID-19 is basically fuck all, no matter how fat and dusky you are.

  19. “…yet they normally live at far lower latitudes than us Brits. (Beijing is at the same latitude as Corfu).”

    It does get cold in the winter though. like Madrid and Tokyo.

  20. Dawn Grant, the founder and CEO of

    But where are the experts in afrophysics and niggonometry?

  21. Bloke in North Dorset

    Like Dennis I haven’t had a cold or flu since the doc prescribed Vit D. I wa very very low when they do a blood test.

  22. Have they accounted for WHERE they live, high density urban areas, where they form a much larger share of the population?

    areas with high ethnic minority populations in England and Wales tended to have higher mortality rates in the pandemic.

    These areas also happening to be being very high density urban areas, I.e. cities.

    Vitamin D deficiency is a possibility but my money is on there being not much difference between ethnic minority infection percentage and their percentage of the population in the areas most affected.

  23. @MC there’s a graph on Hector Drummonds site showing deaths split by those with other health conditions and those with none
    Confirms your belief that old and already sick is the key issue.

  24. Still, if it turns out that Vitamin D is significant it makes all those instances of Plod harassing people daring to sunbathe on their own, outdoors, look even more asinine.

  25. @rob when they first published the numbers I looked at the ethnic breakdown for London instead of the entire U.K. old census figure they used in the article; it accounted for most, but not all of the difference if you used the London latest estimates for ethnic split instead of the U.K. whole.
    This piece of investigation took me all of 10mins so there’s no surprise the MSM missed the possibility. Now I get this isn’t a proper analysis, but it at least supports the hypothesis that where you live is a factor and has to be considered along with race.
    As for Pakistan/Bangladesh higher rates of TB in those communities may explain differences vs Indian communities.

  26. ” when they first published the numbers I looked at the ethnic breakdown for London instead of the entire U.K. old census figure they used in the article; it accounted for most, but not all of the difference if you used the London latest estimates for ethnic split instead of the U.K. whole.”

    Would those estimates take into account the illegals? Whatever the official estimate of the non-white % of the London population you can bet your bottom dollar its actually higher due to illegals.

  27. “does the Guardian not care about Indians as they don’t come under its eternal victimhood edict?”

    Indians have gone off plantation and started voting Tory, so they’re the wrong sort of brown people now. Probably all racist nationalist bigots to boot. Whats the brown version of gammons? Smokey bacons?

  28. In a more perfect world, Public Health England would have a definitive position on this rather than ‘take enough to not get rickets’. The NHS too. Some late data points to vit D deficiency being a common denominator in covid serious cases. ‘Our NHS’ is still sending symptomatic patients home to wait until they get worse. There’s a reason we have a high death rate compared to comparable countries. No doubt lessons will be learned.

  29. Police racism. People sunbathing in parks are white. Police hassling people sunbathing in parks are obviously racist. I rest my case.

  30. If it’s a numbers game:
    Low exposure to virus kick starts immune response without illness
    High exposure overwhelms immune response, with sickness and sometimes death
    Moderate exposure can go either way depending on the general health of the subject

    High exposure more likely in winter, indoors especially if in poorly vented accommodation
    In spring we open the windows, in summer we walk, run or sit outdoors.
    Viral concentration is very low in the fresh air.

    Florence Nightingale was on to something when she insisted on good ventilation at Scutari.

  31. Hey, I wonder if screwing up your children’s DNA by marrying your first cousin could have something to do with it?

  32. The reliable Prof Spiegelhalter has pointed out that contracting symptomatic Covid-19 roughly doubles your mortality risk over the next 12 months. An average 40yo woman has a 1/1,100 chance of dying before her 41st birthday, and so would have a similar chance of dying from Covid. An 80yo man has a 1/43 chance of dying within a year, but (of course) much greater than that if they’ve got some underlying condition(s).

  33. Richard West, Wales

    Trumpoe the incompetent, and the eurosceptic Tories have failed their respective nations on the virus crisis. The United Kingdom now has the highest death toll in Europe. While Farage’s bleach injecting hero Trump has led the USA to be number one on the World for the coronavirus. He did say he would make America great again. Well at least they are number one at something.
    They said leaving the European Union would solve all our problems. Well they cannot blame the EU for this. It was all the Tories and Trumpoe the Incompetent.

    The UK and USA had time on their side, yet still failed. How pathetic, and incompetent can the Tories and Trump be. I see Farage is trying to blame immigrants for the virus now because no other country has immigrants I presume.
    This is what happens when you put idiots in charge.

  34. Richard West, Wales – REEEEEEE!

    Deaths per 1m

    1) San Marino – 1,208
    2) Belgium – 735
    3) Andorra – 608
    4) Spain – 562
    5) Italy – 500
    6) Britain – 460
    7) France – 398


    13) USA – 235

  35. @ Richard West, Wales
    The UK does NOT have the highest death rate in Europe and almost certainly does not have the greatest number of Civid-19 deaths in total because its numbers are more inclusive than several other countries and are clearly an overstatement because they include people who have died of other causes who have tested positive for Covid-19 and people who are suspected by the doctor to be infected with Covid-19 (irrespective of the actual cause of death) but have not been tested.
    The Eurosceptic minority of Tory voters (UKIP and Labour formed a majority of “Leave” voters) did NOT say leaving the EU would solve all our problems – they said it would get rid of ONE of our problems.

  36. Richard West, Wales

    That sounds like something the sickoe Stalin would say.
    One death is a tragedy, 1 million deaths is a statistic.
    Are you completely fooled by right wing propaganda, that actual death totals don’t matter?

  37. Richard West, Wales

    Now you are bei9ng a conspiracy theorist to justify the higher death totals. You must have been injecting yourself with bleach again.

  38. Richard, good thing Britain didn’t let international flights from China and other Wu-Flu hotspots continue, whilst arguing that everyone else be locked down in their homes. That would be obtuse..

  39. Can we talk about the damn elephant in the room? What about LEFT HANDERS ?!?! Are they doing worse or better?

  40. 1) Lombardy begs to differ on the basic premise (as do other areas)
    2) so what? Is the virus rascist? Maybe we should ban it? I’m sure a bunch of celebrities complaining will solve this

  41. ‘Black people are more than four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white people’

    Yes, the premise is grossly wrong. The virus is having little impact on sub-Saharan Africa.

  42. re: The Vitamin D Paradox

    By the current blood test for vitamin D, most African-Americans are deficient. That can lead to weak bones. So many doctors prescribe supplement pills to bring their levels up.

    But the problem is with the test, not the patients, according to a new study. The vast majority of African-Americans have plenty of the form of vitamin D that counts — the type their cells can readily use.

    The research resolves a long-standing paradox.

    “The population in the United States with the best bone health happens to be the African-American population,” says Dr. Ravi Thadhani, a professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and lead author of the study. “But almost 80 percent of these individuals are defined as having vitamin D deficiency. This was perplexing.”

    The origin of this paradox is a fascinating tale of genes interacting with geography. More on that later.

    To unravel the mystery, Thadhani and his colleagues looked closely at various forms of vitamin D in the blood of 2,085 Baltimore residents, black and white. They focused on a form of the vitamin called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which makes up most of the vitamin circulating in the blood. It’s the form that the standard test measures.

    The 25-hydroxy form is tightly bound to a protein, and as a result, bone cells, immune cells and other tissues that need vitamin D can’t take it up. It has to be converted by the kidneys into a form called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.

    For Caucasians, blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D are a pretty good proxy for how much of the bioavailable vitamin they have. But not for blacks.

    That’s because blacks have only a quarter to a third as much of the binding protein, Thadhani says. So the blood test for the 25-hydroxy form is misleading. His study finds that because of those lower levels of the protein, blacks still have enough of the bioavailable vitamin, which explains why their bones look strong even though the usual blood tests say they shouldn’t.

    “The conclusion from this study is that just because your total levels are low, it doesn’t mean we need to replace vitamin D” using supplements, Thadhani says. The study was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.


  43. Gamecock,

    My southpaw wife is sat at the other end of the sofa, hale and hearty, so it appears the answer to your question is “they are doing just as well as normal people.”

    The same conclusion can be drawn for redheads.

  44. The Meissen Bison

    MC: the contradictions you mention suggest the whole thing is a load of bollocks.

    Yes, it looks that way but how depressing that the media just serve up this junk in the guise of news.

  45. Hats off to Professor Lockdown-Pantsdown for taking so much into account in his model: ethnicity, gender, body weight, housing density, various pre-existing conditions, who was arriving into the UK and from where, and so much more.

  46. What have I been posting for two months?

    Oh yes:

    Whites & Yellows much less at risk. Gov’ts must be ‘racist’ and tell blacks & browns they have a much, much higher risk of dying from Wuhan Virus

    Even here, mostly ignored or accused of being racist.

    Gov’ts/Pols (& NHS, PHE etc decided better to stay silent and let them die than be accused of Racism – with the one exception being Trump

    PHE – You know it’s useless
    Public Health Canada as useless & wrong as PHE

  47. @BiND

    Pcar 28 April
    COVID Update – Focus on Vitamin D
    Makes more sense than all the Left’s racist virus, UK deprivation & poverty etc rubbish.

    Maybe we should stop importing them as it increases their virus death rate


    RoPs marry their cousins, that’s the difference


    The “Where they live” etc is not a factor, the vulnerability applies world-wide and “Red Indians” & Hispanics also at much higher risk

    It Genes dear boy, Genes


    Illegals? More arriving every day, watch Nigels other vids

    Nigel Farage’s VE Day message

  48. @ Richard West, Wales
    You lied. So you accuse me of being Stalinist when I politely (just in case it was down to honest ignorance) point out that you are wrong. That demonstrates that you lack honest intent and I now say “Liar”

  49. Are you completely fooled by right wing propaganda, that actual death totals don’t matter?

    Contrary to your straw man, nobody has ever claimed that deaths don’t matter, only that they’re the wrong indicator to judge how any particular health system is performing*. The US has had more Covid deaths than Andorra. Wrap a wet towel round your head and try to work out why that might be. (Hint: It isn’t necessarily because ORANGE MAN BAD.)

    * But they can be very handy for leftists to support their pre-formed conclusions.

  50. Excellent article
    The Grand Delusion Bail-out billions shield us from the reality – our economy is in tatters. Boris MUST [end lockdown] stop us sinking into a new depression, argues Dr John Lee
    Dr John Lee is a former Professor of Pathology at Hull York Medical School and a recently retired NHS consultant

    @Richard West, Wales
    Doubtless you agree with this evil hag
    ‘I wanted him to DIE’: Outrage as Harry Potter star Miriam Margolyes says she wishes coronavirus had killed Boris Johnson when Prime Minister was struck down by the bug

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