Prepare now for a winter COVID-19 peak, warns Academy of Medical Sciences (UK)

Prepare now for a winter COVID-19 peak, warns Academy of Medical Sciences (UK)

The Academy of Medical Sciences in UK has launched a rapid review exploring the challenges we might face this winter when coronavirus and other seasonal diseases are present.
The UK must prepare now for another potential wave of COVID-19 this winter that could be more serious than that seen in spring 2020. The need for health and social care usually peaks in the winter, when the NHS and social care systems typically operate at or close to maximal capacity. Combined with a backlog of non-COVID-19 care, the disruption to the delivery of care caused by the first wave of COVID-19 and the risk of a winter influenza epidemic, a resurgence of COVID-19 this winter poses a serious risk to health.
Their rapid review emphasises that there is a need for urgent action.
Preparation needs to be based on the best quality scientific advice and must be developed through active engagement with patients, carers, the public and healthcare professionals. There is also a need for excellent co-ordination, collaboration and sharing of information – including data on the spread of disease – at all levels.
 Prevention and mitigation strategies must focus on:

  • Minimising the transmission and impact of COVID-19 in the community.
  • Organising health and social care settings to maximise infection control and ensure that COVID-19 and routine care can take place in parallel.
  • Improving public health surveillance for COVID-19, influenza and other winter diseases.
  • Minimising influenza transmission and impact.

Among other things, the academy highlights the importance of the use of vitamin D. Here is an excerpt from the report (which you can download by clicking on the following link: )
 “The likely impact of lockdown on the levels of exposure to other pathogens, vitamin D metabolism, and the activity of adrenocortical hormones, which affect immunity. These factors are likely to play an important role on the immunological resistance to infections and their influence needs to be considered in the approach to winter, including how best to modify these factors if possible…”

“Given the protective effects of vitamin D against respiratory tract infections and wider health benefits, the Government should consider how to encourage the use of vitamin D this winter, particularly in vulnerable and low socio-economic groups. The wider use of vitamin D was emphasised by the Patient and Carer Reference Group. “

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