Sunlight Linked With Lower COVID-19 Deaths – And NOT Because of Vitamin D

Enjoying Sunshine

Sunnier areas are associated with fewer deaths from Covid-19, an observational study suggests.

Increased exposure to the sun’s rays — specifically UVA — could act as a simple public health intervention if further research establishes it causes a reduction in mortality rates, experts say.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh compared all recorded deaths from Covid-19 in the continental US from January to April 2020 with UV levels for 2,474 US counties for the same time period.

The study found that people living in areas with the highest level of exposure to UVA rays — which makes up 95 percent of the sun’s UV light — had a lower risk of dying from Covid-19 compared with those with lower levels. The analysis was repeated in England and Italy with the same results.

The researchers took into account factors known to be associated with increased exposure to the virus and risk of death such as age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, population density, air pollution, temperature, and levels of infection in local areas.

The observed reduction in risk of death from Covid-19 could not be explained by higher levels of vitamin D, the experts said. Only areas, with insufficient levels of UVB to produce significant vitamin D in the body, were included in the study.

One explanation for the lower number of deaths, which the researchers are following up, is that sunlight exposure causes the skin to release nitric oxide. This may reduce the ability of SARS Coronavirus2 — the cause of Covid-19 — to replicate, as has been found in some lab studies.

Previous research from the same group has shown that increased sunlight exposure is linked to improved cardiovascular health, with lower blood pressure and fewer heart attacks. As heart disease is a known risk factor in dying from Covid-19, this could also explain the latest findings.

The team says that due to the observational nature of the study, it is not possible to establish cause and effect. However, it may lead to interventions that could be tested as potential treatments.

The paper has been published in the British Journal of Dermatology, an official publication of the British Association of Dermatologists.

Reference: “Ultraviolet A Radiation and COVID‐19 Deaths in the USA with replication studies in England and Italy” by M. Cherrie, T. Clemens, C. Colandrea, Z. Feng, D.J. Webb, R.B. Weller and C. Dibben, 8 April 2021, British Journal of Dermatology.
DOI: 10.1111/bjd.20093

Dr. Richard Weller, corresponding author, consultant dermatologist and Reader at the University of Edinburgh, said: “There is still so much we don’t understand about Covid-19, which has resulted in so many deaths worldwide. These early results open up sunlight exposure as one way of potentially reducing the risk of death.”

Professor Chris Dibben, Chair in Health Geography at the University of Edinburgh and Co-author said: “The relationship between Covid-19 mortality, season and latitude has been quite striking, here we offer an alternative explanation for this phenomenon.”

9 Comments on "Sunlight Linked With Lower COVID-19 Deaths – And NOT Because of Vitamin D"

  1. Andrew Wilks | April 8, 2021 at 6:02 pm | Reply

    When you are forced to stay inside and quarantine without symptoms, I feel this promotes more severe illness and symptoms of COVID-19 and whatever other viruses you may have in your system causing more death disability and so on. All the more reason we should only Quarantine those who are already having symptoms feeling very ill. This whole thing feels more like a medical tyrannical dictatorship than a pandemic with things like this being forced upon all of us and I also very much resent this whole proposed forced vaccination and proposed forced vaccination passports BS as well in order to participate in society. RIDICULOUS AND TYRANNICAL!!! The sunshine thing here about COVID-19 is a good reason to lift all this forced BS on us all offering protection to those most at risk if they want the protection.

    • Michael Jones | April 11, 2021 at 7:58 am | Reply

      Andrew, if I make your family sick (when it could easily be avoided by wearing a mask) and someone dies, that’s OK. right? What’s the difference between this and a physical attack with a gun or a 2 X 4? Intent? Ignorance? We ALL share in the pain of quarantine. However, I don’t think there is really any difference between a physical attack and one made with an obvious disease and malicious intent. You should keep that in mind as you storm along in your alternative reality. Public health concerns are NOT tyrannical. Only a (you can’t claim ignorance) fool would disagree.

      • You say “easily prevented with a mask?”. But, the effectiveness of surgical masks and cotton masks up to 3 layers has been proven by more than one study to be extremely low. Instead of listening to politicians and fear-mongering media, read the studies that are done using real people in a clinical setting. Not the studies of schools in the USA with mask mandates – there was no control group, children rarely transmit, and study was not initiated until the rate of covid had already dropped significantly.
        A study in Finland 2020, approx 4% effectiveness. Another study done recently in the USA claims a maximum of 10% effectiveness. And before you say well 10% is better than nothing, it is but not by much, that’s not the point. The point is that you said it could EASILY be prevented by wearing a mask! You compared people who don’t wear masks to gang members who do drive-bys or something, people who commit intentional homicide!

        Look at Sweden! NO mask mandates, ever! No lockdowns! Shopping centers, parks and beaches, barber shops and beauty salons,bars and restaurants never closed. Although they did have an early cut off time for serving of alcohol, and pubs /restaurants closed earlier.. because it’s later at night when people forget to social distance. Only Arenas & the like and movie theaters were closed.
        With schools only upper grades and universities TEMPORARILY used distance learning. Daycares, elementary, middle schools, only closed for 10 days if several people tested positive. Team sports for people under the age of 16 never stopped! There were people in my neighborhood playing football and basketball every day in the spring summer and fall, not just kids. The entire park was filled with people. The children play together on the playground and on the equipment. And we’ve just done much better than the USA on desk per capita and better than in many other countries, including countries with hard lockdowns and mask mandates.
        Over 90% of the people in Sweden who died were elderly, almost all of whom were living in elder residences.

        In the USA, those 45 and under accounted for only 3.3% of all covid deaths. Children who are hospitalized with severe Covid have only a 0.10% chance of dying. A Study of rare deaths amongst children in the UK revealed that half had a serious underlying condition that increased their risk of dying from all causes.
        The CDC has information about the number of people who died from covid with underlying health conditions or other high risk factors like obesity. A HUGE percentage had those factors! And 78% of all people in the USA hospitalized with covid are obese!

        Depending on your age, all this anger, and the stress, fear and worry that you have surrounded yourself with about it is probably more likely to contribute to your death than the virus! I’m worried about you and other people who feel like this.
        I do not understand what is happening with American politicians and the media. Yes what’s happening is terrible, but there’s a lot of misinformation about the reliability of a masking. Some pretty serious rhetoric levied against people who don’t want to wear masks, especially outside where it is absolutely unnecessary. (social distance is) daily media focus on young people who have died from covid who fall into the lowest risk category of all.
        I haven’t seen American media use the phrase “most people who contract covid only have mild symptoms” in a long time. But it’s still true! And even if you have symptoms a little bit worse like the flu that’s still not something to fear so much you should let it control your life and your happiness.

        Don’t forget, the types of masks worn by the public don’t protect who wears them, and the AVERAGE rate of effectiveness for protecting others (the average of the effectiveness found by real medical studies) is about 5.5% effectiveness rate. I am speaking only relative to this specific virus!!
        I wish you luck.

  2. Robin Whittle | April 9, 2021 at 12:22 am | Reply

    I am sure summer UV-B does reduce transmission somewhat due to inactivating viruses in aerosols and surfaces, but this is only outdoors since it doesn’t go through glass. (This is probably not entirely true, so some effects still be apparent in sunny parts of buildings and vehicles.)

    Seasonal variation in outdoors air temperature and humidity is typically reversed by heating and air conditioning in buildings and vehicles, which is where most people spend most of their time, especially in close contact with others.

    Most of the seasonality is surely due to average higher 25ODH levels in summer reducing infection rates (for any given viral insult) to some degree, and especially due to reducing disease severity and so viral shedding – and so overall transmission. 25OHD levels are pervasive, all day and night, months at a time, for most people in the entire country. So I think this explains most of the seasonality, with the remainder being due to outdoors viral inactivation and perhaps seasonal changes in time spent indoors with recirculating air at particular temperatures and humidity.

  3. donna sherwood | April 9, 2021 at 7:35 am | Reply

    who writes this nonsense ? it is well known, and not news, that exposure to sunlight is protective against virus. if one looks at CDC epi maps seasonal flu almost never occurs in places near the equator. in these regions almost everyday is an equinox and if ambient temperatures remain around 85F almost NO ONE gets sick with viruses. the reason is that sunlight exposure creates systemically D3 in natural high levels. D3 is not a vitamin it is s prohormone which activates over 300 metabolic and biochemical processes in body. One of the few treatments used in 1918-20 was to put the ill out in sunlight. The israelis have found this past year the virus dies if exposed to even artificial LED light frequencies at a certain level. This is not likely a cure but prophylactic one of several reasons africa has been spared this past year. Most flu and other viral illnesses that occur in tropics are brought there by people from other latitudes. This is a science blog ? give me a break.

    • Michael Jones | April 11, 2021 at 7:41 am | Reply

      For all of you posting about the “exposed tyranny and BS” of science and public health policy, please return to Facebook or Parlor or whatever site you get your conspiracy jollies from. You’ll be happier there since you have fellow travelers in your alternative dimension. All you do is confirm your idiocy posting here.

    • Michael Jones | April 11, 2021 at 7:43 am | Reply

      And Donna, this comment is not directed specifically at you. Your observation may have some validity, but please look at Brazil before you commit to this generalization.

  4. WRONG TITLE, you can NOT rule out vitamin D effect, the levels were not tested on individuals, other studies show there is indeed influence on disease severity.

  5. People who think that being infectious for an influenza like illness is the same as carrying out deliberate attacks on people doesn’t understand life and should obviously immeadiately subject themselves to permanent solitary confinement imprisonment permanently.

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