Who would have guessed that one of the most popular sources for regular COVID-19 information would be a retired nurse teacher in northern England? By this point in the pandemic, one would expect that the last thing that anyone would want to hear would be more news about COVID-19. Yet people turn in daily for Dr. John Campbell’s YouTube update, which usually feature Winston -a stuffed dog- wearing a mask in the background. One of the reasons that the show is so popular is Campbell’s English humor, his guests from different parts of the world, and his concise description of major trends in the pandemic.
I don’t always agree with all that Dr. Campbell suggests, such as the strength of the evidence for vitamin D as a means to decrease the risk of severe COVID-19. But I enjoyed watching him debate the issue with a vitamin D skeptic, who was also a leading researcher in this field. Such reasoned and respectful academic debate is too rare now. I have similar doubts regarding ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, although I would also love to see data that proved me wrong. Perhaps Dr. Campbell could invite a similarly skeptical expert onto his channel for a reasoned and informed debate about the evidence for and against ivermectin? Still, his daily summaries are a wonderful tool to keep pace with global COVID-19 trends and events.
As I write these words, the situation in India is truly dire. I’ve just been texting with a friend in the country, who said that so many bodies are being burned that their city is covered in smog. The Daily, a news podcast of the Times, has a remarkable episode about what is happening in India now. As an article in Canada’s National Post suggests, India’s experience is a warning to the rest of the world about what can happen if a nation becomes overconfident that they have managed the pandemic. But India is not alone, as COVID-19 cases are also surging in Chile, despite a high level of vaccination with a Chinese vaccine. In the United States numbers are in a steady decline, despite an uptick in both Colorado and Oregon. But we still have a long way to go in this pandemic. In many parts of the world, such as Thailand and Cambodia, the situation is worsening. And Japan is still holding the Olympics, even though most of the country’s citizens do not want to host it.
Shawn Smallman, 2021