IF, at the time it became clear that Scotland could not escape the consequences of a worldwide pandemic, the First Minister had not put plans for a second constitutional referendum in 2020 on hold, she, the SNP and the Scottish Government would have been widely condemned by opposition parties and by commentators across the Scottish media.

If the First Minister had suggested on Monday that the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath be privately commemorated (with public celebrations already having been postponed until 2021), she would have been accused of insensitive opportunism by both anti-independence politicians and trenchant commentators throughout the UK. Yet the UK media refuses to pose difficult questions about the UK Government’s actions in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

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Why has the transition period for Brexit trade negotiations not been extended? Why has the Secretary of State for Health (England) not been grilled following his public contradiction of his own statements over the composition of the 100,000 per day testing figure by the end of April with or without antibody tests?

Channel 4 News noted on Monday that it was estimated that the additional death toll (not currently reported) in the community, including those in care homes, was 30% of the total hospital deaths reported, so why have no probing questions been raised at the UK Government daily briefings about this dire situation in our communities?

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If this figure is correct it could indicate that perhaps the policy for care homes should be changed, not only because staff may require to be supplied with much more PPE equipment on an ongoing basis (unless some “residents” can be temporarily cared for in family homes), but possibly because compared to the general public the more elderly in care homes with Covid-19 symptoms should be admitted to hospital earlier than the prescribed seven days, as any delay in transferring them to intensive care could be more likely to be fatal.

Of course such questions will also focus greater attention on the reasoning behind decisions taken by governments, and whether in effect thousands of elderly people are being sacrificed to save our younger citizens, but surely in an open, democratic society the media should assist the public in objectively engaging in such an important debate and not simply abstain from presenting serious arguments around fundamental issues that arise in addressing our current crisis.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

A REPORT shows that in Chicago 70% of Covid-19 cases in the city involve black people, who make up just 30% of the population.

If you know about vitamin D deficiency you would know that above latitude 35 virtually everyone is deficient in vitamin D, and persons with black/dark skin are even more deficient that white-skinned people.

When tested for vitamin D deficiency, many black skinned people barely register as having any vitamin D in their systems at all.

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This has a major impact on their immune systems and leaves them wide open to infections. It is equally the case in Britain. The conventional wisdom relating to vitamin D deficiency is not just wrong but dangerously wrong.

Perhaps one of your reporters could spend some time researching the current science and treatment of vitamin D deficiency.

Whilst a healthy immune system cannot guarantee that you will not catch a bug, it does give you the best chance of fighting the infection.

More importantly, if you have a weak immune system then your body has very little defence against any form of infection.

Deficiency of vitamin D is associated with seven different cancers and is responsible for bone weakness, to name but two major health issues.

There are many more health benefits to having a strong vitamin D-supported immune system.

The science is there for those who choose to look for it.

Harry Key
Largoward, Fife

THE article on the lack of celebration of the Declaration of Arbroath by the Wee Ginger Dug (What lack of anniversary events tells Yes movement, April 7) struck a chord with me.

Around 18 months ago I was commissioned to do some work for a client planning to deliver an extended programme of community involvement in exploring and explaining the background to the Declaration and culminating in a major international event at the time of the anniversary.

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The community aspect of the project had to be abandoned through lack of funding. Amazing as it might seem, it became clear through my contact with major funders that the grants officers with responsibility for assessing the project at the Heritage Lottery Fund – Scotland had never heard of the Declaration and had little interest in promoting it.

Douglas Turner

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