A clean bill of health?


Sir, – Prof William Reville looks forward to the abandonment of Covid precautions and the return of enthusiastic hugging and kissing to increase the diversity of our microbiome, the bacteria resident on our skin and in our gut (“A pandemic problem: Too much cleaning is bad for your health”, Science, June 3rd).

The benefits of a more diverse microbiome are highly speculative, but the benefits of pandemic precautions have been shown to be very real in addition to their effect on Covid transmission.

Worldwide, influenza and the common cold have been at historic lows.

In the Australian state of New South Wales, cases of influenza fell from 41,699 to 30 year on year; measles, whooping cough and chickenpox have almost disappeared.

We don’t know which of the measures were most beneficial but it would be a mistake to go back to how we behaved in 2019. –Yours, etc,


Gaoth Dobhair,

Co Dhún na nGall.