The Code COVID19 International Update is a weekly snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic, assessing efforts by nations around the world to test, track and fight the virus. It’s compiled by Dr Priscilla Robinson, a London-based Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Health at La Trobe University, and an editor for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
Hello one and all, from a wet and gloomy London (but not as wet as Victoria in Aus)
Time to remember that we are not safe until we are all safe, and that includes all the precautions which people have largely abandoned.
It is also time to remind ourselves, especially in the global north, that one person’s sniffle can result in another person’s hospitalisation on a ventilator.
Another up-and-down week. I’m sure that even though these various totals sum correctly they are not right. For example, Australia has reported no cases this week, and only a handful last week, which is definitely not correct.
Having said that, and despite that this week’s snapshot figures are suggesting another drop in new cases, some countries are clearly reporting a surge, such as both South Korea and Japan with about 300,000 each.
The case fatality rate has remained stable at 1.05%, so not insignificant. The reported fatality rate in Africa is very low (0.02%) (and it is not at all clear why – probably an artifact of counting) and quite low and below the global rate in the Western Pacific (0.39%), but SE Asia is higher (1.32%). The fatality rate in the countries we track in the main spreadsheet are at about the global rate. China, which continues to follow a zero-covid policy, still has a very low population attack rate (0.6%) and low fatality rate (0.32%) which might indicate that draconian policies to reduce transmission are pretty effective even if they do not result in elimination; and worth considering in the context of most of Europe having rates one third to one half of the whole population.
The self-management approach of Sweden has resulted in an overall one quarter of their population having been affected, with a fatality rate under 1%. I am looking forward to seeing a comprehensive analysis of rates and control approaches, so I hope there are some good PhDs in the wings.
Mostly slow progress this week after the past couple of weeks of rates moving backwards. Still terrible rates in resource-poor settings, and the international shame of the ‘us first’ approach remains an international embarrassment.
Another depressing message from Nature:
“More than one million lives might have been saved if COVID-19 vaccines had been shared more equitably with lower-income countries in 2021, according to mathematical models incorporating data from 152 countries…
“More equitable sharing of vaccines, and a resulting drop in infections, might also have slowed the emergence of fresh SARS-CoV-2 variants, says Moore.”
Until next week,
About Dr Priscilla Robinson and The CODE COVID-19 International Update
Dr Robinson is a public health epidemiologist with particular interests in international health and communicable diseases, and public health competencies. She has worked in health departments in England and Australia, has managed public health teaching programmes, and taught and researched many aspects of public health epidemiology and policy in many countries. She is an adjunct Associate Professor at LaTrobe University, and to stop herself being bored is an editor of PHAA’s journal ANZJPH, and holds board positions (almost all unpaid) on various NGOs, journals, and at her local hospital.
The CODE Update is a regular Intouch feature to keep readers informed of COVID-19 developments around the world.
The CODE Update originally began at the start of the SARS CoV-2 pandemic as Priscilla’s way of explaining to her friends and family around the world what was happening, and counter their experiences of information overload and misinformation. The update provides links to practical materials and papers written for people who are not versed in the language of outbreaks and epidemic curves. Published weekly, it includes a short commentary to provide context to the numbers included in the spreadsheets.
Note: While every attempt is made to transcribe all data faithfully, every now and again mistakes are made and not noticed until the next Update. Also, on occasion, numbers are revised after posting at the source databases.
We hope you will find these updates to be a helpful tool, and the links to current information useful.