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, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Health at LaTrobe University, and an editor for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
I am tempted to say ‘I just give up now’. But here is an attempt to find something sensible.
Actually the data this week are extremely noisy and hard to make sense of. Many countries are reporting surges, but not in any pattern that is clear. Cases are up about 60% on the week before, but fatalities only about one tenth of that, which fits with Omicron not being so pathogenic. But who knows really especially as deaths are always a few days behind cases. Also, there is a lot of juggling of the order of cases in the ‘league table’, and some countries are still providing Christmas and New Year updates. So who knows what is really happening, other than looking very locally.
So I am not going to mention any countries, except Australia which so successfully squandered its excellent head start by dropping all control measures before Christmas and New Year, and is now nudging a 4% infection rate. Whilst the Seychelles are now well over 25%, 4% might not seem very significant, except that it has grown fairly steadily in the Seychelles whilst Australia is in rocket-ship-take-off mode. And influenza is not beginning to creep up, presumably for the same reasons.
Here is an interesting summary of the importance of testing worldwide, and a news report summary of the usefulness of testing: COVID rapid antigen tests can return false negatives, but experts say they’re accurate when it counts the most – ABC News
See you next week, and perhaps things will be clearer then.
Wish us all luck!
And thanks SE for this week’s cartoon (by LaMontagneArt).
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. Otherwise, 10 acres of untamed bushland on a hill in South Gippsland, VIC, makes weight-bearing gym exercise and strength training a bit redundant.
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.