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 La Trobe University, and an editor for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
Welcome to another rather depressing week in COVID-land.
Worldwide new infections are up, by over 10% on the week before, again. That’s the third week running, and much of the world is now well into the northern summer, so please forget talk about it being a winter disease (although boosters might end up being “winter boosters”). Of the over five million new cases this week (yes, that’s right, 5M – remember the global panic when total cases reached one million it seems a long time ago now) – the front runners in the numbers are 900,000 to France, 700,000 to the USA, nearly 600,000 to Germany, nearly 400,000 to Brazil, over 300,000 to Japan, over 300,000 to Australia, just over 200,000 to China, and a scattering of countries with over 100,000. All of this really points to a global abandonment of public health initiative.
And the only good news on the death rate front is that globally the case fatality rate continues to fall, and is now at 1.15 and still heading south. Except that in Australia, notably, it is creeping up – albeit from a low base but still heading in the wrong direction. And being ignored by just about everyone it seems except for the occasional news item about blocked admissions.
Speaking of Australia, Victoria no longer has the highest rate in the country. The ACT, NSW, WA and NT all have higher rates, all above 35% of the population. We are not doing very well are we?
Going on holiday to less wealthy countries and taking COVID along for the ride is a depressing scenario, and it is also quite common for people to go on holiday and then spend a week in isolation. Well, if you refuse to do the protective things what do you suppose is going to happen? Although I have not seen any epidemiology which is looking onto Traveller’s COVID/Airport COVID, it would make a great project because observationally I have encountered a lot of it.
Another depressing story there. Nothing much happening, rates are so slow. Only 60% of the world’s peoples are fully vaccinated, with over 25% having had the first booster. The brunt of under-vaccination is still borne by the least wealthy countries. This really is a story of greed and elbowing out less privileged countries. Does anyone else remember the (very true) saying that we are not safe until we are all safe?
- For Australians the guidelines about who is not eligible for COVID anti-virals are here.
- In Australia there are calls to reduce COVID immunity period from 12 weeks to 28 days later amid rise of subvariants:
“The period of time in which a COVID-positive person is considered immune after infection may be slashed from 12 weeks to 28 days following a recommendation by Australia’s top public health officers.” Read the full story
- Two good papers from Nature:
First reported case of a person getting COVID from a cat: “Scientists in Thailand have established that a cat passed SARS-CoV-2 to a veterinary surgeon. Given the scale of the pandemic and the close contact between cats and people, some researchers are not surprised. But establishing the direction of viral spread — from cat to person or from person to cat — is tricky.”
COVID was twice as deadly in poorer countries: “Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, before vaccines were available, the fatality rate was 2.7 times higher for 20-year-olds living in lower-income countries than for young people in rich nations. Researchers examined blood samples for signs of infection and segmented age groups to calculate the proportion of infected people who died from the disease.”
- Here is an interesting tidbit from the USA:
- I am not sure of the origin of this chart, but it makes really interesting reading!! So it is not about COVID, but about air quality and ventilation, but they are linked.
[Editor’s note: the chart features in this RNZ article]
Almost all infectious disease epidemiologists are mentioning, whenever anyone gives them any air space, that the protective measures of vaccinations, distancing, and masks are our best protections.
SO keep those masks on on public transport! INCLUDE AIRPORTS AND PLANES.
See you 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. 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.