close up photo of the coronavirus

The CODE COVID-19 International Update, 17 March 2022

The CODE COVID-19 International Update, 17 March 2022
Dr Priscilla Robinson

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.


Hi all

View the latest spreadsheet here

Once again, numbers this week are all over the place. Case rises are most pronounced in the Western Pacific, and falls in Africa. Big jumps have happened in some countries, such as South Korea, Vietnam, whilst other countries have reduced cases from previous numbers (presumably a revision of some previous suspected/presumed diagnoses). Some places have had big jumps in fatalities (although the >4,000 in Russia is a conundrum (I wonder if some war-related deaths are ascribed to COVID, due to crowding and transmission etc). And as reported three million Ukrainians have left the country, where their cases amongst refugees and internally displaced populations are being counted is anybody’s guess. Singapore has had a 10% surge this week, as has China. NZ has had a problem week too, with a continued surge.

In Australia, West Australia which has pretty much escaped until now is also having its time in the COVID spotlight.

This report goes some way to helping unpack some of the reason for these differences: ‘The Tale of Two COVIDs: New Zealand and Hong Kong’.


I have not shown these data in this way for a while, and it has produced some surprises. I knew that the Seychelles and Maldives have had a high proportion of their peoples having COVID despite high immunisation rates, but I confess to having missed the rates in Denmark at over half of their population. This also shows how in a small population a very few cases can push up the population rate considerably (see spreadsheet for more detail). Remember that the population size affects the funding for health care, and if the rate rises the pressure on services is critical. Notably, these countries with high rates mostly have robust notification systems and hospital services. It is a different story with the fatality rates, and it is easy to see how resource-poor settings, which almost all of them are, have much higher than average rates – in fact four of these 10 are active war zones.

‘Top 10’ countries for notified cases ‘Top 10’ countries for COVID-19-attributed deaths
Country Total cases Pop cumulative AR/100,000 Country Deaths Cumulative CFR
Denmark     2,958,497 50,785.12 Yemen       2,139 18.14
Iceland     165,299 48,440.26 Peru 211,546 5.98
Israel 3,726,913 43,058.15 Mexico 321,103 5.73
Netherlands 7,214,075 42,101.72 Syrian Arab Republic       3,117 5.63
Seychelles           39,735 40,402.86 Afghanistan       7,645 4.33
Liechtenstein           14,401 37,642.78 The Gambia          365 3.05
Switzerland     3,127,503 36,136.79 South Africa     99,725 2.70
Austria     3,219,891 35,508.94 Indonesia 152,437 2.58
France   22,824,960 34,968.18 Namibia       4,014 2.55
Czech Republic (Czechia) 3,696,837 34,520.90 Hungary     44,653 2.46
WORLD 458,479,635 5,859.98 WORLD 6,047,635 1.32


And so to vaccines: the depressing inequities continue, with wealthy nations showing no signs of giving in to pleas for patent waivers which would at least help. Amidst the gloom here is one small ray of hope. In Low Income countries (predominantly Africa) only 15%  (Africa overall almost 20%) have had even one vaccine dose. In upper middle and high income countries one third of people have had a booster dose. Please consider donating the cost of the vaccine that was free to you to the COVAX programme – which is very underfunded, and dealing with broken promises of funding help etc.


I wonder if COVID is a word in Wordle?


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.

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