close up photo of the coronavirus

The CODE COVID-19 International Update, 18 August 2022

The CODE COVID-19 International Update, 18 August 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 La Trobe University, and an editor for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.


Hello readers

View the latest spreadsheet here

A mostly quiet week this week.


General epidemiology

Overall, attack rates are still rising; with about the same numbers this week as last, Africa and the Western Pacific have been the main foci for rising case numbers, whilst most of the rest of the world has seen a bit of a lull. Although overall and as predicted last week, fatality numbers are rising (remember the time lag between becoming ill and fatal outcomes in this disease), but the overall worldwide fatality rate is still falling, and this week is down to 1.09%, which continues to be good news. So in general people are surviving this disease increasingly often, and maybe more people are accessing effective treatment, but then we don’t know anything much about after effects and long-COVID patterns so there is a lot to learn yet.

This week the Marshall Islands has gone from almost nothing to almost 4,000 in a population of only 60,000 people, so a big drain on their health system (complete COVID primary course dose vaccination rates there are only slightly over 50%).

Australia will soon break the 10 million notified cases barrier, and considering there is certainly under-reporting, there is nothing to be proud of here. Attack rates in Australia continue to rise, however the highest population rates are now the ACT and Tasmania (both well over 40%). Victoria, once the ‘problem’ state, now has the second lowest rate. Maybe that is partly the reason for our Chief Health Officer dancing at the Indian Film Festival awards night… – (thanks Brett!) enjoy!



It is hard to find anything new to report about the continuing woeful state of COVID vaccination rates worldwide, so I won’t.



Most of the papers last week have had a fairly high ‘der’ factor. The ‘der’ factor is a technical term used by editors to identify papers which tell us about the results of research into the bleeding obvious, such as that the parents of new babies are tired because they get less sleep, or people who have to travel further to get somewhere take longer to get there, or the more painful an applied stimulus the more it seems to hurt. I have in fact seen examples of all of these and more, and I decided you all didn’t need that sort of reading matter to clog up the inbox.

News reports from the UK suggest that a new Moderna vaccine is in the pipeline which includes Omicron with older COVID strains, and studies of blood bank etc donor and volunteer blood samples show that more people have had COVID than have been notified (see above), so possibly 50% of places where such studies are possible might now have been infected. Who knew?

So this week the last word goes to First Dog


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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