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 One and All
This week in COVID land the geography continues to be bumpy and the outlook murky.
Whilst the overall fatality rate continues to creep down, many countries are reporting surges, and many countries now have reported COVID in about half of the population. This is a higher proportion than the last reported flu pandemic a century ago, and higher than the unreported and ongoing pandemics of cholera etc mentioned here in past updates, but perhaps comparable to the epidemics of obesity and associated disease in so-called developed countries.
In Australia the overall fatality rate is creeping up, which is not good news. Very slowly to be sure, but in the wrong direction. In Victoria the rate is going down, but it has all of the initial outbreaks in Aged Care when the rate was very high, and it is now evening out. However there are some anomalies; the ACT and WA have much lower rates than the other states, which does not really make sense now as the ACT is completely surrounded by NSW and has a similar notification system – so either they are identifying more notified cases per capita and NSW is missing a lot, or diagnosis and early treatment is better in the ACT (and WA). Or perhaps both things are true.
Nauru has joined the pandemic in earnest, jumping from just three cases before this week to 350 now. Now, I wonder how they got there…?
Overall vaccination rates continue to be stalled, with many countries adding no completed or boosted numbers in the last week (and some for several weeks).
A reminder that for herd immunity to be achieved the whole population needs to be included in the count, not just eligible people. We are therefore nowhere near herd immunity anywhere in the world (including Australia).
Working on a COVID response team for a while now I know that research which tells us that vaccinated people can get quite sick, can contract it more than once, and can be sicker the second time than the first is absolutely true.
This week’s papers
Some concerning news about chronic COVID infection being linked to new variants, and incidentally also for thinking about when people should be allowed back to work after infection.
Here is a report about COVID vaccines for under-fives from the USA, recognising the ongoing problem of finding reliable and useful information.
And the last word goes to First Dog.
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.