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.
For people new to this blog, these spreadsheets, updated weekly, now track COVID-19 notifications in just over three-quarters of the world’s population, who have had about 90% of both the world‘s cases and fatalities. Actually, the countries included now happen to be the ‘leading’ countries in terms of absolute numbers, although when I started this exercise a couple of years ago it was not planned to be like that – I just selected countries which were interesting for various reasons, and sometimes because I have worked there or travelled there. Now they happen to mostly head the league table. If you are especially interested in a country not on the list let me know and I will add it.
Globally, 6.37% of all people have had COVID-19, so it is important to remember that, even if COVID reporting is grossly underestimated – say only 1/3 of cases are reported so the ‘real’ rate is around 20% – most people, at least 80%, haven’t had COVID – so to keep reiterating that ‘we are all going to get it eventually’ is not going to be true. The 1918 flu epidemic eventually saw one third of the world‘s population infected, and that was in the absence of vaccines (and I suppose accessible travel to be fair). However infection control has come on a bit since then. Whilst some resistance to control measures has landed us all in a worse place than we could have been, it also shows how the basic measures of quarantine, isolation, masks, handwashing etc all helped then as much as they did this time around.
The case fatality rate has now dipped under 1.4% globally, but in preparing these spreadsheets this week it is notable that several nations (high income ones in particular) have had small fatality rate rises (including Australia). Worldwide there are still several million cases and several thousand deaths every day, but sadly as this week’s snapshot indicates, the regions which were largely isolated and protected earlier in the pandemic are now having surges in case numbers, and mostly not well protected with vaccines.
The Western Pacific and SE Asia have seen many countries with more cases this last week, including Brunei Darussalam, to some extent Indonesia, definitely South Korea, China, and many islands.
Denmark, which as you will recall lifted all restrictions last week, has had a 10% increase from the past two years in just the last week.
The attached paper is from a department of geography, and is a thoughtful piece of work, which I hope you will find thought provoking (and thank you MS for bringing it to my attention).
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.