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, a London-based Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Health at La Trobe University, and an editor for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
This will be the third last of these reports, for reasons I have explained a few times lately. Data are now much too unreliable and not timely, so there is little to say that can be relied on.
This week, the Western Pacific is again having surges; Japan seems to be leading the way with over half a million cases (is it their umpteenth wave – ?number 6?), and South Korea following with a third of a million.
The obvious hot spot this week is Tuvalu which has doubled its case count from over 1,000, to over 2,000 (and there are only 11,000 inhabitants, so that’s one fifth of the population in a fortnight, and surely a strain on its health system); and the Solomon Islands, which has tripled their fatality notifications in a week, and raised their cases from 21,000 to 24,000 – that’s a lot for their population of a bit over half a million people. On the other hand, Micronesia has reduced their case count by a couple of thousand – perhaps they were double notifications.
Slow progress again, and the rates for many countries are no longer reported (Australia and the UK included). Most countries creep along with 0.01% increases. The global proportion of people who have completed their country’s initial protocol is still under two thirds, and now that boosters have been around for many months almost everywhere it is questionable what proportion of people are still protected anyway. In the spreadsheet the blocks in pink are for countries which used to report but no longer seem to do so.
|Region||% completed Initial protocol||% who have had a booster*|
|Low Income Countries||19.65||1.60|
|Lower Middle Income Countries||57.02||17.60|
|Upper Middle Income Countries||78.35||48.32|
*NB some people have had more than one booster, so this is an overestimation
So sadly the dream of vaccinating the world is a boat well and truly missed.
This week’s papers:
An old proposal that curcumin might be helpful in treatment, complete with scientific rationale, is an interesting read, although I hope it doesn’t result in a whole lot of people overdosing on turmeric.
Meanwhile, for readers interested in antiviral treatment for COVID, a UK summary of long-term assessment of several trials for the past 2.5 years shows that, to quote, “RECOVERY has shown four drugs to be life-saving – dexamethasone, tocilizumab, baricitinib and casirivimab-imdevimab – and a further six have been shown to be of little or no benefit.“ Links are also provided to the original trials.
So, until 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.
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.