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.
Not having been able to update this spreadsheet has given me travel time to ponder. The pandemic was so declared on March 11 2020, so Dec 6 2022 will be the one thousandth day. Looking back there have been many peaks and troughs, and for the first couple of years reported as such, not just in this blog but in many places. Many countries have now reduced reporting times to weekly, and several are moving to monthly reports, so international comparisons are no longer in any way reliable. In addition, the last year or so has been one of ignoring ongoing signs, and telling us all we have to learn to live with COVID, in much the same way as we put up with inconvenient teenagers and dotty aunts. I happen to have sent some time in Geneva last week, and met various people involved with COVID data collection, who were mostly very circumspect about the accuracy of current surveillance data for all the reasons mentioned many times in this blog. So, prior warning, I will send in the last of these blogs at day 1000, in time for an Advent sign-off.
Please remember, as I was taught in my first class in Epidemiology all those years ago, ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’. No reports certainly does not mean no COVID.
Not a great deal to say here. After an upswing last week, trends have reversed this week. Australia is not reporting regularly any more unlike most wealthy countries, but clearly has one of the highest rates in the world, with a population rate of over 40% (and remember, almost all of it happened in the last 12 months, unlike most of the world). On this tracker, six countries report rates over 50%, and another eight 40-49%, and Australia is one of them. For comparison, the USA is on nearly 29%, and the UK 35%. Globally the rate is approaching 10%, and the fatality rate which has been gradually declining has risen very slightly this week – this could be an underreporting of cases but deaths are a bit harder to ignore.
Much the same pattern here too, although a few resource-poor countries seem to have had some success over the past couple of weeks.
Papers and news reports
From the BBC reporting on Oxford research: COVID protection may be boosted by genes
From The Guardian: The data is clear: long Covid is devastating people’s lives and livelihoods
From the PANORAMIC trial group researching COVID treatments, this particular treatment regime did not change outcomes in fully vaccinated at-risk adults. (Message – vaccination useful, early treatment a good idea).
From the ABC website, reposting a Conversation piece: If you think scrapping COVID-19 isolation periods will get us back to work and past the pandemic, think again. Eliminating mandatory isolation periods puts essential workers in low paying jobs at even more risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace, write Raina MacIntyre, Brendan Crabb and Nancy Baxter for The Conversation.
And for people interested in trend lines – and could be a good chart to use for teaching, here is one for you. Nothing to do with COVID (I don’t think so anyway, but if I think long enough I’m sure I could think of a link!).
Thatcher was Prime Minister for over 4000 days, Major & Cameron around 2000 each, May & Johnson just over 1000 each & Truss on around 50. Extrapolating this along an exponential trendline suggests that by mid-March next year we’ll have a new Tory Prime Minister every few seconds. pic.twitter.com/AIuYvEvJEO
— Jonathan Pryor (@Jonathan_Pryor) October 20, 2022
That’s it for this 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.