The CODE COVID-19 International Update, 28 July 2022

close up photo of the coronavirus
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

Major surges have occurred in most country reports to WHO this week. Some notable rises have been observed over the past week in countries such as Costa Rica (over 20%). In the Western Pacific, Micronesia has reported most of its 1,200 cases in the last week, and Japan has broken the 1M-cases ceiling. The USA has reported approaching a million cases, which was common during the Trump year but had fallen since, and several European countries are reporting half a million cases (France, Germany, Italy). Australia has had a third of a million cases and, for local readers, it has been pointed out elsewhere that Australia is reporting the third largest per-head global increase in the past seven days. Omicron is the principle reason for these increases as it has apparently transformed itself into a much more transmissible organism, although estimates of its reproducibility rate (Ro – remember the Ro reproducibility rate which occupied much of our attention a couple of years ago?) is quite rubbery – anything between 1.2 to 14.0 depending on the country and the epidemiologist.

Whilst case numbers are having a big rise this week, the global case fatality rate continues to creep downwards, now at 1.12 – it has been dropping about 0.01% a week for a while now. The rate in the countries on the main spreadsheet has now almost equalised the international rate, having been lower for much of the past two years, but huge differences remain between regions and countries.


As usual this is quite depressing. About half of the countries tracked here have again un-vaccinated about 0.1% of their populations according to the Oxford Tracker, although some low income and especially lower-middle income countries have improved up to 0.5%. Slightly better progress is happening with vaccines, but only just.

Papers and reports

The general COVID worldwide research review includes abstracts of various items of COVID-related research, including COVID in pregnancy outcomes, long COVID, reinfection rates etc.

BMJ has published a UK COVID exit roadmap, the results of the thinking from the Independent SAGE group here: Independent SAGE. BMJ 2022;378:o1793.  It includes the consistent use of masks indoors…

And then there is this.

Thea van der Mortel: ‘Masks are ‘strongly suggested’ by health authorities as the winter COVID wave hits. Here’s how effective they are‘.

Actually, I do not know of a single public health practitioner who believes that masks are not useful and effective. And look where relying on ‘personal responsibility’ has got us.

So, from Cathy Wilcox at the Sydney Morning Herald:

See you next week, safe travels.




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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