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.
This week I have restructured some of the spreadsheet. If for some reason you are looking for some of the historical weekly notification data I have removed the first two year’s worth to an archive spreadsheet called 2020-2021. It is quite odd looking back at where we were a couple of years ago. And for people who have been on this blog for a while the old weekly spreadsheets are usually retrievable from your own in-box.
Well now, cases are up almost a quarter worldwide from the week before, and with the exception of the Western Pacific this is seen everywhere, but especially in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Fatalities are down 10% on the week before, to a global 1.17 and still falling, although Africa has seen the expected rise, also in the Americas. I think the very small increase in the Eastern Mediterranean is a probably a reset from the very high (six-fold) rise the previous week.
In a few places fatality rates are rising slightly, which is possibly the effect of cases being notified a week or two before the most vulnerable people succumb to their disease. However, some places with good systems have very low rates, including Australia. However, a low rate seems to generate complacency in some governments, so that for example here in Australia 50 or more fatalities in a day seem to be passed over with no remarks from our governments, whereas a mass shooting overseas or a flood with fewer fatalities becomes headline news. I of course have been well trained in how news cycles work but really – if we have 50 deaths a day on our roads for a week there would be some major action happening, but as there is nothing is happening. Other than pretending it is all over.
Worldwide, there have been 4.3 million new cases, of which the USA (2/3 million); Germany (half a million); Brazil, China, Italy and France (around a third of a million each) managed to outstrip Australia at just over 200,000 (please remember these are numbers of cases, and the size of the population is important when thinking about strain on health services etc etc). For example- consider Nauru. Nauru’s cases shot up again, to 2405 cases, which is over 22% of their population. In two weeks, from a standing start. They have not reported any fatalities yet, a small blessing, but watch this space.
Whatever the reason, there is plenty of evidence for the continued use of face masks etc, which most countries seem by-and-large to be continuing to use. Just not in a few so-called developed countries – and you know which nations I am referring to.
Almost literally nothing to see here. Really I just want to cry. Resource-poor countries, especially in the African region, seem to be at a standstill, and the wealthiest countries lag behind less wealthy in terms of completed proportion of their populations with completed schedules.
And, with all the fuss about which COVID vaccine to get, does anyone know anybody who asked the same question about their ‘flu vaccine??
Papers and news:
Nature seems to not have published any more general papers this week. Here are two new papers (and just in case you didn’t already know, apologies that this is very Australia-centric):
- Siobhan Calafiore. New highly transmissible Omicron variants on the march in Australia
- More COVID patients required ICU beds, ventilation and died during third wave of virus (NOTE: THIS IS AUSTRALIAN NEWS, not worldwide)
Plus an introspective story with a ridiculous photo (sorry, not my fault!) which however is a good explanation about tests including blood tests for antibodies for anyone still unclear about how they all work:
- How do I know if I’ve had COVID-19, and what else can antibody blood tests tell us about past infection?
See you next time, keep well, and please re-start a mask-wearing trend in your district.
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.