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 looks like it is quieter, but the data are now becoming very unreliable. Some countries are no longer routinely reporting cases, so that even weekly trends are not as easy to identify. Even in Australia the data are also normally a couple of days late.
Nowadays we are approaching 10% of the world’s population having been notified with COVID (8.7% really, but getting there). Whilst that includes second and third infections, it does not include non-notifications which seems to be pretty common in places where it is an easy process, so heaven only knows about countries with difficult telecommunications and security problems.
Clearly major updates happen when countries consolidate/revise/clean their data, so that estimates can vary enormously, which accounts for example for Africa’s overall removal of about 500 fatalities from the WHO report.
Several Pacific countries which previously had been spared due to lockdowns and border closures are now experiencing large numbers of cases. Micronesia has had the biggest proportional surge this week, going from over 1,000 cases to over 4,000.
Things seem to be a bit better this week, with a few countries apparently improving coverage. This week the interesting country is Israel, originally the poster-child for vaccination coverage, where very unlikely high coverage rates had been reported (around 80-90% about a month in); nowadays they are very quiet and have one of the lowest reported rates in high-income countries at 66%; but occupied Palestine still lags woefully behind at 34%.
The major disparity between wealthy and resource-poor countries of course remains. Low income countries have far fewer people fully vaccinated than middle- and high- income countries have boosted people. Which is still an international disgrace no matter which lens is used to view it.
Papers this week are largely about infectiousness in one way or another:
Firstly, an attempt (from good old Nature) to answer the question about for how long people are infectious.
And similarly, from the US CDC, some slightly confusing general information about knowing when you are not infectious any more.
and for health professionals there is this.
Lastly, from Australia’s own very pragmatic and sensible Raina McIntyre, a rather depressing lens on some Australian data.
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.