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.
Related – PHAA thanks Dr Robinson for decades of service to Public Health in Australia and internationally
I’ve published this on 6 December, the 1,000th day since the pandemic was declared. This is where we have got to.
There are now one million cases every day worldwide, again. And 5,000 thousand fatalities. Today, over 8% of the world’s population have had confirmed COVID, but at least the fatality rate has fallen now, to 1.03%. The earliest fatality rate was over 6%, and a year ago was over 2%, so a combination of immunisation and useful treatment has benefitted a lot of people. Compared with ‘flu, which is rather hard because neither are particularly well reported/counted, the fatality rate is higher in older people, unvaccinated people, and people without access to comprehensive health care. COVID and ‘flu now seem to be developing a similar profile. So no surprises there; some reports of the ‘flu pandemic in the 1920s have a similar story to tell, so in a way this is history repeating itself, although of course then it took a while to get to the vaccine bit.
In most WHO regions both cases (up 40% globally) and fatalities (up 25% globally) have risen. France, the US and South Korea are the hot spots this week, with between a quarter and a third of a million cases each. St Helena has reported all of its over 2,000 cases in the last week.
A depressingly similar story to last week, with the added frisson that several countries have reduced their overall vaccination and booster rates more than usual.
Clinical papers have moved their foci elsewhere this week.
For what its worth, the photo does not match the method here – capsicum peppers are not the problem!
In the UK, the ex-health minister is attempting to rewrite local pandemic response history – you don’t need to read the book, but the reviews are becoming interesting!
This is a good time to have a bit of a look back and consider where we have come and the journey it has taken. Cases remain basically out of control, and almost all governments have abandoned early early vigilance and protection measures (which can I remind everyone, did work and still do in countries such as China even though they have removed many restrictions now), but at least the fatality rate is well down (see above). So, as I just mentioned journeys, from the Lonely Planet, a time to remember.
Since the start of the pandemic, people have fretted about many other diseases, and emerging/re-emerging ones include tuberculosis, Hansesn’s disease (which used to be called leprosy), mpox (monkeypox as was), New York City virus, bird flu, and streptococcal infections. In some ways these have overshadowed the need for continuing vigilance, and some people have thrown their hands in the air and decided there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves; but that really is not true. For most diseases the protective measures are surprisingly similar.
Now it is time to sign off, except to say that I will revisit this blog if there is anything new of note; so for now keep well, stay masked up and wash your hands, keep your vaccines up to date (and than includes ‘flu, travel vaccines and for older folk, zoster and pneumococcal vaccines).
I have had an interesting time providing this blog, and hope you have found it useful and perhaps entertaining at times. Happy Christmas to you all,
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.