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 LaTrobe University, and an editor for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
Well, we had our power restored, this time after six days (better than the eight last time) so normal service is resumed. The fact that it takes so long to do anything without power is a good reminder that life is like that for much of the world’s population, where it takes an hour or two to collect water for the day, and finding fuel for cooking also involves long walks and much energy. It does not leave much time for anything else. But the complete lack of any kind of public health support reminded me – if I needed reminding – that at the moment public health is really only about COVID-19 and nothing else. Defrosted was freezers? Safe drinking water? Clearing roads so it was possible to access some basic food? Running C-Pap machines or keeping medical supplies cool? Up to us to deal with it – once again no support for some of the people who really needed help. Once again, all advice was to access websites, which was fine if the internet was functioning.
Anyway, to global COVID-19. There may, or may not be a slight uptick in global cases; the WHO website continues to report some problems with data transfer. The much-reported blip in Europe is visible here, however the nearly 20% rise in Africa is in hitherto relatively unaffected countries; South Africa has calmed down a lot, however Somalia has had quite a big increase in the past week.
The 75 countries (of 195 worldwide) on this list include over 90% of cases and deaths notified to WHO, which indicates either that the other countries really have few cases, or that they have cases but are not notified, or that they have very substandard health care, or that healthcare is not accessible when people are really sick, or a combination of all of these. The horribly fatality rates in places like the Yemen (nearly 20%) and Peru (9%) suggest a combination, although some countries like PNG which still have low notified rates of cases and low fatality rates (along with minimal immunisation rates) point to overarching systematic problems.
Interestingly I have just marked a thesis from PNG which is about access to vaccination, and the results are quite different to the hot air from various experts (such as the Churches are not trusted), although I agree that maintaining the cold chain supply can be a problem, although not quite the one we are hearing about here. Maybe someone could ask some local people about it. Just saying.
And here in Australia? Who knows what is really going on here, I have lost track I have to say. Information is available, but not at all sure what it might all mean. Except that vaccination rates are generally on the rise, and vaccines might be approved for younger children soon, which can only be described as a good thing.
The global fatality rate is now down to 2.02, which indicates a couple of things: that diagnosis and treatments are becoming better, and that the vaccines are really stopping people who are testing +ve from becoming critically sick.
This week there have been a couple of interesting articles:
and this YouTube video (skip the annoying ads) which explains viral mutations.
Now, whilst not directly about COVID-19, climate change and communicable diseases are not entirely unrelated, so here is a YouTube earworm to lift the spirits (thank you LN for the heads-up).
YOU’RE THE VOICE – An Anthem From Women For Climate Action & Hope | 1 Million Women.
See you next 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. 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.