Another interesting week, with an overall drop once again in both cases and fatalities. It is unclear about why there is a rise in deaths in the Americas and Europe – perhaps these are in people who have been unwell for a while.
I have added another couple of countries to the main spreadsheet, partly because I am interested to see how conflict zones are going, and partly because I had not previous included Austria and Portugal plus Monaco and Liechtenstein, because – well do I really need a reason? -and Europe in some ways needs to be viewed as a whole because of the ways they are politically organised. For anyone interested, despite having quite small populations (especially Austria and Liechtenstein) they have all had high rates, Austria at 10%. It does look very much like a fairly even problem all over Europe. I know there are now some complex travel arrangements for allowing travel between the EU countries, the UK, and North America involving negative pre-departure antigen tests, vaccine passports and home quarantine (which very much resembles our rules about only five reasons to leave home). So let’s hope we can get there in a month or two.
I really wonder though what is happening the in world’s trouble spots of Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and so on. Their rates of disease are improbably low, and vaccination rates pretty much non-existent.
Also remaining interesting are the paradise islands of the Seychelles, the Maldives, and French Polynesia, all with very high rates of disease but admirable vaccination rates – although there is some questioning about the overall efficacy of some of the vaccines being used.
The areas with notable increases this week are in the Western Pacific, especially Philippines (vaccine programme getting there), Malaysia (doing well with vaccine programme), and Australia (very late starter is my take on this). Within Australia of course New South Wales at the moment has a population rate now about one third higher than Victoria’s having overtaken both case numbers and population rate last week (see also the Tale of Four Outbreaks sheet for details of the ups and downs of the current Australian situation).
This paper is interesting and food for thought, about leadership during pandemics (spoiler alert – not only COVID-19!!). I also think it is a little worrying that the competency model they end up with does not appear to include any content knowledge; it might be implicit and buried somewhere, but I cannot find it. However, there are some interesting points made, so if you are interested here it is.
This paper from Nature about COVID-19 in children, provides evidence that small children have immune systems which can cope well with COVID-19 infection, and generally do not get too sick and have a very, very low death rate (although not zero).
And I nearly forgot – here in Oz our flu is as low as last year.
See you next week
About Dr Priscilla Robinson and The CODE 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 makes weight-bearing gym exercise and strength training a bit redundant.
The CODE Update is a regular feature on the Intouch blog 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 a way of explaining it to Priscilla’s friends and family who happen to live all over the world, and who were being bombarded with information and misinformation in their own countries. The CODE Update provides links to practical materials and papers written for people who are not versed in the language of outbreaks and epidemic curves. It is sent out every week, and includes a short commentary to provide context to the numbers included in the spreadsheets.
Note: Whilst 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.