This week there seems to be an increase in cases and fatalities in all areas, apart from fatalities in Africa which are down from the previous week. This is quite perplexing as immunisations in Europe and North America are going well, and I am interested that there has not been a noticeable fall in cases yet – maybe it’s all just playing catch-up somehow. However, the global case fatality rate has fallen below 2.2%, so that is good news, and I believe an indication that things are getting better, even if rather slowly. (For new readers, the fatality rate normally falls as an outbreak progresses. If you look at the sheet called ‘in the beginning’, the first spreadsheet I sent out over a year ago, you can see that the fatality rate was over 5.) As usual, a few countries have had ‘surgettes’, some of which will be local outbreaks and will take a few weeks to get under control (for example, PNG).
The problem with vaccines not yet being available to those underfunded countries remains an important issue. The immunisation tracker included in the spreadsheet shows that some countries are going well, and some have hardly started. There are places with vaccines being donated by wealthier countries and distributed through the WHO COVAX programme, but many of these have yet to start reaching peoples’ arms. Just promising to send them is not the same as getting a programme going! Much like here in Australia, where according to the federal government everyone over 70 is now eligible, but as sufficient vaccine has yet to reach the local clinics there are several local adaptations of the national programme (here it is only available for people at risk or over 75, no matter what the government says!!). The Vaccination Tracker sheet shows the approximate number of vaccinations given, plus the cumulative number of vaccines per 100 people. As (with the current vaccines) everybody needs two shots, the closer that number gets to 200 for every 100 people the closer that country is to complete immunisation. As the rollout is staggered everywhere you cannot just divide that number in two (a pity, that would be easy!). A few countries are now getting to their second doses, especially in Europe, but I have not been able to find a reliable source of information logging first and second doses – when I do find one, I will add it.
That’s it for now. Wishing you a happy and peaceful Easter, and a good break. I hope the bilby brings you all an appropriate amount of cake and chocolate, and ‘see’ you all 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 new 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.