The CODE Update – 15 July

Priscilla Robinson

View the latest spreadsheet here

There is not a lot of good world news this week, including what’s happening with COVID.

A few countries clearly are slowing down, presumably due to vaccination programmes, and in most countries in Europe fatalities have really fallen. Which has contributed, at last, to the overall case fatality rate dropping to 2.16, after the worldwide rate rose overnight due to Peru adding several thousand to its total. This week there have been increases in all WHO regions, several countries, some quite large, including many which have not been the recipient of breathless reporting of ‘the hospitals are at breaking point and the cemeteries have run out of space’ sort.

The stand-outs are Fiji (almost double the cases and fatalities) and Vietnam, which has had a more than 50% increase in both cases and fatalities, both countries in a week, and Laos is not far behind. Other countries with increases of about 25%, whilst not as dramatic, include Cambodia, South Africa, fatalities in Namibia (which now has a higher case rate than its neighbour South Africa), Mozambique, Rwanda, Thailand, and Myanmar is catching up – that whole geographical SE Asia peninsula is certainly having an increased problem.

For people allowed to leave home and go on holiday, here are the places I suggest are best avoided for now:

Seychelles (the front runner with an AR of 17.25%), Czechia (15.59%), Maldives (13.9%), Sweden (10.82%), Netherlands (10.14% – sorry Nick!), Argentina (10.28%), and the USA (10.13%).

The percent of these populations who are fully vaccinated are:

  • Seychelles (again the front runner with 69.3% fully vaccinated with Pfizer & Sinopharm),
  • Czechia (35.6% with AZ, Pfizer, Moderna and J&J),
  • Maldives (40.6% with AX, Pfizer & Sinopharm),
  • Sweden (35.3% with AZ & Pfizer),
  • Netherlands (39.2% – with AZ, Pfier, Moderna and J&J),
  • Argentina (11.1%, AZ, Sinopharm & Sputnik), and
  • USA (47.5%, Pfizer, Moderna, J&J).

Some of these countries therefore must almost have reached herd immunity if previous infection provides protection, which it seems it should.

So for Australians who are waking up to the fact that we really were the ‘lucky country’ last year but didn’t really work out why, our fully vaccinated rate of 8.8% is not terrific, especially when it is not really the right 8.8% – who should be all of our front line staff, aged care workers etc. For people not living in Australia, we aren’t allowed out (unless we are on a trade mission or we are a politician going to be an observer at an important international talkfest). Instead we seem to be having a ridiculous discussion about the ethics of requiring vaccination to work in some settings; when in reality the choice should be about where to work if you choose not to be vaccinated, not whether or not the staff working in aged care settings etc should be asked to vaccinate. Just saying.


Now for other COVID-related news.

A highly readable paper in Nature shows that along with colds and ‘flu, there has been a big reduction in asthma, an effect apparently seen in a number of countries.

How your mask protects other people is a short video, for people who still don’t understand why they work.

Shall we vaccinate our children? We could start by asking them first

Covid: Children’s extremely low risk confirmed by study is a BBC report especially for Australians who have only just found out that COVID is not confined to older people, which summarises most of the world has known for about a year. The overall risk of death is around two in a million children, scientists looking at England’s data estimate.

Disclaimer: The BBC is not responsible for the content of this email, and anything written in this email does not necessarily reflect the BBC’s views or opinions. Please note that neither the email address nor name of the sender have been verified.

Heart inflammation link to Pfizer and Moderna jabs, so parents of above said younger people can be confused, again:

But European regulators say the benefits of Covid vaccines continue to far outweigh the risks.

Disclaimer: The BBC is not responsible for the content of this email, and anything written in this email does not necessarily reflect the BBC’s views or opinions. Please note that neither the email address nor name of the sender have been verified.


And now for First Dog’s take on it all especially for Australians who haven’t seen it yet:

Dog On The Moon Comic

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.



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