This week in COVID-land there have been various ‘surges’, which by now you will all recognise as part of a usual pattern. With notable upticks in Africa (Uganda for example has had a 15%-or so increase in the last week) and in some parts of the Western pacific (Fiji has almost doubled its cases again this week). Africa has had about a 40% rise in both cases and fatalities compared with the week before. All other regions are seeing a small drop in both cases and fatalities.
The worldwide case fatality rate has crept up again by .01% to 2.07%, although this seems to be due to a general increase in fatalities compared with +ve diagnoses in parts of Africa, SE Asia, and a lesser extent the South Pacific. Personally, I would like to see it reverse again, but that will not be happening soon as the small increases are in resource-poor countries with general lack of health infrastructure (especially reliable ICU and associated equipment for general use). Maybe previous fatalities just went unrecognised and unrecorded … as has been mentioned many times over the past 18 months, it all depends on how cases and fatalities are actually counted. Plus, some serious attention to providing vaccines would help.
Western countries are immunising at the rate of about 3%-5% of their population each week. The rate needs to be at least that to keep on top of COVID, and get most people immunised before the next northern hemisphere winter.
For people still encountering friends and relatives who are nervous about AZ vaccine, my colleague Hassan Vally has written this very good explanation about the size of the (not-really) risk: Get ready to scroll: three graphs to help you make sense of the AstraZeneca vaccine risk.
However, this is the rather stark reminder on the Oxford Vaccination Tracker website:
“21.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.”
“2.6 billion doses have been administered globally, and 36.1 million are now administered each day.”
“Only 0.8% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.”
The world can do better than this. We are not all safe until we are all safe … repeat …
Lastly, flu continues to be almost a non-event in Australia:
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.