The CODE Update – 28 July

Priscilla Robinson

View the latest spreadsheet here

Hello again, and here is the global COVID news, and mostly it’s a bit different to the other stories you have been hearing.


This week the big increases in cases, of about 50% in the past seven days, have been in VietNam (again) and Fiji (again) and Cuba. A few countries have had surges of about 10%-20%, in such diverse places as Indonesia, Botswana, Malaysia, and perhaps I could add New South Wales for non-Australians. The WHO regional Snapshop shows some similar patterns: the new cases are about 30% higher this week compared with last in the Americas and Western Pacific, just slightly higher in Europe and Eastern Mediterranean, and a few percent lower in Asia and Africa – 10% higher worldwide. The Americas have had two million cases this week. Remember the worldwide anxiety when we reached the first million? And  the USA’s first million? It seems so long ago and far away now. Deaths are following along with a generally slightly higher proportion, and as its seems to usually take a few days this is presumably a reflection of the previous week.


The main spreadsheet includes 60 countries now (I just added the Cayman Islands, partly because I went there once, and partly because they are a small country with fewer people than some countries have new infections every day, and partly because its my spreadsheet and I can). And New Zealand, which at one time about a year ago was about half way down the list (which is in order of total infections) was looking a bit lonely on the bottom for the last few weeks. There are a few countries with no reported infections, mainly small island nation states and mainly in the Pacific although countries such as Micronesia are terribly at risk if it arrives on their shores, and of course North Korea, but that is a different story. And my hero country, Iceland, has now fully vaccinated almost three quarters of its population, and I don’t care if some of it is the single dose J&J!


The UK’s very helpful Health Foundation  has an interesting set of papers available for one and all. This paper – Three myths the data proved wrong – is a simple explanation about how the unequal death rates are identified, measured, and compared. If you, like me, think there is more to health than COVID-19, there is actually a really interesting collection of resources there for you to explore.


Plus: here is a paper from Nature suggesting that the new variant has people making more virus. An interesting idea that could maybe explain superspreaders of other infections.


Now to worldwide vaccinations.  Sadly, and probably predictably, the people needing it most are getting it least, and I am not referring to anti-vaccination persons. We need to do whatever we can to support the CoVax programme, because we can’t remind everybody enough that we are not safe until we are all safe.


UN/WHO/World Bank economic group % of populations partially immunised % of populations fully immunised
Low Income Countries 1.10 0.20
Lower Middle Income Countries 15.70 5.40
Upper Middle Income Countries 36.50 14.90
High income 52.40 40.60
WORLD 27.30 13.81


For people feeling like it is all never going to end, here is First Dog for you.


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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