The CODE update – 3 June

Priscilla Robinson

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This is one of those ‘nothing to see here’ weeks. Globally, both cases and fatalities have fallen.  Africa seems still to be dealing with a problem, and I cannot see an explanation for the doubling in Europe compared with the week before, unless I have mis-transcribed a number a while ago (very possible – in which case apologies as usual).

Europe in general is doing so well with vaccination, and many countries have had a real drop in new cases and fatalities – the UK recorded a day with none yesterday – so let’s hope this is a continuing trend.

So, time for a general update:

The 56 countries on this list, home to 70% of the world’s population, have seen 87% of its cases and 82% of its deaths. And the first three countries, USA, India & Brazil, home to 25% of all people, have seen 45% of its cases and 33% of its deaths.

The countries with very high attack rates are: Czechia (15%), Maldives and Seychelles (both 11%), and Sweden (10%). Several countries are approaching 10%, including USA, Netherlands, Belgium, and Israel. India sits at just over 2%, and these differences can probably be explained through many anomalies and differences in reporting systems. Why, for example, does Mexico still have a fatality rate so much higher (9.26% of cases) (yes, I have checked these numbers, many times, because they are such outliers) compared with the global rate (of 2.08%)? Do fatalities become ascribed without testing, or are most cases not detected?

Part of this is because Africa and the Pacific have been relatively spared to date, but when travel starts again that won’t be the case for long – so we need definitely the COVAX programme to be well supported.

Other COVID news in case you missed it: all new SARS CoV-2 strains are being re-labelled (with Greek letters) to avoid the nationally-stigmatising labels. So, the previous US president can no longer call it the ‘Chinese Strain’. When I find some reliable information about this, I will post it.

I still remain perplexed about the case rate in the Maldives and Seychelles, because their vaccination rates are also impressively high. According to the Oxford immunisation tracker, both are using Pfizer and Sinopharm/Beijing (Maldives also is using AZ). Watch this space.

For those of us back in lockdown again, for the 4th time, for people not in Australia, here is some information about face masks. Whilst we could have done with a summary like this about a year ago, better late than never I suppose.

Until 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.

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