The Code COVID19 International Update – 7 October 2021

close up photo of the coronavirus

Dr Priscilla Robinson

The Code COVID19 International Update is a weekly snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic, assessing efforts by nations around the world to test, track and fight the virus. It’s compiled by Dr Priscilla Robinson, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Health at LaTrobe University, and an editor for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

View the latest spreadsheet here

It’s time to pay attention.

Amongst all the talk of case numbers it is worth pointing out that globally there are still one million cases and 15,000 deaths daily. It is a long way from over. However, new case numbers are generally falling week by week, a pattern established for the past month now – lets hope it continues. Fatalities are falling more than cases, with the ‘increase’ week on week now being negative – lets hope that continues.

The rise up global epidemiology the ‘league table’ of several countries, especially in the Pacific region, has become interesting. Countries such as Thailand and VietNam, which (like Australia) had nothing much going on last year, has now got a major problem in its hands, with rates in Thailand of 2% and VietNam’s of nearly 1% of the whole population having been affected (the policy for testing does not always include contacts, so this is very probably an underrepresentation). Vaccinations are slow to get going due to lack of availability etc. Whilst this does not compare with the 10% in many countries, it tells a different story of late starts, low tracing rates, and insufficient health care to cope especially in more remote places.

In Africa, Lesotho has seen a 50% rise in cases this week. Singapore is up 20% or so, and Caledonia has had a similar increase, with a massive 50% increase in fatalities.

The global case fatality rate has fallen again, now 2.04; the rate was 5.44 when this blog started, presumably due to better recognition of symptomless people (carriers who can still transmit it) and better treatment schedules.


Now for vaccines. This is the overview of where we are at globally. A few countries are adding booster doses, and I will try to find a way to add them to the vaccine tracker sheet in a way that makes some sense. This table has this week’s summary – it looks like lower-middle income countries have finally managed to get going, but I fear for the low income countries which are lagging so far behind. I have stopped trying to fathom why the press gets so excited about individual countries getting to high rates and winning some sort of imagined competition. Portugal? Israel? Really? I am more concerned about places with low rates where people go on holiday.


WORLD % who have had at least one vaccination % partially vaccinated according to national schedule % fully vaccinated according to national schedule
Africa 6.78 2.34 4.44
Asia 52.02 14.82 37.20
Europe 56.83 4.39 52.44
European Union 67.30 4.32 62.98
North America 57.81 10.40 47.41
Oceania 49.94 16.47 33.47
South America 62.17 20.89 41.28
Low Income Countries 2.30 1.00 1.30
Lower Middle Income 32.50 17.80 14.70
Upper Middle Income 63.70 8.30 55.40
High income countries 69.00 9.40 59.60
WORLD 45.80 11.89 33.91


Speaking of holidays, the Mayo Clinic has produced an interesting and thorough piece of research about transmission on planes. Spoiler – the risk seems to be very low, with caveats. Thanks SR for the heads-up.


See you next week. Keep well.



About Dr Priscilla Robinson and The CODE COVID 19 International 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, VIC, makes weight-bearing gym exercise and strength training a bit redundant.

The CODE Update is a regular Intouch feature 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 Priscilla’s way of explaining to her friends and family around the world what was happening, and counter their experiences of information overload and misinformation. The update provides links to practical materials and papers written for people who are not versed in the language of outbreaks and epidemic curves. Published weekly, it includes a short commentary to provide context to the numbers included in the spreadsheets.

Note: While 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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