This is going to be one of the last Covid diary entries I write, assuming no major new developments or changes in the future. I never, ever, anticipated, now two years ago, that I’d still be writing on this topic, today. I’d already decided that – after two years, 282 articles, and one large book, it seemed there was little more to cover. But, inevitably, there was a major development this week, and astonishingly, it was a very positive one too.
At last, a “real” vaccine has started to gain international approval. The Novavax vaccine, which uses the same type of approach to teaching the body to recognize and fight an invading virus as does the existing and generally considered to be excellent and safe HPV and shingles vaccines (a “protein subunit”) had already been approved by WHO and the governments of India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and this week received approval from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Medicines Agency.
Sadly, that’s no guarantee that the FDA will act on its application for Emergency Use Approval here in the US, but it certainly increases the chance of it. The company says it has the capacity to make two billion doses this year – two doses are required for full protection.
In a trial of 29,960 participants spread across the US and Mexico, a year ago (yes, this is being shamefully slow-walked to approval), the vaccine showed itself to be 100% effective against moderate to severe disease. Novavax is also suggesting it is effective against Omicron.
Let’s hope we rapidly get approval and availability for it here in the US. I’ll for sure be the guy who camped out overnight, to be one of the first in line to get it, as soon as it becomes available.
Super-vaxxed Israel moved up to ninth place in the minor country table. So much for booster and double-booster shots.
France has widened its “lead” over the Czech Rep in the major country table.
In terms of new cases reported last week, the numbers in the table, other than at the very bottom, are all generally lower than a week ago. A glimmer of hope?
In Europe, no country had over 100% increases this week – that’s certainly “damning with faint praise”, but it is better than it has been for a while. Russia was top of the list with an 89% increase, followed by Slovakia at 72%, Ukraine at 52%, then Belarus at 50%. Falling countries were led by Albania and Spain, both with 35% reductions, then Sweden with 33% and Finland with a 32% drop. France had a 20% drop, the UK a 6% drop, but Germany had a 29% rise. It is curious, isn’t it, how the virus behaves so differently between countries with common borders – France with its 20% drop and Germany with a 29% rise. On the other hand, France’s new case rate is still twice that of Germany’s, even after the respective drops and rises.
The EU might be borderless and ever more congruent in many respects, but not in terms of the virus.
Europe as a whole dropped 2% in new cases.
In North America, Canada had a 20% drop, Mexico a 12% drop, and the US a massive 42% drop. South Africa stayed level (to be precise, a 0.3% drop) and Africa as a whole fell 19%. Asia was down 4%, South America down 14%, Oceania down 44%, and the World down 12%.
I hasten to add, this does not mean the virus is on the run and we should get ready to declare victory.
As you can see, case numbers are still at an extraordinarily elevated level compared to ever before, and as you can also see, previous “victories” have been nothing more than a temporary calm before the next storm.
Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Andorra (452,213)||Andorra (470,811)|
|2||Gibraltar (369,443)||Faero Islands (436,491)|
|5||San Marino||San Marino|
|10||Israel (285,195)||Georgia (314,335)|
Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||France (276,681)||France (307,578)|
|2||Czech Rep (268,974)||Czech Rep (292,714)|
|3||Belgium (251,905)||Belgium (276,751)|
|6||UK (237,347)||UK (257,225)|
|7||USA (223,604)||USA (230,928)|
|12||Italy (174,722)||Argentina (185,700)|
Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Peru (6,078)||Peru (6,125)|
|2||Czech Rep (3,456)||Czech Rep (3,475)|
|5||Poland (2,770)||Poland (2,807)|
|6||USA (2,701)||USA (2,756)|
|7||Argentina (2,625)||Argentina (2,664)|
|10||Italy (2,406)||Italy (2,449)|
Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Israel 52,474||Slovenia 51,100|
|2||Denmark 49,789||Denmark 49,353|
|3||Slovenia 41,814||Israel 41,741|
|4||France 38,505||Georgia 35,187|
|12||Sweden 22,471||Austria 25,4571|
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Items below include a look at a job I’d really not enjoy, a mysterious coronavirus signal, a finding from the Department of Really Obvious Research, great information that should be shared, the Travel Insider gets censored twice on Twitter, the world’s largest ivermectin study, with 160k participants, finds a 68% reduction in mortality rates due to ivermectin use, if only we had the same smarts El Salvador has, an interesting assessment from Israel, the implications of full approval now given to both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, is a “James Bond” type evil super-villain toying with us, and the rush to return to normal.
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4 thoughts on “Covid-19 Diary : Thursday February 3, 2022”
Having finally found some data on testing
Here’s a shock. More testing finds more cases. Three of the top five on the new cases chart – Israel, Denmark and Portugal are testing at a rate of 25-30K per million. With a positivity rate between 20 and 27%.
The other two of the top 5 (Slovenia and Georgia) have very high positivity rates (>80% and ~50%).
The US by comparison is testing <5K per million. Currently with a positivity rate of 36%.
Given the differences in the testing rates, it is impossible with the current rates in Israel, Denmark and Portugal for the US to pass them on the table —- even if the US had 100% positive. 100% positive would be <5K per million. The three countries are reporting between 5.7K and 7K cases per million as they are testing at 5X the US rate.
I agree with an earlier statement that the trend lines in a country are very useful. I’m really starting to wonder if cross country comparisons are all that useful with some testing rate factored in.
The link is extremely deceptive/useless, because it shows absolute numbers, not numbers per million of population.
Equally deceptive/useless is trying to match testing rates to anything else. But, for the record, I see Israel’s testing rate is not profoundly more than the US rate. 4.4 tests per person compared to 2.7.
I know you’re keen to show that vaccines work, but that ain’t doing it….
David, even if this is going to be the last Covid-19 Diary (although I sincerely hope it isn’t), I want to thank you for covering this crisis in an open, balanced, and comprehensive way. Your Diary helped me avoid a costly travel-related mistake by taking action sooner, rather than later, and helpfully find out about a much wider range of treatment options than mentioned in the mainstream media.
Many thanks for your kind comments. Talking about travel, you might want to consider some travel far from home at present, for obvious and unfortunate reasons….. 🙁