Welcome to The Medical Republic‘s COVID Catch-Up.
It’s the day’s COVID-19 news in one convenient post. Email [email protected] with any tips, comments or feedback.
- Oxford trial for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine resumes.
- How accurate are mortality figures for COVDID-19? Not very, say experts.
- The latest confirmed COVID-19 infection numbers from around Australia.
- The COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials run by Oxford University and AstraZeneca have resumed after being paused last week to investigate a possible adverse event associated with the vaccine. According to the BBC, an independent safety review committee and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency advised that the study could resume.
- How accurately are deaths from COVID-19 being counted? Not very, say the authors of an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which explores the challenges associated with certifying deaths from a disease that may have long-lasting health repercussions.
Even counting so-called direct deaths from COVID-19 has not been as straightforward as it might seem: the authors pointed out that the standard case definition for COVID-19 didn’t get finalised in the United States until 5 April, more than four months after the first case was recorded.
The US Centers for Disease Control tried to reduce the underestimation by counting all deaths from pneumonia, flu-like illness and COVID-19, then subtracting from that figure the expected number of deaths from seasonal influenza and pneumonia.
However the authors argue that the concept of a death from COVID-19 needs to be considered in the context of this being a disaster setting, where indirect deaths – for example, due to psychological distress as well as the physiological sequelae of infection – may still be occurring months or even years after the initial event.
“The CDC recommends applying the ‘but for’ principle when ascertaining disaster-related deaths: ‘But for the [pandemic], would the person have died when he/she did?’,” they wrote, describing this as a “simple and feasible intervention” that could significantly improve the reporting of indirect deaths.
- Here are the total confirmed COVID-19 infection numbers from around Australia to 9pm Sunday:
National – 26,651, with 810 deaths
ACT – 113 (0)
NSW – 4166 (9)
NT – 33 (0)
QLD – 1149 (0)
SA – 466 (0)
TAS – 230 (0)
VIC – 19,835 (41)
WA – 659 (0)