Category Archives: Global health trends

Afghanistan, where the war on drugs and the war on terror meet

In the last couple of weeks, watching the end of the American war in Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover, I realized that Afghanistan is at the intersection of the war on terror and the war on drugs. I have been … Continue reading

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The current COVID Delta wave

The graph below summarizes the COVID-19 situation as of yesterday (19 August 2021) for a selection of countries of interest to me. Confirmed case numbers have been rising in all these countries except the Netherlands (where case numbers have dropped … Continue reading

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Vaccination and the COVID Delta variant

The COVID Delta variant (B.1.617.2), which started spreading widely in India last October, is highly transmissible and might cause more severe illness and hence death. It has spread to many countries and is now the dominant strain in the UK. … Continue reading

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Excess mortality in the USA and its causes 2000 – 2020

Sam Preston and Yana Vierboom published a short paper in April which showed that Americans die at higher rates than Europeans and this translated into roughly 400,000 additional deaths in 2017 that would not have occurred if the USA had … Continue reading

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New estimates of total global COVID-19 deaths from IHME

A few days ago, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) released estimates of total COVID-19 deaths for countries based on comparisons of total deaths from all causes during the pandemic period with the expected total deaths based on … Continue reading

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Premodern/modern religious values and happiness

I recently came across rankings of countries by average reported happiness produced for The World Happiness Report which was released on March 20, 2021. This is a report produced by independent experts for the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network … Continue reading

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Switzerland: COVID-19 situation and vaccine rollout

Switzerland has fully vaccinated 8% of the population, somewhat ahead of France and Germany and some other EU countries (see first figure). For some reason, the percent of people who have received at least one vaccine is no higher than … Continue reading

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What are the risks of the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Currently, several EU countries are suspending use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, or recommending it not be used in various younger age groups, due to reports of blood clot risks. Australia has decided to delay rollout of vaccination for younger adults … Continue reading

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Global deaths attributable to drugs, alcohol and tobacco

In an earlier post, I presented estimates of drug overdose deaths in 2019 for the world and selected countries. The USA accounted for an astonishing 40% of global drug overdose deaths and an even higher percentage of global opioid overdose … Continue reading

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A Covid Performance Index for countries

An Australian think-tank, the Lowy Institute has produced a Covid Performance Index and used it to examine the impact of geography, political systems, economic development and population size on the Covid-19 outcomes around the world. The COVID Performance Index compiled … Continue reading

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