Category Archives: Global health trends

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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Fundamentalist values, culture and religion

In an earlier post, I summarized trends in religiosity (practicing, non-practicing, non-religious and atheist) for countries in the World Values Survey (WVS) and European Values Study (EVS) from 1980 to 2020 [1-4]. In this post, I take a closer look … Continue reading

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The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic

Today, I took another look at the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic using data on confirmed cases downloaded from the Johns Hopkins University CCSE data repository. This post focuses mostly on western European countries, with a few others like … Continue reading

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The climate crisis has not gone away

The return of the summer wildfires in California reminds us that the climate crisis has not gone away just because there is a pandemic. The USA has recently recorded the hottest ever measured temperature of 54.1 C (130 F) in … Continue reading

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An update on coronavirus in Geneva and Victoria

Switzerland currently bans entry from countries with more than 60 new infections per 100,000 population in the last 14 days. Geneva passed that threshold on 27th July, and passed 100 new cases per 100,000 on 1 August. So if Geneva … Continue reading

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Variations in cultural values across 105 countries in 2019

Working for the World Health Organization over the last 20 years and dealing with national health authorities, I’ve been quite fascinated by the variations across cultures and countries in values and beliefs, and the huge influence they have on willingness … Continue reading

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Drug overdose deaths – another exceptional US epidemic

Earlier this week, CDC released provisional figures for drug overdose deaths in the USA in 2019. They estimate almost 72,000 deaths, the highest annual number yet seen. Initially driven by prescription opioid painkillers, users migrated first to heroin and then … Continue reading

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Covid-19: which countries are succeeding and not succeeding?

There is now sufficient data on social distancing, lockdown, and other measures that researchers are starting to assess the effectiveness of these measures. The July 4th edition of The Economist has an article summarizing what is becoming clear.  Extensive testing … Continue reading

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An out-of-control pandemic in most world regions

I downloaded the Covid-19 data up to 5 July from the JHU Github today and plotted smoothed new cases per day (average over last 7 days) as rates per million population by world region. The dramatic difference in trajectories for … Continue reading

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