An empty Covent Garden in locked-down London (Image: Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

COVID-19 deaths around the world have steadily increased, despite lockdowns and medical advances. May and June last year experienced promising declines, as did September. But November was bad, December worse and January worst of all, with a death toll of more than 410,000 people.

COVID-conquering countries

Clearly some countries have met the challenge much better than others, which confirms ever-increasing fatalities are not inevitable. Appropriate strategies do work.

Globally, 22 major countries had no deaths in January -- up from 19 in December, but down from 23 in November. The developed countries in this list are Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and Singapore. This is a welcome return to the winners’ circle for Australia after one death in each of the last two months.