A health worker performs a PCR. | EFE

They’re not happy in the Seychelles. The archipelago of 115 islands is on the UK’s red list. This is despite some 90% of the target population having been vaccinated. Nevertheless, the cumulative incidence has topped 1,000. The Seychelles, like Chile, offer a warning. Very high vaccination rates and yet things can seemingly go wrong.

That is one issue, another concerns the data. Voices among the Seychelles tourism industry are critical of scaremongering, of a failure to appreciate that a small total population (of just under 100,000) will produce high incidence rates which don’t accurately reflect the situation.

One can sympathise. In Mallorca we repeatedly get examples of municipalities in the extreme risk category of a 14-day incidence of 250 and more cases. Escorca is the most extreme of these extreme examples. Large land area, miniscule population; one case and zero “new normality” becomes extreme risk.

Faintly absurd this may appear, but there is a point to this categorisation. Time was in Mallorca that extreme would require mass testing. This no longer happens. It is also the case that greater sophistication with interpreting data and identifying sources of outbreaks make “extreme” less threatening than it sounds.

So, they may have a point in the Seychelles. This said, 100,000 is rather greater than just over 200 in Escorca, while the real issue is that around a third of people who have tested positive have been fully vaccinated. There are lessons to be learned from extreme data.