Today, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced 274 new recorded cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection over 24 hours. The last time Switzerland had a daily case number above this was on 19 April 2020 when 336 new cases were recorded.
It is possible that Switzerland is picking up a higher percentage of the total infections now than it was in April 2020 when tests were rationed and typically only available to those with symptoms in risk groups. Now tests are easier to get and the cost is covered by the government.
Positivity rates, the percentage of tests coming back positive, suggest this might be so. On 19 April 2020, the positivity rate in Switzerland was 9.2%. Recently, it has been around 3%. This suggests the real number of infections now might be closer to the recorded number than they were in April 2020.
However, Jacques Fellay, an expert in the human genomics of infectious diseases at EPFL and a member of Switzerland’s federal Covid-19 task force, told RTS that he thinks “we are on a dangerous slope” and could be in for a “very complicated” autumn and winter if the rise in infections continues.
Fellay is particularly concerned about viral spread in enclosed spaces where infection can take off. The large clusters of contamination identified so far are essentially occurring in enclosed spaces, he said, despite people spending more time outside over summer.
If the situation gets worse a return to lockdown cannot be ruled out. In Switzerland, it’s easy to imagine targeted regional confinement at the level of a town or village in the coming months, said the expert.