In the seven days to 21 August 2020, the reported number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections recorded in Switzerland was 1,661, 18% higher than the 1,402 cases recorded the week before. The total number of recorded cases and deaths stood at 39,332 and 1,998 by 21 August 2020.
The 7-day rolling average number of new cases was 237. The last time it was this high was 23 April 2020.
Over the weeks prior to this there were 1,037 and 1,078 new cases in Switzerland, according to worldinfometer.com.
Since the start of June 2020, the canton with the highest per capita infection rate is Geneva, according to corona-data.ch. By 19 August 2020, Geneva had recorded 25.9 infections per 10,000 since the beginning of June 2020. Geneva’s recent infection rate is more than double Vaud’s (12.5 per 10,000), the canton with the next highest rate. The infection overall rate for Switzerland is 9.4 per 10,000, since the beginning of June 2020.
With 1,775 new cases, the canton of Zurich has had the highest number of infections since the beginning of June 2020 but trails on per capita infections (11.7 per 10,000).
It is tempting to take comfort in the low number of Covid-19 deaths in Switzerland recently – there were 7 Covid-19 deaths over the last 7 days. The problem with this is that deaths only really take off when viral spread gets out of control and finds its way into vulnerable segments of the population, something that isn’t happening at the moment.
Probably the biggest concern is the exponential rate at which viruses can spread. If cases were to double every day, one infection would grow to more than 1 million infections after 20 days. Epidemiologists are highly aware of this unintuitive mathematics, which can often make their level of concern feel at odds with public perception.
Another challenge is contact tracing. Cantons have a limited amount of bandwidth when it comes to this time- and resource-intensive process. According to epidemiologist Marcel Tanner from the federal Covid-19 task force, a second wave could occur if the cantons’ contact tracing capacity becomes overloaded. In an interview with watson he said this can happen when the number of new cases is consistently high and geographically concentrated. On the other hand, if new cases are evenly spread across the country and don’t continue to pile up then cantonal contact tracers should be able to cope.