On 16 October 2020, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) reported 3,105 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection over 24 hours, bringing the reported weekly total to 14,054, a figure 135% higher than the week before.
Swiss hospitals are admitting more Covid-19 patients. An additional 68 were admitted over the last 24 hours, according to FOPH. There are currently 515 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across Switzerland, according to FOPH figures published by RTS. Over the last 7 days, a further 32 Covid-19 deaths were reported in Switzerland.
During the first wave, hospitalised cases in Switzerland peaked at 2,388 on 2 April 2020. At this point weekly deaths were running at 344. On 17 March 2020, 16 days before this hospitalisation peak, there was a similar number of hospitalised patients (551) and a similarly low number of deaths over the 7 preceding days (24) as there is today. The big difference now is the number of recorded cases. Over the last 7 days there were 14,054 compared to 2,245 over the 7-days to 17 March 2020. This makes the virus look less lethal.
Hans Kluge, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) European director, said on Thursday that he largely attributes the lower recent mortality rates across Europe to the number of tests performed, with much higher testing among younger less vulnerable age groups. However, the virus has not changed. It has not become more or less dangerous, he said. So far, the infection curve is higher, but the slope is lower and less fatal for now. But it has the potential to worsen drastically if the disease spreads back into older age cohorts, he warned.
Martin Ackermann, head of Switzerland’s Covid-19 scientific task force, told RTS that the second wave is still at an early stage. The numbers are a shock, but also a trigger to quickly respond, he said. Masks, working from home and restrictions on gatherings could become widespread again.
On 16 October 2020, cantons with the highest 14-day infection rates per 100,000 were Jura (490), Schwyz (474), Geneva (459), Valais (444), Appenzell Innerrhoden (434), Neuchâtel (361), Vaud (330), Fribourg (328), Zug (298), Obwalden (225) and Zurich (215) – data from FOPH.
The rate of positivity – the percentage of tests coming back positive – continues to rise. The latest daily reported rate was 14.4%, up from 9.8% a week ago. All other things being equal, this suggests a smaller percentage of actual cases are being detected.