On 1 December 2020, Switzerland reported 3,802 new cases of Covid-19 over 24 hours. The figure follows a daily average of around 2,900 over the weekend.
The lower case figure represents progress in reducing the spread of the virus. 3,802 daily new cases is less than half the 7-day average peak of 8,238 reached on 8 November 2020.
According to Virginie Masserey, an infectious disease expert at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the number of cases seems to have plateaued, reflecting the success of the measures taken. However, given the continued high rate of new cases the situation is not very reassuring going into the holiday season, she said. Numbers would need to fall much lower to avoid rising case numbers and a significant impact on the hospital system.
The last time daily cases were at a similar level to now was on 22 October 2020 when the 7-day average reached 3,671. From there, the number of cases nearly doubled (7,229) over the following 10 days.
According to Masserey, hospitals remain strained and patient numbers are only declining slowly. Yesterday there were 3,082 Covid patients in hospital and there are around 50,000 cases that have been reported within the last two weeks. Sadly, some portion of these groups will end up in the death statistics, regardless of what measures are now taken.
Regarding SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations, Masserey said that the Swiss government has contracts with three vaccine manufacturers for a total of around 13 million doses, which represents enough to vaccinate around 6 million people. The contracts are with Moderna (4.5 million doses), AstraZeneca (5.3 million doses) and Pfizer (3.0 million doses). In addition, Switzerland’s participation in COVAX will give it access to doses for a further 20% of the population. These vaccines are predicted to arrive during the first quarter of 2021 but first require approval from Swissmedic, the organisation in Switzerland responsable for drug approval, before they can be used.
Over the last four days, around 75,000 tests were conducted with test positivity of 17%. A campaign to encourage testing will be relaunched on Thursday with the aim of reducing spread by detecting more cases before they spread the virus.
On 1 December 2020, Switzerland’s overall 14-day infection rate was 610 per 100,000. The cantons with the highest 14-day infection rates per 100,000 are now Ticino (831), St. Gallen (761), Neuchâtel (710), Vaud (696) and Geneva (667). These cantons all have infection rates above the rest of Switzerland. The rate in Zurich is 574 per 100,000 – all data from FOPH.