This week, 7,818 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Switzerland, up 27% from the 6,174 recorded the week before.
On a 7-day moving average basis, the number of daily new cases (1,117) is back above 1,000 a day.
The number entering hospital with Covid-19 is stable. Over the last 7 days, 101 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 compared to 122 during the prior 7 days. This week Covid-19 deaths were down. 17 deaths were recorded over the most recent 7 days compared to 33 over the prior 7 days.
The UK has also seen a rising number of new cases. Over the last 10 days the daily number there has risen by around a third to between 40,000 and 50,000. However, so far the rise in hospitalisations and deaths has been relatively muted.
Switzerland’s federal government believes enough people without immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus remain in Switzerland to strain the hospital sector over the winter and is monitoring the situation closely. While the higher level of immunisation is slowing down the circulation of the virus, it is still too low to prevent another high wave of infection, said the government. As the temperature falls and people begin to spend more time indoors the risk of the virus spreading rises.
The unvaccinated continued to make up the majority of those hospitalised and dying with Covid-19 this week despite making up a relatively small percentage of those at risk of severe illness – 87% of those over 70 have now been vaccinated. Over the last 7 days 35 out of the 101 people hospitalised with Covid-19 in Switzerland were recorded as fully vaccinated. Of those dying, 29% were vaccinated. It is possible that the protection offered by vaccines has weakened among older age groups who were vaccinated earlier and have less responsive immune systems.
Delta variant causing more serious illness
The Delta variant is more contagious than earlier variants and increases the risk of serious illness, said the government this week. As more people infected with the virus require intensive treatment, and for longer periods of time, additional strain is placed on ICU capacity, it said. Towards the end of the summer, hospitals experienced such a rapid increase in patients that operations had to be postponed in many places, according to the government.
Switzerland’s vaccination rate continues to stagnate. The latest figures show 65.51% of the population is vaccinated with at least one shot. This rate has moved by only 0.46 percentage points over the last 7 days.
Resistance to vaccination is visible on Switzerland’s streets. A growing minority of those fearful of vaccination and Covid certificates are protesting. In Bern, recent protests against government measures to mitigate the effects of the virus have become violent prompting the police to use tear gas and rubber bullets.