Second coronavirus wave in Switzerland could result in ‘up to 5,000 deaths’

Second coronavirus wave in Switzerland could result in 'up to 5,000 deaths'
A mask on the ground in Lausanne. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Using mathematical models, Swiss researchers have mapped the deadly potential of a second wave of the coronavirus.

The model predicts that a second wave could be far more deadly than the first, with up to 5,000 victims. 

According to researchers at ETH Zurich, who based their findings on figures from the cantons, a second wave of coronavirus would spread more slowly than the first wave. 

This is primarily as the public is now aware of the necessary distancing and hygiene measures to be undertaken. 

Covid-19: How severe will the second wave be in Switzerland? 

According to the model, this would result in far fewer infections than in the first wave – meaning that hospitals were less likely to be overloaded. 

On Sunday, Switzerland's health spokesman Daniel Koch warned of a potential coronavirus second wave in winter

Complacency a potential factor

The researchers found that a major factor in underpinning the deadliness of a second wave was complacency among the population, particularly where this led to members of the public no longer following social distancing and hygiene rules. 

Head researcher Dirk Mohr said in a statement that authorities needed to be ready to put distancing requirements back in place immediately – while the public also needed to be aware that the battle has not yet been won. 

“If the public doesn’t actually see the strain on the capacity of hospitals, people might not take the threat seriously or understand why restrictive measures are necessary.”

“To prevent as many deaths as possible, the authorities have to enact measures at a point when the hospitals are not near collapse.”

If distancing rules were adhered to, the number of fatalities could be as low as 1,000. Figures current as at May 27th show that 1,901 people have died as a result of the coronavirus in Switzerland. 

Schools may be closed again

The researchers found that adolescents were “heavily involved in spreading the virus”, while those in the 35 to 45-year-old age brackets also made a higher than average contribution to its spread. 

If schools were allowed to remain open during a second wave, the tally could go as high as 5,000. 

Mohr said that it was necessary to consider adopting ‘excessive’ measures in order to halt the spread – particularly if the reproduction rate (R-Rate) rose above 1. 

“We have to be aware that if the reproductive number is over 1, it’s worth taking measures in the schools, at work and in public. They might seem to be excessive in certain cases, but they save lives.”


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