Federal and cantonal lockdown measures are becoming stricter by the day as authorities seek to minimise contact and infection risk.
But what is the actual risk of infection in each Swiss canton?
Using a risk tool developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology, Swiss data analyst Thorsten Kurz broke down the risk of contracting coronavirus in each of Switzerland’s 26 cantons.
The variable in determining the risk is the amount of people you meet. Kurz says the information is based both on infection rates in each canton as well as the estimated number of undetected infections.
“Because the virus has been able to spread slowly but exponentially all summer long – with a long doubling time – we can already assume that it will spread across the board,” says Kurz.
According to Martin Ackermann, President of Switzerland’s Federal Corona Task Force, the number of undetected cases is three to four times the number of known cases in each canton.
Kurz also emphasises that the risk increases with the closeness of the exposure which highlights the importance of masks and social distancing.
“The risk of infection depends on the dose of viral that gets into the body. Indoor spaces with poor ventilation and crowding should be avoided, masks help to reduce the dose,” Kurz told Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes.
— Thorsten Kurz (@t_kurz) November 6, 2020
According to the tool, the risk is highest in the western parts of the country.
The following has been divided according to risk categories.
The reference to age relates to the age of the person(s) you're meeting, rather than your own age.
As the study takes into account people who are infected and undetected, people of a certain age have a higher risk of carrying the coronavirus.
Therefore, this is reflected in the tool.
Less than five percent risk of contracting Covid-19
To reduce your risk of catching Covid-19 to less than five percent, it is recommended to meet nobody in several western Swiss cantons including Geneva, Fribourg and Valais for people between the ages of 20 and 39.
Meeting zero people is also recommended for people over 80.
For those in other age brackets, meeting only one person keeps the risk at five percent.
Basel Stadt on the other hand is ready to mingle, where people can meet up to nine others while keeping their risk below five percent (in certain age groups).
Up to ten percent risk of contracting Covid-19
The news isn’t much better for people in the west who are looking to keep their risk below ten percent, where meeting only one person will keep the risk below the threshold.
On the other hand, larger group meetings could take place in Solothurn, Glarus and of course the Basels.
Up to 25 percent risk of contracting Covid-19
To give yourself less than a quarter’s chance of contracting Covid-19 in the west of the country, people between 20 and 39 can meet a maximum of two people.
On the other hand, folks in Basel City could meet four dozen septuagenarians and keep their risk below one quarter.
Up to 50 percent risk of contracting Covid-19
Real risk takers who will have a 50 percent chance of contracting the virus can meet only around five or six people in the west of the country, while the numbers are of course much higher in the centre and east.