Unlike the first wave, where the western and southern parts of Switzerland were hit hardest, the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the entire country.
While Geneva, Vaud, Fribourg and Valais were hit hard on both occasions, the second wave has impacted many of Switzerland’s smaller central and eastern cantons, including Schwyz, Glarus and the Appenzells.
Where are the current hotspots?
Currently, Geneva remains one of the hardest hit cantons in Switzerland, along with Fribourg on a per capita basis.
A glimpse of the following map shows that the south and in particular the west of the country is currently experiencing the worst of the pandemic.
Where have the most people died in Switzerland due to coronavirus?
Since the start of the pandemic, 3,567 people have died all across Switzerland.
Almost half of those have come from just four of Switzerland’s 26 cantons – Vaud, Geneva, Ticino and Bern.
Zurich, by a long way Switzerland’s most populous canton, has seen the fifth highest number of fatalities.
While each canton has been touched by tragedy, the fatality numbers are much fewer in some of Switzerland’s smallest cantons, including Nidwalden, Uri and Appenzell Innerrhoden.
The following table – which has been republished with permission from Statista – breaks down fatality numbers from canton to canton.
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What is the situation in Switzerland’s intensive care units?
Generally speaking it is not in the interests of hospitals to keep ICU beds empty at the ready – which is why many hospitals have been able to increase the capacity as demand has gone up.
As reported by Watson, while the number of beds has been boosted significantly, ICU capacity was increased by a larger number of beds in the spring.
This suggests that more beds may be made available if hospitalisations continue to increase.
Due to these efforts, Switzerland’s ICU Monitoring authority estimated there were 258 ICU beds free in all of Switzerland as at November 19th.
Only two cantons – Schwyz and Fribourg – have hit their full capacity, while two others – Solothurn and Aargau – are in a critical range.
The following chart shows the percentage of beds which are being used in each canton in relation to the current expanded capacity of each canton’s ICUs.
NOTE: No data is available for Appenzeller Innerrhoden and Obwalden.
Testing: How widely does Switzerland test?
Despite the sophistication of its healthcare system and its comparative wealth, Switzerland is still not carrying out enough coronavirus testing.
According to new figures put together by Our World in Data and published in Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung, only four countries – Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania have tested less than Switzerland over the past seven days.
The ‘tests per case’ is another way of explaining ‘test positivity’, which refers to how many tests need to be carried out in order to identify one positive coronavirus case.
Switzerland over the past seven days has carried out 3.7 tests per positive case.
Poland (2.1), Bulgaria (2.6), Croatia (3.4) and Romania 3.6) are the only other countries in Europe who carry out fewer tests per positive case.
Denmark leads Europe, with 60.2 tests per case, followed by Turkey (50.3), Norway (35.9) and Finland (34.1).
The World Health Organisation suggests that 10-30 tests per case should be considered an international benchmark for adequate testing.