After declining steadily at the end of February, sparking hopes that it will drop below 1,000 infections a day, the number of coronavirus cases jumped in the past week, exceeding 1,400 on Thursday.
Overall, from the first week of March, the number of reported infections went up by nearly 5 percent. (However, it must be noted that the number of tests also increased, by almost 4 percent).
The R-rate, which indicates how fast the virus is spreading, also jumped from below 1 to 1.07 currently. This means the daily number of cases is climbing.
“When the number of cases increases so rapidly, we can speak of a new wave”, said Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva.
He noted that the new outbreaks already began in the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Balkans, and then Italy. “Switzerland is likely to be the next country”, Flahault said.
Where are the newest hotspots?
Just like during the second wave in the fall of 2020, French-speaking cantons of western Switzerland are reporting the most cases.
While overall in Switzerland the rate of infections per 100,000 is 174,76, it exceeds 200 in Geneva (265), Vaud (269), Fribourg (217), Valais (243), Jura (210) and Neuchâtel (239)
This colour-coded map from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) shows where most cases are (darkest areas) and which regions are least affected (lightest) — that is, below 200 / 100,000.
Of the people who have tested positive between February 25th and March 10th 4,421 were found to be contaminated with one of the virus mutations. This number rose from 63 percent of all infections on February 25th to over 77 percent currently.
There is, however, some positive news as well.
While the number of infections is rising, the number of deaths and hospitalisations has dropped.
It is too early to know whether this decrease is due to vaccinations.