Covid-19 in Switzerland: The situation is improving, but will it last?
Latest numbers from the Swiss Health Ministry show the epidemiological situation is getting better in the country. Experts weigh in on the prognosis for the coming months
Fewer infections have been reported in Switzerland since the beginning of this week, with the number of new daily cases dropping from more than 3,000 at the beginning of September to 1,632 on Thursday.
Overall, the incidence of infections went down from 390.03 for 100,000 people on September 17th to 290.95 / 100,000 currently.
And the number of ICU beds occupied by coronavirus patients decreased slightly from more than a third a week ago to 27 percent on Wednesday, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) data.
There are mainly two reasons for this improvement: the end of the summer vacation means there are fewer return travellers who bring the virus from abroad, as was the case in July and August.
But vaccines also play a role, according to Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health in Geneva.
"Vaccinated people are better protected against severe forms of the disease”, he said.
Does this mean the pandemic is winding down in Switzerland?
Even if the epidemiological situation is improving, the virus remains active and volatile, said Rudolf Hauri, president of the Association of Cantonal Doctors of Switzerland.
And the fourth wave is not quite over yet, according to Patrick Mathys, head of FOPH’s crisis management section, who pointed out that the number of cases could go up again as colder weather drives more people indoors.
A similar situation happened in September 2020, when numbers declined before increasing sharply again, leading to a new wave in the fall and winter.
“The winter months are fast approaching and the situation could get worse again”, Mathys warned.
The only way to prevent the number of cases from exploding is to inoculate more people before the cold weather hits, experts said.
To date, 54.39 percent of Switzerland’s population is fully vaccinated: The number has climbed steadily since the introduction of the Covid certificate obligation on September 13th, but it still trails behind the European Union’s average of about 72 percent.