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Covid hotspots: The situation in Switzerland right now

Given the skyrocketing number of infections, this Swiss poster may be just wishful thinking. Photo by: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Given the skyrocketing number of infections, this Swiss poster may be just wishful thinking. Photo by: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
The epidemiological situation in Switzerland is still deteriorating, as the number infections and hospitalisations is continuing to climb.

On Wednesday, Switzerland registered 12,598 new infections, beating the previous record by at least 2,000. 

READ MORE: 12,598: Switzerland hits all-time daily Covid case record

The rate of infections has now risen from 989.09 per 100,000 inhabitants on November 30th to 1,321.64 / 100,000 on December 8th.

Geographically, the largest outbreaks are still in the eastern and central part of the country, with Thurgau, the two Appenzells, Schwyz, and Obwalden remaining the epicentres of the pandemic. Daily cases in St. Gallen, Glarus, and Nidwalden also exceed the national rate per 100,000 people.

As this map from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) demonstrates, the wave of pandemic, which was concentrated in the eastern and central regions of Switzerland throughout the fall, has now spread to the rest of the country.

You can judge how much more extensive pockets of infection are (the darker blue colours) by comparing it with a map from November 22nd, when the western cantons were mostly spared.

Hospitalisations

While the situation in ICUs was mostly manageable in the past few weeks, health officials are now warning of the overcrowding and imminent triage of Covid patients.

Health facilities across Switzerland, including Geneva’s university hospital (HUG), have already started to cancel non-urgent surgeries in order to make room for coronavirus patients.

 In Zurich, the situation is dire as well, with ICUs in the canton reaching near-full capacities, as the number of Covid admissions has doubled over the past month. 

READ MORE: ‘No more ICU beds’ in Zurich as Switzerland hits all-time Covid case record

On December 7th, there were 264 coronavirus patients in Swiss ICUs; the government has said that when this number reaches 300, triage will have to be put in place.

This map represents the occupation of ICUs across the country. Only two cantons — Appenzell Innerrhoden and Obwalden —  are marked in white, indicating they have no intensive care units in their hospitals.

Deaths

While the number of Covid-related deaths has gone up in the past weeks, it still remains relatively low in comparison to the first two waves in spring and fall of 2020.

The fact that fewer people are dying of Covid is due to vaccination, according to Julien Riou, epidemiologist at the University of Bern.

“Vaccines are very effective at preventing 90 to 95 percent of severe cases and deaths. So the people who are most at risk now are the vulnerable and the non-vaccinated”, he said.

FOPH data does show that most of those who died from coronavirus are people over the age of 80, who were the first to be vaccinated a year ago and whose immunity has dropped.

Overall, most deaths have been among the unvaccinated.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why are Covid infections soaring in Switzerland despite vaccination?


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