Swiss COVID Task Force predicts 20.000 cases a day by mid-January
The Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force has warned that the country could see 20.000 COVID cases a day by mid-January - almost double the current rate. The modelling takes into account data on the Omicron variant, which is spreading rapidly abroad and within Switzerland.
50 percent of Swiss COVID cases will be Omicron by 2022
Speaking at a press conference in Bern, the President of the Task Force, Tanja Stadler, said that Switzerland would not be spared an explosive increase in Omicron cases. Despite Switzerland using exclusively mRNA vaccines, which have proven to be effective at countering the variant, the Task Force report predicted 50 percent of COVID cases between the Christmas holidays and January 6 will be Omicron.
In their main prediction, the Task Force estimated that there could be over 20.000 COVID cases a day by mid-January, which is 9.000 cases a day more than the current rate of infection. Alongside the high case count, the task force predicted 10.000 hospitalisations in January alone. Modelling has been particularly challenging in Switzerland, due to the high rate of Delta that is still in the country.
25.000 COVID cases in Switzerland as a worst-case-scenario
In the most extreme scenario, the Task Force predicted 25.000 cases a day as early as January 2, which would put a great strain on the healthcare system, which is already having to cope with an increase in hospitalisations due to the Delta variant. The most optimistic estimate was that cases will stay at around 10.000 a day until mid-January, before rising once again.
The Task Force did not make any statements on the severity of the new Omicron variant, as thorough studies are only expected to be completed in the next few weeks. While the Federal Office of Public Health has called for calm, Patrick Mathys, head of crisis management at the FOPH, said the rapid rise in cases could have consequences for hospitals and doctors throughout the country, especially as winter takes hold.