According to task force expert Richard Nir, half the population in Switzerland could be infected with the coronavirus within a few weeks. This is when the Omikron variant propagates at the same speed as before. 30,000 cases a day are ‘conceivable’ in January.
In an interview with SonntagsZeitung, the 42-year-old member of the Federal Scientific Working Group on the Coronavirus said that only 20,000 cases per day in Switzerland and a similar number of unreported cases meant that about 3 percent of the population became infected each week. “.
According to preliminary data from Great Britain and South Africa, the Omikron variant is “somewhat milder,” said the virus researcher and biophysicist from the University of Basel. However, the number of hospitalizations is not insignificant.
“The number of cases is increasing very quickly, and we don’t have much leeway in hospitals,” Nir said. Even if a small portion of cases are hospitalized, a large number of cases can quickly maximize the system in a short period of time. If one wants to prevent a major crisis in hospitals, “the spread must now be slowed.”
As possible measures, the world has set restrictions on major events and places where people continue to meet indoors without a mask. Nir said the past two years have shown that communication restrictions work and that waves can be broken.
Nir estimates that the worst of the omicron wave could be over by the end of January. At some point, the virus will gradually run out of hosts. In parts of South Africa, this point appears to have already been reached.
“The virus will not go away and it will certainly occupy us next winter,” said Nir. “But not to the point where there will be another crisis.”
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