Wednesday evening, Ticino announced drastic measures. As the second most affected canton in the country by Covid-19, will Vaud promulgate a “state of necessity” in Ticino, which could affect schools, restaurants, cinemas and other places of assembly? Will he wait for the position of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)? While a petition calls for schools to be closed and specialists to advocate tougher measures, uncertainty reigned late Thursday afternoon. Several sources within the State of Vaud, however, announced an important communication on Friday.
On March 12 at noon, the Canton reported 180 people tested positive for coronavirus against 57 three days earlier (the OFSP, he identified 156 Vaud cases, as shown in our infographic). Of the 180 Vaudois patients, 40 are hospitalized and 15 in intensive care. The spread is accelerating; the Swiss curve follows a similar trajectory to that of our Italian neighbors.
“No direct relationship between the number of positive cases and the measures”
Eric Masserey, assistant cantonal doctor
“It’s going fast,” says assistant cantonal doctor Éric Masserey about the spread of the virus. And there’s no reason why things shouldn’t speed up in the next few weeks. ” Worried? “I’m like everyone else: concerned about the situation and the impact it will have. But the device is advanced. Will he hold the shock? This is the question everyone is asking. We reacted earlier than Italy. We will see if the measures have worked. ”
Since March 9, screening tests have been reserved for a very specific category of the Swiss population. The OFSP does not want to “overload the health system which must remain functional for the sick who need it”. Only vulnerable patients and healthcare personnel with fever or severe respiratory tract symptoms (cough, difficulty breathing) are tested. A large part of those infected therefore escape the statistics.
Map of Switzerland
“We have given up on knowing what is the evolution of the coronavirus in the general population,” comments Eric Masserey. I think it’s a reasonable decision. ” How to follow the progression of the pandemic under these conditions? “These figures do not allow us to control it. Having more screenings does not tell us what to do. What we want is to bend the slope of the curve; make it go slower. ” He adds that “screening all those with flu symptoms is impossible and of no interest”.
For this specialist in communicable diseases, this data “would in any case be inaccurate and would not answer the question that interests us, namely that of complications”. Health authorities are focusing their attention on the number of complicated cases and the number of hospitalizations, going from a strategy of “containment” of the virus (adopted at the early stage) to a strategy of “mitigation”.
“It is not too late to act. If you do it immediately ”
Emma Hodcroft, epidemiologist, University of Basel
Countries like South Korea have taken drastic measures, notably with massive screening campaigns. The curve has been down there for several days. Are we not depriving ourselves of an essential weapon? “There is no direct relationship between the number of positive cases and the measures to be taken,” repeats Eric Masserey. I do not see the need to have this data to make political decisions. The virus is circulating; we accept it. The real problem is the people at risk who need to be protected. “
The South Korean example
The South Korean example, Emma Hodcroft, epidemiologist at the University of Basel, brandishes him fairly quickly when asked about the behavior to adopt in the face of the pandemic. “In addition to large-scale screenings, South Korea has focused on homework, for example by paying the care costs of many employees to relieve them,” explains the specialist, who therefore advocates the same answer in our latitudes: to multiply the screenings, to encourage the work at home and to avoid the big gatherings. “The virus is spread exponentially by people who often do not know they are infected and therefore have not changed their habits. Cases will continue to multiply in Europe, but it is not too late to act. As long as you do it immediately to avoid extreme measures, “said Emma Hodcroft.
Less catastrophic than several of his colleagues – such as Marcel Salathé, epidemiologist at EPFL, who says he is “disappointed by the slowness of the Swiss authorities” at the RTS -, the Basel expert approves the measures taken by the Federal Council, that it would however prefer to see hardened. Starting with the size of the events allowed. “You shouldn’t have more than 100 people. “We are fortunate to be able to rely on what happened in Italy, where they did not immediately grasp the magnitude of the situation and saw their hospitals quickly saturated.”
Can we compare the statistics between countries, since the indications for screening vary? “It’s difficult indeed,” reacts Eric Masserey. But it is the slope of the curve that is comparable; not the curve. This slope helps us to understand how much things are accelerating. ” Mortality rates will also be difficult to compare. In Switzerland, this rate indicates the number of deaths in the population of patients tested positive who are severely affected or at risk. It has not been said to include screening for safe people with mild symptoms.
Note that if a doctor wishes to test a patient outside of the recommendations issued by Public Health, he is free to do so.
Created: 13.03.2020, 06:41