Switzerland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been rather tepid compared to those of many other countries in Europe. Its slow and weak response may be partly due to its Federal structure with a weak central government. The Federal Council’s latest proclamation on March 20th was to announce no lockdown but an incremental tightening of congregation limit to less than 5 persons whereas Germany has lowered a similar limit to 2 persons. Its basic attitude has been to let the coronavirus have free rein and spread and now it is #1 in hotness of all populous countries in the world, with 1,222 confirmed cases per million citizens — surpassing its neighbor, Italy. Part of the problem has been its insistence on maintaining open borders and its historical “neutrality” in many wars. But the coronavirus is an invader of a different sort — totally unsympathetic to neutrality.
Fortunately, its lagged5 mortality rate (the current death count divided by the average confirmed cases 3–7 days prior) has been a low 2.8% compared to 15.9% in neighboring Italy where many of its infections came from. Partly this has been due to the lower median age of 42.4 versus 45.5 in Italy. Partly it has been due to a slightly better hospital bed situation. But we predict that with such a high infection rate, the Swiss healthcare system will soon be overwhelmed and higher mortality rates are very likely. Someone should be sounding the alarm in Switzerland. Neighboring EU countries should be very concerned since the Swiss hot zone may reinfect them even after they were able to control their own country’s pandemic.
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