Up to 30,000 daily Corona cases expected soon

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The previous record of 17,000 new infections with the corona virus, recorded in Austria on Wednesday, is likely to be pulverized in the coming days. Of it the Covid prognosis consortium is convinced. The experts assume in their current estimate that up to 30,000 new cases per day could be reached soon. At the end of January, a noticeable increase in hospital workloads can also be expected.

It is likely that the daily number of cases will exceed 20,000 by the beginning of the coming weeks at the latest. On January 19, they will almost certainly be significantly higher. As an average value the prognosis consortium assumes 24,000 new infections within 24 hours for next Wednesday, as an upper limit even 32,000 new cases appear in the prognosis. That would correspond nearly to a doubling of the case numbers within a week. With its so far last computation the consortium had hit in the previous week almost exactly the computed upper limit – evenly the now reached 17,000.

As far as the individual federal states are concerned, in Vienna alone more than 7,000, possibly even more than 10,000 Corona cases per day are likely to be added in the coming week. In Lower and Upper Austria and Tyrol, significantly more than 3,000, and at worst up to 4,200, confirmed new infections per day are to be expected in each case. The highest seven-day incidence (new infections in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, note) is expected next Wednesday in Salzburg, which has a lower population and is therefore favored in terms of absolute case numbers. It is expected to range between 2,600 and 4,100. Tyrol and Vienna follow with an expected incidence between 2,300 and 3,800 and 2,200 and 3,700, respectively. The lowest incidences are predicted for Burgenland and Styria with values between 750 and 1,200 and 900 and 1,500, respectively. Austria-wide, a seven-day incidence of between 1,500 and 2,500 is expected for January 19 – currently holding at 835.8, so it will at least double within a week.

The omicron variant, which already accounts for more than 95 percent of detected corona cases in Vienna, will displace or completely replace the delta mutation of coronavirus throughout Austria. It also already dominates the virus incidence in the country as a whole. Nine out of ten infections are caused by the highly infectious variant. Since Omicron has so far led to fewer hospitalizations, “the forecasts of the hospital burden are comparatively lower due to the reduced virulence than was the case with previous waves and comparable case numbers,” the forecasting consortium states. The experts attribute this to an 80 percent decrease in the virulence of the Omicron variant compared to the Delta variant, as well as the fact that doubly vaccinated and younger persons are also infected.

What this means for hospitals is that no further increase is expected initially on Covid wards until next Wednesday. However, this will change by the end of the month if the experts of the forecasting consortium – once again – are right. Accordingly, 650 to 900 patients with Covid-19 are expected to be seen in normal wards on January 19, and 200 to 250 in intensive care units. 242 Covid patients are currently receiving intensive care and 667 in normal wards.

Toward the end of January, hospital numbers should then begin to climb again. The consortium has calculated that in two weeks, up to 330 severe Covid cases could again require intensive care. In normal wards, an increase to 830 covid patients is almost certain; in the worst case, it could be 1,500.

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