Why experts believe Austria’s third wave of Covid ‘has peaked’

Doctors with a patient
BERTRAND GUAY / AFP
A consortium of experts now expects coronavirus infections to decrease across Austria, but does not expect the situation in intensive care units in the eastern states to ease until the end of April. 

The third wave of the Coronavirus pandemic seems to have reached its peak for now, according to experts from the Covid 19 forecast consortium, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports.

 

Hospitals to remain at “critical levels” for next two weeks

However, even if the number of new infections – with the exception of Vorarlberg – continues to decline across all states, this does not mean any rapid relief for the hospitals, the consortium warns, as there is a time lag between a fall in infections and reduced pressure in intensive care units. 

Vorarlberg is the only one of Austria’s states to open its outside dining and events, and the only state apart from Carinthia seeing a rise in infections.

The scientists predict there will be an average of 2,300 new coronavirus infections every day until Wednesday, April 21st, when it will drop to around 2,200 new infections.

The seven-day incidence will fall to 180 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. It is currently at 210.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. 

Intensive care levels also approach critical levels in Upper Austria and Vorarlberg

The consortium predicts the situation with intensive care beds in Vienna, Burgenland and Lower Austria will remain critical until around April 28th.

It also warns that Upper Austria and Vorarlberg may reach critical levels in their intensive care units. 

A “critical level” is defined as more than a third of intensive care beds being occupied by people suffering from Covid 19.

Above the threshold of 33 percent of beds, coronavirus patients begin to “compete” with other intensive care patients, the  Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports. 

In Upper Austria, 30 percent of the intensive care beds are occupied with Covid 19 sufferers and in Vorarlberg 17 percent.

R-Rate now below one

According to the consortium, across Austria the number of reproductions has approached 0.94 in the past few days, broadcaster ORF reports.

This means that each infected person in Austria is currently infecting less than one other person, eventually leading to a drop in infections.

Vaccination is starting to have ‘measurable effect’

Another positive sign is the number of recovered and vaccinated people in Austria is increasing. According to the experts, 20 to 35 percent of the population could now be immune from the coronavirus. This is beginning to have a “measurable effect” on the dynamics of the infection, according to the experts’ analysis.

The first 100,000 doses of additional Biontech/Pfizer vaccines will arrive in Austria in eleven days, according to Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. 

He claims three quarters of the adult population could be vaccinated at least once by the end of June.


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