Switzerland and COVID-19: is everything really right?

From the English version of the official website of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health FOPH

It is not fair to criticise government decisions during an emergency, but if these decisions directly contributed to spread the Coronavirus infections, causing a lot of deaths, then I think they should be denounced. Hopefully that everything can work as a lesson learned.

The Swiss government, the Swiss perfect application of the federal state which gives full powers to the Cantons regarding the public health, the slowness of the Swiss politicians, and the absence of humility to learn from other countries are dramatically and very quickly dragging Switzerland into a new severe COVID-19 emergency, putting this small Country very low in the ranking of the efficiency of the implemented measures to combat COVID-19!

Here some macroscopic evidences and unforgivable Swiss mistakes since the start of the pandemic.

1) During the “first wave” of the contagion, started also in Switzerland at the very end of February 2020, the main consultant of the federal government and communicator on COVID-19 matters was a certain Dr Daniel Koch, so-called “Mr Corona”, head of the department of infectious diseases of the Federal Office for Public Health. In some interviews, he started minimising the pandemic, “showing off” his very past experiences in Africa during the Ebola outbreak, and adopting the still disgusting comparison between COVID-19 and the “usual” flue. He never warned about the use of protective masks; on the contrary he always said that the social distancing would have been enough, even on the public transportation, to avoid any contagion! According to Dr Koch, masks would have given the people a fake feeling of safety. When Dr Koch was calmly spitting his “truths”, all the world, including (even if late) WHO, already recognised the importance of adopting protective masks to control the diffusion of possible infections.

Dr Koch retired in April and stopped brainwashing the Swiss population, who was never really taking into account the possibility of using masks indoor, only relying on hygiene and the 1.5 meter distance. Distance which, by the way, very few were really keeping, misunderstanding the “common” maximum 50 cm with the minimum 1.5 meter! However Dr Koch left no real successor as single point of communication and expertise, leaving the health minister quite alone.

2) Switzerland introduced the mask obligation, on the public transportation only, on the 6th July 2020, i.e. more than 4 months after the start of the emergency! A scandalous delay!

3) Even if some cantons obliged the use of masks indoor, some others never imposed this measure, despite the exponentially increasing number of infections. Unacceptable!

4) Finally, with a guilty and unforgivable delay, the Swiss federal government obliged the use of masks indoor (public places, stations, bus stops, airports, …) only on the 19th October 2020, 7 months after the start of the COVID-19 “hell”! Unbelievable!

5) After having reported increasing new infections every day for the last two weeks, last Friday, 23rd October, Switzerland hit 6’634 new infections in one day. Considering that Switzerland has a population of slightly more than 8’500’000 inhabitants, you can calculate what this number would mean in your own country…

6) Although the infection numbers are increasing exponentially in the last weeks, after obliging the use of protective masks, the health minister, Alain Berset, and the government are hesitating to define new more severe rules to try to contain and reduce the number of infections. The health minister promised new measures but not before next Wednesday, 28th October. Why? Because he has to agree these measures with the cantons (and probably with his government mates…).

When the emergency can put the health of the population at risk, the actions shall be severe and quick and not just politically aimed at not changing the daily routine of the population! Why not “motivating” the respect of the rules by introducing significant fines for not following them, to eventually finance the most penalised working categories in this emergency?

Masked trams in Zurich

Photos taken from 20min.ch

The trams in Zurich wear protective masks, protective masks with the motto “with good example forward”!
This is a wonderful signal and a good message to restart after the lockdown due to the Covid-19.
Public transportation shall be used by the passengers using protective masks, which is the only way to reduce the danger of contageon, being impossible to keep the distances on a bus, a tram or a train!

Great example from Zurich city! Especially because surprisingly the Swiss ministers and the Federal Office of Public Health are continuing to sermonise on the importance of keeping distances and washing hands, neglecting the decisive importance of protective masks!

Maybe big cities like Zurich have more acquaintance with risk mitigation measures than the lovely federal countrysides?