Since Covid tests cost
Test numbers are falling – the number of unreported cases is rising
The corona numbers are falling. But don’t let that fool you. Because the tests are no longer paid for by the state, fewer and fewer can be tested. This is increasingly distorting the picture of the pandemic.
Anyone who has wanted to be tested for Corona since the beginning of the year has to dig into their own wallet.
Daniel BallmerEditor Politics
It came as it had to come. It’s over with free tests. Anyone who has wanted to be tested for Corona since the beginning of the year has to dig deep into their own wallet. A rapid antigen test costs around 40 francs, a PCR test around 140 francs. Fewer and fewer can or want to afford that.
The Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) also assumed a “significant reduction” in the number of tests. The logical consequence: This also reduces the number of confirmed new infections. On Thursday, the BAG reported 4166 new cases from the past seven days. A week ago there were 12,632 confirmed new infections. The Federal Office speaks of a stable situation.
The number of unreported cases continues to rise
At first glance, this seems positive. However, there is one flaw: in mid-December, more than 10,000 corona tests were carried out every day across the country. Since then, however, as expected, far fewer tests have been carried out – apart from the absolute lowest values since the beginning of the year: On January 1, just 2113 PCR and antigen rapid tests were carried out throughout Switzerland.
The federal authorities are clear what that means: The corona virus is not really on the retreat. “With regard to the reported number of cases, we assume that the number of unreported cases will again increase significantly,” clarifies BAG spokesman Simon Ming.
Harder to track the course of the pandemic
This can have consequences, the chief canton doctor, Rudolf Hauri (62), recently warned. Because many people who are particularly at risk have not yet boosted themselves again, the unstable infection process must still be carefully observed this winter.
“The system change in the test cost financing in the cold season, which is also abrupt for the population, is therefore not optimal,” says the Zug cantonal doctor. “An extension of the previous test financing until around the end of March 2023 could have been well justified.”
Wastewater control is becoming more important
Although the case numbers are likely to be massively falsified, the federal government continues to use them to monitor the corona situation. But their importance is now falling again, says BAG spokesman Ming. They are only one of several elements. Wastewater control, for example, which also reflects the course of infection, is becoming more important, “regardless of the test behavior of the population”.
Although the wastewater monitoring will also be reduced next year for cost reasons, the viral load will still be measured in 50 sewage treatment plants. “National wastewater monitoring will continue to play a central role in the assessment of Sars-CoV-2 and other pathogens in the future,” says Ming.
In addition, the so-called Sentinella reporting system with information from general practitioners or the monitoring of virus variants through sequencing allow conclusions to be drawn about the course of the pandemic. The same applies to the number of hospitalizations.