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Experts: Overcrowded intensive care units should be a thing of the past

Experts: Overcrowded intensive care units should be a thing of the past

Good news about the middle of the week: Although the Covid forecasting consortium is expecting a sharp increase in hospitalizations from January 6th, the milder Omicron courses should mean that fewer people need intensive care than was the case with earlier waves.

editorial staff
29 December 2021 13:30

Omikron will have an increasing impact on the corona infection process in Austria in the coming days. The Covid forecast consortium assumes this in its latest preview published on Wednesday. Vienna will be the first federal state to be particularly affected by the significant increase in cases due to the significantly higher rate of spread of the Omikrom variant. In January, the experts also expect an increase in hospitalizations.

According to the consortium, an increase in the seven-day incidence is to be expected. On Wednesday, this will be 174 cases per 100,000 inhabitants across Austria up to the last day included in the forecast on January 5, at best 226, at worst 373 cases. In Vienna it will be between 447 and 736. The best prognosis is for Styria with an incidence between 116 and 192 on January 5th.

Surface prognosis is lower than for early waves

With a certain delay, the fifth wave caused by Omikron should also affect hospitalizations. For the last forecast day on January 12, the consortium expects 639 to 1,252 patients in normal wards. Even in the worst case, the number of Covid patients in intensive care units should be significantly lower than it is today at 276. From the prognosis, however, it can be seen that the number of hospital patients will initially continue to decline in the coming days, and should increase again from January 6th – and then increase sharply.

The consortium also pointed out, however, that its coating prognosis is lower than in previous waves due to the reduced virulence of the omicron variant. Conversely, there is also a noticeably high range of fluctuation in the forecasts. The consortium explained this as follows: “However, there are still considerable uncertainties regarding the extent of the reduction in the virulence of the omicron variant, which is why the coating prognosis in particular must be interpreted with caution.”

Omikron could lead to record-breaking infections

According to the consortium, there are also limiting factors in the case prognosis: the prevalence of the Omikron variant is estimated at 22 percent throughout Austria. However, these values ​​would primarily relate to PCR pre-tests, which currently make up around 41 percent of all PCR tests. However, the proportion of pre-sequenced PCR tests varies greatly between the federal states, which leads to great uncertainty in the assessment of the regional prevalence. The consortium currently estimates the effective reproduction number of the Omikron variant at 1.8. This means that anyone infected with Omikron infects almost two more people.

Last but not least: The consortium maintained forecasts from the previous week that more than 15,000 new infections are to be expected in January and that the previous highest level of daily new infections will be exceeded in January. The serial interval for Omikron is currently three days. The serial interval means the time from the beginning of the illness of one person to the beginning of the illness of another person infected by him in an infection chain. Previously described scenarios would remain in place. (APA / red)

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