CR faces “summer wave” of Covid as 1,000 daily cases seen again

After a period of relative calm, Covid-19 seems to be making another comeback in the Czech Republic. This week has seen over 1,000 registered new cases a day for the first time since in two months and experts say a fresh wave of the disease is on its way.

Nearly 1,200 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, double the figure seen seven days earlier.

Photo: Antonio Rubio,  Flickr,  CC BY 2.0

Indeed this Monday was the first time over 1,000 fresh infections were detected in one day since early May.

The number hospitalised with the illness has climbed by about one-fifth in the past week.

Experts say that a new wave of Covid is heading for the country, on the back of the relatively contagious BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron strain.

Some predict the return of respirators and more widespread use of a fourth vaccine.

Epidemiologist and former health minister Roman Prymula told the news website that relatively rapid growth in infections had been recorded in the Czech Republic in recent weeks, with the reproduction number reaching 1.5.

Mr. Prymula said the problem was that the BA.5 subvariant can more easily bypass immunity following vaccination or a case of Covid, adding, however, that the vaccinated are unlikely to suffer serious effects.

Biochemist Libor Grubhoffer described the current situation as a “summer wave” of Covid.

Some are already calling for the reintroduction of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the disease, such as compulsory respirators.

Mr. Grubhoffer told iRozhlas that this should be done for crowded places and health facilities.

Immunologist Václav Hořejší said the wave starting now can be expected to intensify in the autumn.

However even though there may be a high number of infections the number of serious cases could turn out to be “acceptably low”, he said.

Mr. Hořejší said that in that case serious measures to curb infections would not be necessary, only respirators on public transport, as are currently required in some states.

Many people have already been vaccinated three times against Covid. Immunologist Zdeněk Hel told iRozhlas that society should be prepared for a fourth one at the end of the summer, ideally in August or September, in advance of an expected autumn wave of the coronavirus.

Mr. Hel pointed out that Covid cases are also on the rise again in other countries.

During previous waves the country had one of the world’s highest per capita Covid death rates. A total of over 40,000 deaths have been recorded to date.

Nearly four million cases of infection have been recorded to date in the Czech Republic (population 10.7 million), with experts saying the real figure could be two or three times higher.