Coronavirus update, July 16, 2021: Covid incidence up 50 percent in young people as Delta variant takes over

ÚZIS models paint grim picture for late August, Czech Medical Chamber head compares unvaccinated to fare dodgers, lower house session on Covid interrupted. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 16.07.2021 09:58:00 (updated on 16.07.2021) Reading time: 7 minutes

Epidemic gradually growing due to Delta variant

The coronavirus epidemic has been moving to a gradual increase in new infection cases, most of the infected are young people, and the more contagious Delta variant will inevitably prevail in a few weeks, Czech Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) director Ladislav Dušek said.

"At the moment, a new variant of the virus is certainly spreading through the Czech population, it is considerably more contagious. It therefore will inevitably displace the previous variant. We are now in a stage when the replacing is going on. It will not come in one day, but minimally in a few weeks," he said.

Dušek said the reproduction number R is about 1.4 now. In Czech regions where there was low coronavirus incidence until now, the R is higher, he said. On average, there are about 240 new cases per day and their number increases by about one-third every week. If the number of cases is relatively high, the threat is than the more risky category of elderly people will catch coronavirus from the young in the autumn, Dušek said. He said the current situation cannot be compared with the beginning of this year when the epidemic culminated in the country or with last autumn when it started rapidly spreading. The situation is different as a big part of the population has been vaccinated and so there is almost no pressure exerted on hospitals and the virus is spreading among young people, Dusek said.

Covid incidence up 50 percent in young people

There is an about 50-percent increase in the incidence of coronavirus in the past 14 days among teenagers. Among children aged from 13 to 15, the incidence grew by 48 percent, among youths aged from 16 to 19 it grew by 53 percent, and among people in their 20s by 46 percent. The average number of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks is 15.5 in the Czech Republic, but this incidence is nearly 10 times higher among young people in Prague, and the situation is similar in Central Bohemia and the Plzeň region, Czech Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) director Ladislav Dušek said. Young adults have more social contacts than other people and only roughly 20 percent of them are vaccinated, he said.

Daily new cases in late August could top 1,000

Czech Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) models assume that about 25 to 30 percent of the population may still get the virus because they have not caught it yet and they have not been fully vaccinated. The model that expects the spread of the Delta variant and weaker protection of the vaccinated against the disease may mean that there will be up to 1,000 or 2,000 new cases per day in late August. "This alone need not be a risk for hospitals, but the risk among vulnerable people would not be negligible then anymore," ÚZIS director Ladislav Dušek said.

Vojtěch : Only 0.1 pct of vaccinated get infected

Only 4,030 of the approximatley 4 million coronavirus vaccinated persons in the Czech Republic, or 0.1 percent of them, got infected with Covid-19 after they received the second dose of the vaccine, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said after talks with Czech Medical Chamber (ČLK) head Milan Kubek.

"It is clear that no vaccine in the world protects 100 percent. We cannot expect that no one will get infected at all," Vojtěch said.

He said vaccination eliminates especially serious cases of the illness when people need to be treated in hospital. He called on young and healthy to get vaccinated so collective immunity should be developed. For the Delta variant of the virus, collective immunity should be formed only when roughly 85 percent of the population is vaccinated, and currently less than 40 percent of society is fully vaccinated. About 60 percent of Czech adults have received at least one vaccine dose. See our full story here.

Czech Medical Chamber head: Unvaccinated are like fare dodgers

Czech Medical Chamber (ČLK) President Milan Kubek said people who are not vaccinated act like fare dodgers.

"They would like to reap the benefits of collective immunity, but they don't want to contribute to it. We have to try to convince those people to ‘buy their ticket’ and contribute to the others as well," he said.

Kubek said 83 percent of doctors, 75 percent of nurses and 70 percent of other medical staff in Czechia have been vaccinated. He said the vast majority of the doctors who are not vaccinated were not vaccination opponents. They are often people who recovered from coronavirus, found out they have antibodies and do not want to be vaccinated yet. See our full story here.

Lower house session to debate Covid interrupted

The special session of the Czech Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Parliament, called at the impulse of a part of opposition lawmakers to debate the Covid epidemic was suspended as too few deputies arrived at the session. As a result, the lower house did not finish its debate even about the first point on the agenda, which related to the investigating commission for the coronavirus crisis. On Friday, the last regular session before the summer recess continues with its last day. The special session ended after Zdeněk Ondráček (Communists, KSČM) proposed its suspension until the arrival of Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats, ČSSD). However, there was not the sufficient number of the lawmakers to enable the vote in the Chamber of Deputies. The chair, Tomáš Hanzel (ČSSD), eventually interrupted the session. It is not clear when it will resume.

Slovakia to require quarantine on arrival despite court ruling

Slovakia will still require quarantine from the travelers who are not Covid-vaccinated, Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský said yesterday, adding that the relevant directive will be modified now that the Constitutional Court suspended it over its exempting of those with one vaccine dose only. People with only the first jab will no longer be exempted from the arrival quarantine duty, Lengvarský said. Issued by the chief public health officer last week, the directive met with protests of people on the border with the Czech Republic. The authorities are going to draft its amended version, Lengvarský said.

"The hitherto measures will keep in force. They will be a bit tougher as they will no longer distinguish between those with the first jab and those not vaccinated at all. We will have to cancel the provision under which those vaccinated with the first dose do not have to quarantine themselves," Lengvarský told journalists.

He said a way will be sought to enable the Slovaks with the first jab only, who have already gone abroad, to return home without the need of quarantine. The amended directive will be issued on Friday and take effect as of Monday, July 19, in a way enabling the travelers with one jab to undergo a Covid test immediately on arrival in Slovakia and thus avoid the quarantine. This chance will keep in force for two weeks.

Contact vaccination and test sites over certificate problems

People who have problems downloading electronic certificate proving vaccination or test results should first contact the vaccination or test site, Milan Bláha, deputy director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS), said. Certificates can be downloaded from the ÚZIS website since June 1, and 6.5 million have been created so far. "The most common problems are in the wrong contact details. Another case is that the provider reports to patients the result under the wrong birth number or insurance number," he explained. Overall, according to him, the number of complaints is relatively low.

Czech Republic in 18th place in EU for new cases

According to the number of coronavirus infections per 100,000 people in the last 14 days, the worst situation in the European Union remains in Cyprus (1,068 cases, 493 cases a week ago). The second-most affected country is Spain (377 cases, third a week ago with 215), followed by Portugal (333 cases, second a week ago wth 241 cases). The Czech Republic was the worst from the beginning of February to mid-March. The number of cases is growing slightly, with almost 24 cases per 100,000 over 14 days. This puts it in 18th place; a week ago it was in 17th place with 18 cases, according to data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).

Numbers improve slightly but virus still spreading

The number of new Covid cases on Thursday was 227, down from the previous day’s 263 and also down from last week’s 249. The number of hospitalized people increased by one to 28. No Covid-related deaths were reported, and only four deaths have been recorded in July. The nationwide index number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days dropped slightly from 15.47 to 15,27. The reproduction number R dropped slightly from 1.30 to 1.25, but it is still over 1.0, which means the pandemic is spreading. For Prague, the index number dropped from 41.20 to 40.97. The R number for Prague rose from 1.13 to 1.15.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (July 16, 2021)

  • New cases 227
  • Deaths 30,335
  • Currently hospitalized 28
  • PCR tests performed 8,463,828
  • Antigen tests performed 22,821,609
  • Total vaccinations 9,346,397
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 88,398
  • People who have completed vaccination 4,106,181
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 15
  • PES index 53
  • R number 1.25
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