Coronavirus update, Sept. 14, 2021: Czech population growth lowest in eight years due to Covid deaths

Plus: People should now be tested by their GP for Covid, Alpha variant nearly disappears in the Czech Republic, new cases and hospitalizations jump again.

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Written by Expats.cz
Published on 14.09.2021 09:50 (updated on 14.09.2021)

Death rate soared due to Covid in first half of 2021 in the Czech Republic

Some 76,300 people died in the first six months of this year in the Czech Republic, 33 percent more than a year ago, Michaela Němečková, from the demographic statistics department of the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ), told journalists. Despite the high number of deaths, the total population number was over 10.7 million again at the end of June, although it dipped under the 10.7 million limit in the first three months. Between January and June, the population number increased by 1,200, which was the lowest growth in the period of the past eight years, Němečková said.

"There was a negative population change behind the low increase in the first six months of the year. The number of the deaths was 21,300 higher than that of live births. A year ago, the difference was only 2,600," Němečková said.

The increased number of the deaths was mainly recorded in the first three months. In March, the figure surged by 64 percent compared to a year ago. The ČSÚ does not cite the reasons of the surge, but at that time, there was another wave of Covid in the Czech Republic. After March, the growth in the number of deaths started declining. The smallest number was recorded in June. It was also the first month this year when the number of deaths fell compared with a year ago. As against the first six months last year, there were primarily more deaths among those between 70 and 79, where the number increased by roughly one-half.

People who suspect they have Covid should now be tested by their GP

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People who suspect they are infected with coronavirus should be given an antigen test for Covid-19 by their general practitioner from autumn. This follows from a recommended procedure agreed between the Health Ministry and GPs. According to the Association of General Practitioners, Covid will now be treated as a disease that people commonly deal with. In previous waves of the epidemic, GPs often issued a remote request for a test to people suspected of having covid without examining the patient in person.

"Examining the patient and performing the test quickly is essential for a correct and prompt diagnosis, and this will allow the correct treatment to be started in a timely manner. Time is a key factor in the administration of monoclonal antibodies and therefore we consider this step to be the right one," Petr Šonka, chairman of the Association of General Practitioners, said.

But patients with suspected Covid-19 will have to make an appointment at the practice to avoid meeting other patients in the waiting room.

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Covid Alpha variant nearly disappears in the Czech Republic

The Alpha variant of coronavirus, previously known as the British variant, that was spreading in the Czech Republic at the beginning of this year, nearly disappeared from the country, the State Health Institute (SZÚ) said. Fewer than 1 percent of the samples of coronavirus cases examined in the past two weeks were the Alpha variant. The SZÚ said that the Delta variant was uncovered in 95 percent of 3,182 tested coronavirus-positive samples in the past two weeks, and the presence of its Delta plus subvariants has been increasing. From August 10 to Sept. 10, the original Delta variant was in 56 percent of cases. Delta subvariants were becoming more frequent. The SZÚ said the development in the Czech Republic is the same as in the neighboring countries.

Most new cases in people under 29

Data show that the infection more and more often concerns mostly young people. State Health Institute (SZÚ) director Barbora Macková said most of the newly revealed Covid-19 cases were in younger people "The age structure of all positively tested shows that most of the daily new cases are people under the age of 29," said SZÚ director Barbora Macková. "This trend is also reflected among the sequenced samples, where there are fewer people in their 40s to 50s and the number of younger people, probably not fully vaccinated at the time of infection, is increasing," Macková added. She said a relatively high percentage of young people were not vaccinated against coronavirus. The Czech Republic allows vaccinations for people 12 and older. This was confirmed by Ladislav Dušek from the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS). He said the infection is spreading mainly to unvaccinated and younger populations, most often to people aged 16–29. About 70 percent of those newly infected are unvaccinated. According to him, the infection does not spread significantly among seniors.  

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People with Covid antibodies need not get third vaccine dose

People who have undergone the Covid-19 infection and are vaccinated against it with two doses need not take the third dose and those with Covid antibodies can get inoculated with the single-dose Janssen vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told reporters. Experts have not yet agreed on the recognition of the Covid-19 antibodies' presence to prove safety from the infection as an alternative to vaccination, negative testing or a recovery from the disease in the past six months, Vojtěch said after a round-table debate of experts.

"Naturally, if someone underwent the disease, there is nothing to prevent them from getting vaccinated with any vaccine, also a two-dose one," Vojtěch said.

In his opinion the "hybrid immunity" combining immunity from the disease with the vaccination is the most efficient method. The Health Ministry announced last week that it planned a nationwide study on the coronavirus antibodies and cell immunity. It will start this week, Vojtěch noted.

New cases, hospitalizations jump again

There were 493 newly confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported for Monday, up from 389 a week ago. This is the second-highest daily number since the beginning of June. The number of people hospitalized in connection with Covid rose to 139 from 123 a day earlier. This is the highest since June. A week ago there were 91 cases. The number of serious cases rose to 21 from 20 a day earlier and 12 a week earlier. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 over sever days rose to 25, up by one from a day earlier and seven more than a week ago. The R number dropped slightly to 1.18 from 1.19 a day earlier. It has been over 1.0 since Aug. 26. Coronavirus infection is most prevalent in the Karlovy Vary region, with an incidence number 47 and an R number of 1.10. For Prague, the incidence number is 41 and the R number is 1.11.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Sept. 14, 2021)

  • New cases 493
  • Deaths 30,416
  • Currently hospitalized 139
  • PCR tests performed 10,414,719
  • Antigen tests performed 26,586,978
  • Total vaccinations 11,647,627
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 13,000
  • People who have completed vaccination 5,852,221
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 25
  • PES index 45
  • R number 1.18
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