COVID-19 - social wishful thinking in Prague


(polska wersja)

  • 1000 people celebrated the end of the epidemic at a common table on the Charles Bridge in Prague

  • the number of diagnosed cases, currently infected and sick as well as deaths has been increasing exponentially in the Czech Republic in the last two weeks

  • the rate of recovery in the Czech Republic has been decreasing at the same time

  • the estimated number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Chechia does not exceed 2% of Czechs

  • the achievement of herd immunity in the Czech Republic may still involve well over 10,000 deaths

Yesterday (30 June) the Czechs celebrated "the end of the coronavirus crisis". In the centre of Prague, on the Charles Bridge, a 500-metre-long table was set up at which nearly 1,000 people held a potluck. There was food, drink and music made together, all accompanied by acrobatic shows. In other words, the festival went under the motto "the coronavirus a symbolic farewell". In the pictures you can see hundreds of smiling people, in the rays of the setting sun, against the background of Prague's old town - views like from a tourist brochure, and most likely this is what it was supposed to look like, and send a message to the world” There is no epidemic in the Czech Republic. But, hold on a second, are you sure?

The epidemic in the Czech Republic has so far been very mild, which was due to the rapid introduction of restrictions related to forcing social distance. To this the Czech Republic is a small country, so the absolute numbers never made an impression, even on Czechs. Just three weeks ago, this positive picture was also confirmed by the most important trends in the number of deaths. Unfortunately, for two weeks now this optimism has not been supported by the facts:

The plot above shows how for the last 15 days in the Czech Republic the number of confirmed and active cases as well as deaths has been growing exponentially and at the same time how the rate of recovery is decreasing. However, the change in the death rate is the most clear trend:

For comparison, the rate of increase in deaths in Italy was added (green line). For five days now, the rate of increase in deaths in the Czech Republic is higher than in the same period in Italy.

The Czech Republic, as well as most countries, still has a long way to go before the end of the COVID-19 epidemic. Based on the results of the population test in Lombardy, it can be estimated how long it is. The plot below shows the predicted and current numbers of deaths in selected European countries before these populations reach herd immunity at the level of 80% population infected. The estimates are based on data on the course of the epidemic in Lombardy, taking into account the differences resulting from the age pyramid in individual countries.

According to this estimation only about 2% of Czechs have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. A population test carried out in May in the Czech Republic estimated this number at ~0.5%. The results of another study, which is much wider in scope, are not yet known. Infection of 80% of the population required to achieve herd immunity will still result in almost 18,000 deaths. Of course, we are talking here about a situation where there will be no new effective therapies, drugs or vaccines and the virus will not become weaker or just disappear as its cousin SARS-CoV-1 did 17 years ago.

It therefore seems that some Czechs have celebrated the regaining of their freedom of life-style as they like and want to, while at the same time they have been giving a wake to more than 10,000 of their countrymen in advance, or they have been embraced by the collective wishful thinking ... The question is whether it was just the Czechs.