Towards a 9th wave of the epidemic before Christmas?

Less than a month before Christmas, the Covid-19 epidemic is on the rise again, with epidemiologists and the Prime Minister already talking about a “wave”.

“The Covid-19 epidemic is starting again,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said before the National Assembly on Tuesday. It is an indisputable finding now that the increase is obvious.

According to French Public Health data, on Monday, November 28, an average of 44,061 positive cases were detected in a week, which is a 39% increase compared to the previous week. The prime minister said there had been a “nearly 10% increase in hospital admissions in a week” and a 22% increase in those in “critical care”, with 400 deaths last week.

Antoine Flahault, an epidemiologist and director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva, told BFMTV: “There is a very clear progression of contamination and it has certainly collapsed compared to the few months that were greatly underestimated by the number of tests.” .

The “new wave” is already here

Can we talk about the 9th wave of the epidemic? Elizabeth Borne did not hesitate. “This new wave reminds us: the virus has not disappeared, the epidemic strikes again, kills again,” he said. He is joined by Antoine Flahault.

“This wave is earlier than last fall,” he said, carried by the Delta variant.

In mid-November, he already told “In the coming weeks, we should observe a new wave in France, the ninth of this pandemic, carried by the BQ.1.1 subvariant of Omicron.”

An unprecedented triple epidemic

With the addition of this wave of Covid-19, the situation is even more worrying in terms of health exacerbation of bronchiolitis – the highest in the last ten years – and particularly virulent seasonal flu epidemic,” said the Prime Minister.

This triple epidemic is “seasonal”. “We have a very special relationship with bronchiolitis, influenza and Covid epidemics, not to mention the circulation of other winter viruses,” explained infectious disease specialist Benjamin Davido, the Covid-19 referent at the Raymond-Poincare hospital, to Garches, in the Hauts-de-Seine.

Emergency return of barrier gestures

“I make a solemn appeal: let us respect the gestures of obstruction. Let’s put on the mask like with fragile people or in crowded places like public transport,” asked Elisabeth Borne during her speech at the Assembly.

But this “call” to wear a mask in public transport is still not an obligation. “Does it have to be worn indoors,” Armand Semerjian, chief physician of Clamart (Hauts-de-Seine), asked on BFMTV on Tuesday.

Benjamin Davido, he believes that we “shouldn’t wait the government says wear a mask to wear”.

But with year-end celebrations fast approaching, it is always possible to buck the trend and slow the spread of the epidemic in France.

Philippe Amouyel, an epidemiologist and professor of public health at the Lille University Hospital, told that “within a month we can crush the emerging wave”, but to do so “we need to restore social distancing habits”.

The vaccination campaign is not satisfactory

In addition to deterrence gestures, vaccination – especially injections of booster doses – remains one of the main weapons to slow the epidemic and relieve congestion in hospital services.

Since the launch of the two-vaccine booster campaign this Monday, October 3, 2 million people have been boosted against Covid-19. Among them, 1.8 million people have received such vaccines, which target the original strain of Covid and the Omicron strain.

Today, only 21% of people aged 80 and over and 37% of those aged 60-79 are “adequately protected by vaccination or previous infection”, according to the Ministry of Health. During the press briefing of the Ministry of Health and Prevention, it was noted that today the level of vaccinations is “not enough”.

He added: “With three weeks of mobilization left until Christmas, it’s now played out.”

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