108,832 new cases, 145 deaths in 24 hours in French hospitals

UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – New measures, new reports and highlights: Le Figaro Provides an update on the latest developments in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Epidemic recovery in France, Israel discovers new variant, Pfizer asks United States to authorize a second booster dose… Le Figaro Provides an update on the latest information regarding the Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday, March 16.

20,757 patients hospitalized in France

According to the latest report from Public Health France, 145 people died from Covid this Wednesday. The pressure on hospitals continues to decrease. 20,757 patients (compared to 20,918 on Tuesday) are currently hospitalized, including 1,313 people who arrived in the last 24 hours. 1,728 patients are being treated in intensive care units, compared to 1,783 the day before. 108,832 new cases were detected in the last 24 hours compared to 116,618 the previous day.

Olivier Véran advocates lifting restrictions despite recovery in epidemic

Most of the anti-Covid restrictions were lifted in France on Monday. But the long fifth wave of the epidemic, which has been declining for several weeks, has been on the rise for several days with a jump in contamination. Health officials identified more than 116,000 cases in 24 hours (compared to 80,000 two weeks ago), according to data released on Tuesday. “Yes, we made the right decision” Said Olivier Véran, who was interviewed on Franceinfo. “We knew there was a rebound risk, we see it, and it’s not just French.”

“The important thing is that the models from the Science Council and the Institut Pasteur are telling us that it will really rise in 10-15 days, probably by the end of March. We risk reaching 120,000-150,000 contaminations per day and then expect a drop.added the minister “The most basic thing is to control the hospital burden (…)”, said. There is “no risk of hospital saturation”According to that.

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Concern about resumption of Covid cases at WHO

“Over the past week, we have seen an 8% increase in detected cases with more than 11 million cases reported to WHO, and this despite a significant drop in testing globally.”WHO expert Maria Van Kerkhove said at a press conference. The person responsible for tackling Covid-19 at WHO since its emergence at the end of 2019 believes it is a result of the increase in the number of cases. “combination of factors”. The infection wave is largely fueled by the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron, which has replaced the BA.1 sibling in some countries. Without a doubt, BA.2 “It is the most contagious variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus we have seen so far”insisted Maria Van Kerkhove. In addition, the removal of health measures against Covid in many countries also transmits the virus. “opportunity to spreadas well as missing vaccine coverage in many parts of the world.

Israel says it has discovered a variantUnknown » Combining BA.1 and BA.2

The Israeli Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that it has identified two cases of contamination with an unidentified variant of the coronavirus, with no apparent severity and combining sub-variants BA.1 and BA.2. “This variant is not yet known to the world and two cases were discovered by PCR tests at Ben Gurion airport upon arrival in Israel”says a press release from the ministry. “Those infected showed mild symptoms of fever, headache, and muscle pain and did not require any special medical attention.he continues.

For Salman Zarka, head of the Israeli government’s anti-covid strategy, “The phenomenon of combined variants is well known” and “We are not worried at this stage (as the new variant could lead to serious cases”He told Israeli Army Radio. As contamination cases worldwide rise again, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will hold a meeting with Health Ministry officials on Wednesday, his office said.

A second booster dose has little effect in young adults.

A second booster dose of existing messenger RNA vaccines may have only one vaccine. “Marginal benefit” against Covid-19 infections in healthy young adults, according to an Israeli study published Wednesday by New England Journal of Medicine. The study involved nearly 600 healthcare workers at Sheba Medical Center, 270 of whom received a second Pfizer or Moderna serum supplement four months after receiving their third dose. The rest just took three doses of Pfizer. Generally speaking, the fourth dose is found to be safe and reduces the level of neutralizing antibodies that prevent infection of cells by the coronavirus to the post-third dose level.

However, while the Omicron variant is widely circulating in Israel, the study suggests that the fourth dose offered little additional protection against infection despite the gradual decline in antibody levels for those who received three doses. Pfizer’s fourth dose reduces the risk of being infected with Covid-19 by 30%, compared to three doses, and Moderna’s 18%.

China seeks to dump beds amid Omicron surge

China was scrambling to evacuate hospital beds Wednesday to prevent hospitals from being potentially overwhelmed by the outbreak of Omicron cases, which have already locked up tens of millions of people. The Ministry of Health reported 3,290 new cases of Covid-19, 11 of which were serious, spread to about 20 provinces. This is a significant drop from Tuesday. Many solitary confinement orders have been issued, particularly in Jilin (North-East) province, where the majority of cases were detected, and in the technological metropolis Shenzhen (South), with a population of 17.5 million. If these numbers are so low compared to many foreign countries, they are high for China, where authorities have adopted a zero Covid strategy aimed at limiting the occurrence of new cases as much as possible.

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Pfizer has asked the United States to authorize a second booster dose

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they have asked the United States Medicines Agency to authorize an additional booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines for people 65 and older. This request was made based on data from Israel analyzed when the Omicron variant was in wide circulation and a press release showed the alliance of American and German companies. This data shows that, according to Pfizer and BioNTech:“An additional booster dose of messenger RNA vaccine increases immunogenicity” – the ability to provoke an immune reaction – “and reduced confirmed infection and serious disease rates”. That’s why the companies requested emergency use authorization from the American drug agency, the FDA.

Patents on anti-COVID vaccines: WTO welcomes first consensus

While urging other member states to persuade, the WTO said a compromise had been reached between the four major manufacturing players to waive intellectual property rights over Covid vaccines. On Wednesday, the head of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, pointed out that the details of the reconciliation have not yet been fully revealed. “Decisive progress has been made” by the European Union, the United States, India and South Africa “Concerning the waiver of the Agreement on Commercial Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights for the manufacture of vaccines against Covid-19”.

“This is a huge step forward and this compromise is the result of hours of long and difficult negotiations.” He claimed. A few hours ago, Adam Hodge, spokesman for the United States Trade Representative, “a compromise that opens the way to a concrete and important outcome (…)”. While emphasizing that, like many other observers, consultations on the yet unpublished text are ongoing.

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More than 6 million dead

The pandemic has officially killed at least 6,041,660 people worldwide since the end of December 2019, according to a report by AFP at 11:00 GMT on Monday. The USA is the country with the most deaths (966,380), Brazil (655,585), India (515,877) and Russia (361,344). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the impact of the pandemic could be two to three times greater than officially determined, taking into account the excess death rate directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19.