News | Coronavirus: A ‘controlled’ but ‘unfinished’ epidemic in France, a ‘new variant’ deemed possible

What if in the end Covid is behind us? All indicators now appear green, with virus circulation and reduced hospitalizations. Attention epidemic “controlled“but definitely”it’s not over“, warn scientists.

Last week, “The slowdown in the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic was confirmed across the country, with a decrease in incidence rates (-39%) and positivity rates (-5 points).“, the French public health agency summarizes in its weekly update released at the end of the week. If these indicators remain high, reflux is no longer in doubt: the daily average of new contamination for seven days, which softens variations, fell from 80,980 on Thursday the previous Thursday to 43,865 on Thursday.

A drop in hospital has also been confirmed since 21,880 Covid patients were hospitalized on Thursday versus 24,130 a week ago.

This state of healthvery clear development will lead to adaptations in the coming weeksPresident Emmanuel Macron underlined the measures in force at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Most of the restrictions were lifted in mid-March, but some measures are still in place, such as wearing masks. public transport, health card required in health institutions, even mandatory isolation after the Covid-19 test is positive.

“New Variant”

Jean-François Delfraissy, President of the Science Council.
Jean-François Delfraissy, President of the Science Council.Photo: AFP

There will probably be political decisions in late May-early June.“, declared this Friday in France Info Jean-François Delfraissy, chairman of the Science Council, which advises the government.

Because it’s a fact:We are coming out of this fifth wave, which is taking a little longer than expected.“and we can be”Pretty optimistic for France and Europe for the coming months, possibly a good spring‘ he judged.

By the end of May, he predicts a drop in contamination from around 5 to 10,000 cases per day.

However, he remembered that the situation was the same as a year ago, before the Delta variant arrived in France in June and the cards were reshuffled.

The epidemic is under control, but we all know that it is not over.“, warned Jean-François Delfraissy. We can indeed wait “emergence of a new variant: mostly predicted at the beginning of the school year but maybe sooner“.

And then the whole question will be to know what its contagiousness, its severity, and its resistance to vaccines will be. Two subspecies of Omicron (BA.4 and BA.5) appear to be at the origin of a new peak of epidemics currently overwintering in South Africa. It is too early to know their full virulence, but if the preliminary data are to be believed, vaccines continue to provide good protection against serious forms of Covid and reduce the risk of death.

vaccine shield

Not benefiting from adequate vaccination coverage, China is still under epidemic pressure of the BA.1 and BA.2 variants of Omicron. in France,The pandemic is clearly not over, but given the levels of immunity in the population (…) we can hope that we can move into a more transitional phase.“, as Pasteur Institute virologist Sylvie van der Werf noted at a press conference with the National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS).

But it “today it is very difficult to give specific indicatorsTo determine when the pandemic will end, he added.

What Europe and France have managed to get rid of in the pandemic management is quarantines and curfews thanks to the vaccine shield.

However, due toThe very high infectiousness of Delta, followed by Omicron, the absolute death toll continued to follow a very high rate that hasn’t decreased much since the start of the pandemic.It reminds AFP epidemiologist Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva.

Like this “too early“Just judging that the pandemic can be ended, according to him.