INFOGRAPHICS. Covid-19: is France doomed to remain on a plateau of high contamination?

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After a spike in cases of contamination in the country at the end of March, France was undoubtedly expecting a calming down. Bad surprise: France is stagnating on a “high plateau” of infections, while the restrictive measures have almost all been lifted. problems for the future?

Is this how we should “live with the virus”? To the incessant rhythm of successive waves, France struggles to land. Far from the “peak of contamination” promised a week ago by Health Minister Olivier Véran, the country finds itself again in a difficult health situation: still significant Covid-19 infections struggling to decline and hospitalizations on the rise in health facilities, already affected by influenza epidemics and seasonal diseases.

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Undoubtedly, Omicron and its little brother BA.2 – which now accounts for more than 92% of contamination – are still well established in this field. The number of infections remains at a very high level: the health authorities record more than 135,000 new cases of infection every day on average, a number that has not decreased for two weeks, as the following graph shows (If no graphics are displayed, please disable your ad blocker).

France is thus stuck on a “high plateau”, a situation that is already known. The evidence by the maps: Viral spread is still increasing in 40 major city departments. It is particularly high in some areas, such as Calvados or Corse-du-Sud, where the incidence rate peaks at more than 1,800 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Orne, Côtes d’Armor, Manche and Cantal follow closely behind. In our region, the incidence rate reaches or exceeds 1,300 cases per 100,000 people. Still far from the alarm threshold of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants…

In this red-painted France, hospital admissions are also increasing (+10% in seven days according to government data), as are, to a lesser extent, hospital deaths. The health situation is also having an impact in the economic area: between the flu and Covid-19, companies recently took between 10 and 15% of their employees on sick leave.

In short, this new fever outbreak greatly worries epidemiologists, especially since France, like its neighbors, has largely lowered its vigilance against the spread of the virus between the end of the vaccination card and that of the mask requirement. “What is worrying, but in the near future we will be able to check, is to know if wearing the mask in closed places has ended […] is accompanied by even higher contamination. This increase can be the cause of more severe forms and more frequent long covid,” fears, for example, Professor Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva.

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MAINTENANCE. Covid-19: According to Antoine Flahault, there are more than 1.5 million contaminations in France every day

“The epidemic is not over yet,” stressed Olivier Véran last week while paradoxically hailing the lifting of restrictions. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) was categorical. “The circulation of the virus is still very active, mortality remains high and the virus is evolving in unpredictable ways,” warned Dr. Didier Houssin, President of the WHO Emergency Committee, determined. Consequence: “Now is not the time to relax with this virus, no weakness in monitoring, testing and reporting, no negligence in public health and social measures and no resignation in terms of vaccinations,” the French doctor continued.

France is present at this last level. Since March 14, a second booster shot has been open to people over 60 at least six months after their last injection. No doubt the other age groups will soon be asked to do the same. What if that was “living with the virus”?

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