COVID-19: Where is the epidemic three days after the vaccination corridor ends?  Our map of France

Can the vaccination pass and the inner mask return once lifted? This Friday, March 11, during a trip to Isere, the Minister of Solidarity and Health, Olivier Veran, warned of a “rebound” of the epidemic in France and in neighboring countries. On Thursday, March 10 alone, the French public health authority identified 74,818 new cases of COVID-19. However, the government is not changing course and continues to suspend the vaccination card and end the obligation to wear a muzzle indoors from Monday, March 14.

And this, despite the fact that these cuts were conditioned on health standards that have not yet been respected. Olivier Veran was heard on February 22 by the Senate Social Affairs Committee, and he actually set three goals that must be achieved in order to raise the vaccination clearance: no more than 1,500 patients in intensive care, an effective R permanently less than 1, plus an angle average Attack between 300 and 500 max. Except that, according to the latest weekly epidemiological update from Public Health France, the country only places one check mark out of three.

The effective R rate (or reproduction rate), which measures the number of people infected with an individual infected with Sars-CoV-2, is 0.81. Admittedly, it’s less than 1…but the index has been rising for three weeks. In intensive care, too, things are not going well yet. If the number of seriously ill patients is decreasing, the country still has more than 1,900 patients with a severe form of Covid-19. As for the infection rate, nationally, it has not yet managed to fall below the cap of 500 new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days. Between March 1 and 7, the French public health authority recorded 567.1 cases of COVID-19 virus per 100,000 inhabitants. A very slight increase in the incidence rate of 1.2%.

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But at the district level, districts are not in the same boat. In mainland France, much of the northern half of the country is experiencing an epidemiological recovery: +22.2% in the Côte d’Armor where 897.4 new positive cases were recorded per 100,000 between March 1 and 7. The same trend was in Calvados (+26.4%) and Indre-et-Loire (+25.6%), where 793.4 and 659.3 contaminations per 100,000 respectively were recorded in one week. Conversely, the southern half of France has so far escaped the pandemic recovery. In Gironde, the infection rate was 648.4 new cases per 100,000 between March 1 and March 7. The index fell by 16.7%. A similar development in Losers, where the infection rate fell by 22.9% to 449.6 infections per 100,000.

This region also has the advantage of having an incidence rate below the 500/100,000 threshold. The goal has already been achieved in a few provinces in the east of the country. Like the Savoy (322/100,000), the Rhone (336.2/100,000) and even the Loire, which falls under the threshold of 300 new cases per 100,000, with 281.9 infections per 100,000 recorded between March 1 and 7. Same note in Ile-de-France and adjacent territories: 213.8 / 100,000 in Seine-Saint-Denis, 246.1 in Seine-et-Marne, 350.7% in Yvelines but also 368.1 in Oise.

However, three-quarters of the country’s area is well above the target. So, are we not going in the wrong direction with the suspension of the vaccination card and the end of the mandatory wearing of the mask? I thought the low circulation of the virus was 50 cases per 100,000 within 7 days. The minister would have said 300 instead. However, on March 14, we will be above 500. We will have a very strong spread of the virus. We will be at the same stage as at the height of the delta wave,” notes Swiss epidemiologist Antoine Flaholt who fears a rebound in hospital treatment within two weeks if the increase in contamination continues.

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In terms of public health in France, we still advocate respect for barrier gestures, despite the termination of the obligation. “When we come into contact with elderly people who are immunocompromised, we must continue to wash our hands and wear a mask,” Isabelle Barant, head of the respiratory infections and vaccination unit at French public health, said during a press conference organized on Friday. , March 11. However, the hypothesis of a mild epidemic recovery without much damage is still on the table. “The vaccine and post-infection immunity, acquired in particular during the fifth wave, can moderate the recovery in terms of the number of cases because this level of immunity is very protective against severe forms”, confirms Justin Schaeffer, project manager expert in variants for Public Health France. . Moreover, public health epidemiologists in France call for not rushing to establish a correlation between the current recovery of the epidemic and the start of the graded school year during the past three weeks according to academic regions. “The current dynamic as always is multifactorial and on the work we are doing, the beginning of the school year and the evolution of the Omicron sub-lineage, BA.2 do not seem to be the only explanatory factors,” at-estimates. But given the low vaccination coverage of children, experts are watching the development of the epidemic at school.