Is the fifth wave spoil the holidays?

By Sylvain Pettigen

Indicators turned red for several weeks: the re-emergence of the epidemic led to the provinces resuming restrictive measures. But what will the end of the year look like?

On Wednesday, government spokesman Gabriel Attal warned that “the fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic has arrived here.” This can be seen especially in the number of daily infections. On average calculated over seven days, it is now 16,000, three times what it was a month ago.

The number of closed classes, more than 4,000 in France, is at its highest level since the beginning of the school year in September, according to the Ministry of National Education.

However, this infection outbreak is currently less than what has been observed in other European countries, including Germany or the Netherlands. The government attributes this to the health permit in force since July.

As in previous waves, the problem is above all whether an outbreak of infection will lead to a massive influx of hospitalization. For now, there is none: Less than 8,000 Covid patients have been hospitalized in France, according to figures published Friday, including 1,353 in critical care services, compared to 6,500 and 1,000, respectively, in the previous month.

“Do not reassure the population”

For epidemiologist William Dubb, former director-general of health, it is not time to “reassure” the population. According to him, there is an urgent need to act against the fifth wave of the epidemic, which can strike violently: “If nothing is done, we will have about 80,000 new cases at Christmas,” warns William Dubb.

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“Currently, the virus replication rate is 1.3, which means that on average 10 people are infecting another 13,” he said, estimating France to have 30,000 to 40,000 cases per day as of December 15.

Like Jean-Francois Delfraisy, head of the Scientific Council and other epidemiologists, he encourages vaccination, recalling 3NS Dose, respecting barrier gestures.

Holidays after peak

For virologist Yannick Simonin, “With vaccination, health passes and barrier gestures, we have the weapons to ensure that this fifth wave is as low as possible and that we can cross it in quieter conditions, without end – the celebrations of the year are not spoiled.”

He also notes that the wave of the epidemic that struck Eastern Europe a few weeks ago appears to have already subsided. In France, its peak can be reached before the holiday season.

Watch out for the flu

“We cannot fight the spread of the virus” admits Eric Caumes, an infectious disease specialist at Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris, which “the only way not to harm it is by vaccination. The population (at least 95%) must be immunized with a good vaccine “

“Christmas is not difficult because of Covid but the flu,” he warns. “Flu worries me the most. There is a real danger of a flu pandemic this year. It hasn’t been like that for the past two years, so people have forgotten about it. If there is a message being passed around, it is a ‘flu vaccination’, especially at Christmas…”

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