COVID-19. Can vaccinations and wearing a face mask be made compulsory again?

While the vaccine pass has been suspended since Monday, March 14, the question is already on the table. Can he come back? (©Fabien Hisbacq – Toulouse News)

A little tour and then back? Since this Monday March 14, 2022, the vaccination pass is officially suspended† It was a government promise, announced on Thursday, March 3, 2022, when all the lights were green.

Not long ago, even wondered if we weren’t at the end of the epidemicSeveral infectiologists told us about a transition to a “virus seasonality”. They said it had a good chance of developing some sort of flu-like effect, returning during periods conducive to infection.

But given certain numbers that rise slightly, concerns are growing among the French. Are we facing a new wave? And the vaccination passrecently suspendedcan it actually? make a comeback?

An increase in incidence

For a couple of days, the incidence goes up slightly while – it seemed – it has fallen inexorably since the end of January 2022. The incidence has increased by 16.5% between 3 and 10 March 2022.

Of 629.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitantswe are certainly very far from the 3,809 of January 24, 2022, but it is still a small elevator several days in a row.

In a previous article, Olivier Bouchaud, an infectious diseases specialist at Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny, explained that there could be cause for concern “if the numbers increase again four or five days in a row”.

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In the same vein, the week-long smoothed average of new daily cases is increasing again, boosted by a large number of infections on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 (93,030).

Can the vaccination pass come back?

Will these numbers cause the government to backtrack and? re-imposing certain restrictive measures sanitary? Apparently not.

According to the General Directorate of Public Health (DGS), contacted by: news.frit’s not plannedat this stage, to reintroduce the obligation to wear a mask and the vaccination pass ”. A decision the authority explains by the decrease in “the pressure on the hospitals” and the fact that “the epidemic is gradually decreasing”.

Indeed, since February 6, 2022, the number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 has been decreasing by the day.

Prudent infectious disease specialists

In mid-February 2022, when the vaccine pass suspension was just a rumor, several infectious disease specialists warned on the fact that it was “maybe a little premature. †

“A risky gamble”, even thought François Bricaire, former head of the infectious and tropical diseases department of the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, along with Henri Agut, former director of the virology department of the same hospital.

It kind of feels like we’re nearing the end. But we are not immune to the emergence of a new variant.

Francois BricaireFormer Head of the Infectious and Tropical Diseases Department of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital

Between February 28 and March 6, 2022, it is precisely the BA.2 subvariant that became the majority among new infections in France, as indicated by Public Health France.

New variant and relaxed restrictions

The small revival of the epidemic can therefore be attributed to this new variant, but also to the easing of health restrictions.

Once you lighten the readings mechanically, there is a little kickback.

Olivier BouchaudInfectiologist at Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny

In addition to the new measures introduced on Monday, March 14, 2022, wearing a face mask has not been mandatory since February 28 in places subject to the vaccination pass.

Another example going in the same direction, since the first easing of restrictions a few weeks ago, infectiologists have noticed a resurgence of the flu.

“We are still in winter”

Manuel Schibler, infectious disease specialist at the University Hospitals of Geneva, also thinks about the fact that: “we are still in winter” to explain this small increase. In winter it is colder, we are more indoors, which means: greater promiscuity and therefore more contamination

In addition, the DGS reminds us that “it is not because the mask is no longer mandatory that it is no longer recommended”. And many of them want to keep wearing it. She is thinking in particular of the times when barrier gestures cannot be respected.

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