“The epidemic is not over yet! “, the Scientific Council recalls from the outset. The body responsible for advising the government issued it another “warning letter” on Friday, March 11, before being sent to the press on Tuesday. Several proposals are being made for the coming weeks, as an epidemic rebound started in early March. Here’s what you need to remember.
A multifactorial rebound
The Scientific Council lists several explanations for the increase in the number of daily cases, from 55,000 to 66,000 in ten days: population easing, impact of the BA.2 subline of the Omicron variant (more transmissible than BA.1 and now the majority in France), the winter climate, the start of the school year or even the decline of immunity. As Le Parisien explained a few days ago, it is very complicated to say to what extent each of these factors has played a role, especially as the recovery is spreading across Western Europe.
“The number of hospital admissions will temporarily increase in the coming weeks,” warns the scientific council. The number of daily hospital admissions of Covid patients has risen just above 1,000 according to forecasts of the Institut Pasteurthe magnitude of this rebound should be limited if the contacts do not increase too much.
“Generalization of the epidemic in society”
The Scientific Council notes that European countries (including France) are concerned about the war in Ukraine and that “Covid-19 has receded into the background”. In addition, “citizens have the perception that the Omicron variants led to a large number of new infections in December 2021, January and February 2022, but that these infections lead to mild forms”. For all these reasons, the body speaks of a “trivialization of the epidemic in society”.
The Scientific Council also points out that there have been about 18,000 deaths related to Covid in France since December 15, “with a certain amount of trivialization and indifference”.
Measures for the elderly or vulnerable
The Scientific Council calls for “emphasis on the importance of maintaining protective measures in the oldest, vulnerable and immunocompromised”. Those who so wish should be able to continue to wear the mask, ventilate the rooms or wash their hands “to protect themselves or protect the most vulnerable, without exile”, regardless of their age.
The government has repeatedly called on the elderly and vulnerable in recent days to keep the mask on their faces, especially in closed off places, even though it has no longer been mandatory since Monday.
A fourth dose from 65 years?
While the campaign for fourth doses (or rather, second booster doses) has just started for the over-80s and residents of Ehpad, the Scientific Council proposes extending the target to people between the ages of 65 and 80. They too are “subject to a phenomenon of immunosenescence” with immunity that wanes over time, even against severe forms.
The Scientific Council relies on the Council for the orientation of the vaccine strategy and especially on the High Authority of Health, which has not yet commented on this issue. On the other hand, and as all experts agree, “for younger populations, who are not at risk, a fourth dose of vaccine is not indicated”.
Vaccinate more children
The Scientific Council also calls for “accelerating the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 with a medical risk factor”. Only 20% of them are vaccinated today and the vaccination rate is even 5% if all children are taken into account (not just those at risk). This is much less than in our main neighbors (52% in Spain, 37% in Italy, etc.).
Stimulate Paxlovid Recipes
This antiviral drug from the Pfizer lab “remains poorly identified by doctors and patients,” regrets the scientific council, which calls for “simplification” of prescription by pharmacists. Paxlovid, intended for vulnerable patients who have tested positive, greatly reduces the risk of a severe form.
Hold on until the end of April?
Finally, the Scientific Council invites the authorities to “rely rely more on some form of individual responsibility and risk management”, in particular by making an “effort to educate and inform the population in the coming weeks”. In this communication, it seems important to “take into account that an improvement in the situation could be observed with climate change from the end of April”.