Covid-19: are we ready for the eighth wave of the epidemic?

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The number of positive cases for Covid-19 has started to rise again, marking the beginning of an eighth wave of the epidemic. As new vaccines arrive, barrier movements remain important.

Will the 8th wave of Covid-19, which is beginning, be the last of this epidemic that has shaken the world? The idea gains all the more prominence as soon as the coronavirus appeared, the researchers had modeled the development of the epidemic in this direction. Thus, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (Cidrap) at the University of Minnesota in the United States proposed a scenario of epidemic “peaks and troughs” in the long term, with a gradual decrease in wave height.

On September 14, the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that the previous week “the number of reported weekly deaths from Covid-19 was the lowest since March 2020”. “We have never been better placed to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight”, assured Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. This Monday, it was US President Joe Biden who was excited when he announced to CBS channel. “The pandemic is over, we still have a problem with Covid, we spend a lot of work on this file … but the pandemic is over. If you look around, no one is wearing a mask and everyone looks pretty good. So I think that is changing. »

Milestone of one million tests passed

Still, before the end of the epidemic is declared, there is still this 8th epidemic wave to overcome. The pollution figures are thus rising again in Germany, Italy and France. From September 5 to 11 (week 36), incidence had risen for the first time after eight weeks of decline, Public Health France noted on September 15. Yesterday, the new situation update for week 37 reported a further increase of +57%. There have been increases in most metropolitan areas. The incidence rate was 293 per 100,000 inhabitants or 198,833 new cases. The increase is mainly driven by those under 20 and those aged 30-49 (over 50%).

Covid-19 in France
MDD

Yesterday the Ministry of Health announced that the number of screening tests “again crossed” one million last week: with 1,132,300 PCR and antigen tests validated between 12 and 18 September, screening activity has increased “sharply” by 33% in 7 days. Children and adults combined, the daily number of positive cases has almost doubled in two weeks and now exceeds 30,000 (on average over 7 days).

On the other hand, hospital indicators continued to fall in most regions. “Nationally, 2,138 new admissions (ie -2%) and 216 new admissions to critical care (-4%) were recorded in week 37. In overseas France, virological indicators fell across all territories. »

New vaccines and still barrier movements

This increase in positive cases is due to the Omicron variant that “circulates almost exclusively in France” with “its BA.5 subline [qui] is now ubiquitous. The High Health Authority on Tuesday also gave the green light to three new anti-Covid vaccines “targeting the original strain and the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. »

“In the immediate term and because the number of cases of infection has started to rise again for a few days”, the HAS recommends not delaying the second booster dose in the over 60s and under 60s until the risk of severe form, which would not have received it within the recommended time.

It is essential to strengthen vaccination efforts given the insufficient vaccination coverage, especially the second booster dose in the elderly. As of September 19, only 28.7% of those aged 60-79 (34.2% of those eligible based on time since last injection) and 36.4% of those aged 80 and over (47 .8% of those eligible) their second booster dose.

In addition to the vaccination campaign, which must continue or even increase for reminders, the French will also have to reconnect with respect to barrier movements. “In the context of an intensification of the circulation of SARS-CoV-2, compliance with combined measures remains essential to protect vulnerable people: up-to-date vaccination, isolation in case of a positive test and/or symptoms, use of barrier movements, including systematic wearing a mask in the presence of vulnerable people or in case of overcrowding in closed spaces and hand washing”, recalls Public Health France, while the government has reactivated its communication campaign on barrier movements.

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