Covid-19, what you need to know this week: the virus strikes again

While the hospital risks congestion with winter epidemics, the Prime Minister recommended wearing a mask in transport.


This virus has an annoying air of Captain Haddock’s band-aid. When you think you’ve gotten rid of it, it reappears. More than 40,000 cases of Covid-19 are recorded every day, the Prime Minister said on Tuesday. And to protect yourself from the disease and protect others, especially the most fragile, Élisabeth Borne recommends wearing a mask, in particular in transport. Will it be listened to and the French, who are still shying away from the fourth dose of vaccine, will they mobilize? It should, implore the doctors, because this year the hospital faces not one epidemic, but three. Influenza and bronchiolitis, combined with Covid, could rock the ship dangerously.

Good reading,

Camille Lestienne, journalist at Figaro

1. “The virus has not gone away”

Elisabeth Borne recommended wearing a mask in crowded areas on Tuesday at the National Assembly. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

The recommended mask. “The virus has not disappeared, the epidemic strikes again, kills again“, declared Tuesday in the National Assembly Élisabeth Borne during questions to the government. With more than 40,000 cases of Covid detected every day and a hospital in tension, the Prime Minister recommends wearing a mask, especially in transport. “Let’s respect the barrier gestures, wear the mask as soon as we are with fragile people or in promiscuous areas“, she urged. In its weekly bulletin, Public Health France observed last Friday a “resumption of trafficof the coronavirus. All the Covid indicators are red: the test positivity rate is up (+10% in seven days), as is the incidence rate which is 433.3 sick people out of 100,000 individuals (+41.4 % in seven days). The current rebound is already reflected in a “upward recovery in new hospitalizations and critical care admissions“, after “four weeks down“, emphasizes Public Health France.

” READ ALSO – Wearing a mask: where are we abroad?

The hospital in tension. Covid, flu, bronchiolitis, can the hospital cope? “We can’t afford to have a triple epidemic“, alerted Arnaud Robinet, the president of the Hospital Federation of France (FHF). Because if the Covid-19 is less virulent this year thanks to Omicron, the epidemic of bronchiolitis is particularly strong. It destabilizes pediatric services but can also affect the elderly. As for the flu, it comes early. Two regions were placed in the epidemic phase on November 30. Even the most optimistic like Martin Blachier recognize that things are going “pitch“. “Not all available beds can be focused on all three outbreaks at the same time. We need it for other patients“, proclaims for his part the infectiologist Robert Sebbag. How to limit the damage? Scientists call for mask wearing and vaccination against both Covid and flu.

2. The vaccine booster still shunned

I think there is a fatigue among our compatriots towards vaccination.

Philippe Besset, President of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France (FSPF)

Vaccination is effective against severe forms of Covid, but the injection of the fourth dose has lagged behind since the launch of the booster campaign with the bivalent vaccines effective against the original strain and the Omicron variant. According to the Ministry of Health, only 21% of people aged 80 and over and 37% of people aged 60-79 are today “sufficiently protected by the vaccine or a previous infection“. Why is the campaign stalling among the over-60s? Experts refer to a “vaccine fatiguein frail people. Some “feel like they’re going to have to get vaccinated all their lives“, points out Pierre-Olivier Variot, president of the union of community pharmacists (USPO). All are calling for a boost to the campaign: “It’s not too late ! The second booster generates antibodies within a short period of two to five days“, underlines the epidemiologist Philippe Amouyel.

” READ ALSO – Unvaccinated caregivers: is the LFI bill “conspiratorial” and “antivax”?

3. The underused antiviral Paxlovid

Paxlovid is still not prescribed enough.

Paxlovid is still not prescribed enough. golibtolibov /

In addition to vaccines, the arsenal against Covid-19 includes the antiviral Paxlovid. Since last January, it can be prescribed to patients at risk of a severe form of the disease. But too few still benefit from it when its effectiveness has been confirmed. “We had a complicated start and we are struggling to catch up. Prescription conditions in the first months were complex», recognizes with the Figaro the pr Paul Frappé, President of the College of General Medicine. It would be necessary to standardize the definition of people at risk of a serious form and to further simplify the prescription, or even anticipate it. The doctor would then make a prescription for his patient before he was sick, which would only serve him if he caught Covid.

4. Looking at China

Demonstrations in Chengdu, November 28.

Demonstrations in Chengdu, November 28. SOCIAL MEDIA / REUTERS

The strategy “zero covidin China reaching its limit? For several days, demonstrators have been defying the authorities and protesting against the restrictions, mass tests and confinements imposed by the authorities to stem the spread of the virus. This is unheard of since Tian An Men in 1989. “Xi Jinping, resign!” dared a young man as police repression escalates. Even in the minority, the demonstrators pose a challenge to Xi Jinping, whose room for maneuver is narrow. “Giving in to the streets would erode its authority, and the lifting of “zero Covid” would trigger a massacre in an elderly population poorly immunized by local vaccines, less effective than those of Western laboratories.“, analyzes Sébastien Falletti, correspondent of Figaro in Asia.

” READ ALSO – Covid: China stumbles on messenger RNA vaccines

5. From plague to Covid

The Covid is not enough for you? The Culture Department of Figaro recommends an exhibition, “Faced with epidemics. From the Black Death to the present day”, at the National Archives in Paris. Originally prepared to accompany the bicentenary of the birth of Pasteur, the exhibition looks back on the long history of epidemics, from the 15the century to the present day. Above all, it shows to what extent these episodes each time form a “total social factaffecting all aspects of society: economic, political, religious, cultural and moral. At the exit, a cabin allows visitors to record their memories of the first confinement from March to May 2020 and thus enter history.

“Faced with epidemics. From the Black Death to the present day”, at the National Archives (Paris 3e), until February 6, 2023.

6. The reflexes to keep

The virus is transmitted by droplets and aerosols. The barrier gestures detailed by the Ministry of Health must be observed to protect themselves and others:

  • Wear the mask in closed and crowded places, especially for fragile people, with symptoms or contact cases.
  • Ventilate the rooms as often as possible, at least a few minutes every hour.
  • Wash your hands regularly or use hydroalcoholic gel.
  • Greet without shaking hands and stop hugging.
  • Cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow.
  • Use single-use tissues.

7. What to do in case of symptoms?

The disease is most often manifested by cough, fever or feeling feverish, loss of smell and taste, fatigue. If after a few days you have trouble breathing or are short of breath, you should contact 15. Symptoms are often milder with the Omicron variant, similar to those of a cold: sore throat, headache, runny nose.

In case of signs of the disease, the most important thing is to get tested. The test, PCR or antigen, remains free for those who have not been vaccinated on medical prescription or after having been identified as a contact case by Health Insurance. In the event of a positive result on a self-test, a confirmation PCR test is recommended. While waiting for the result, you must isolate yourself and wear a mask. If the test is positive, isolation must last 7 days from the first symptoms for vaccinated persons, 10 days for unvaccinated people. It can be broken on D+5 or D+7 respectively, if you have a negative test and you have had no symptoms for 48 hours. Good to know, since March 21, 2022, contact cases no longer need to isolate themselves, vaccinated or not, but wearing a mask is recommended and teleworking is preferred as far as possible.

” READ ALSO – You have just learned that you are positive for Covid-19, what should you do?

See you soon.


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