Will the summer be ruined by the seventh wave of Covid? Already, the government recommends wearing a mask in transport.
The question is on everyone’s mind as the Covid is making a comeback and bedridden our neighbour, friend or colleague: will the virus, and with it its share of restrictions, invite itself under the umbrella and ruin the vacation? Specialists count on a new wave peak at the end of July when hospitalizations are already on the rise. The government, for the time being, is appealing to the civic sense French people and asks them, without obligation, to wear a mask in transport and enclosed places. At the borders, on the other hand, the sanitary pass may be required again. Fragile people are also encouraged to receive their second booster dose vaccine against Covid. Measures to consider when you know that thousands of French people still suffer today from symptoms due to long covid.
Camille Lestienne, journalist at Figaro.
1. A new summer under Covid?
Seventh wave. It is a new wave which is announced for the summer and which could reach its peak at the end of July. With nearly 125,000 positive cases detected yesterday, the Covid epidemic is experiencing a real resurgence due to the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants. The bar of two million tests in one week was crossed yesterday and hospitalizations are on the rise again. However, the models are difficult to establish today as the immunity profiles differ. For specialist Mircea Sofonea, holidays and the return of barrier gestures could curb contamination. What do we know about these Omicron derivatives from South Africa? The symptoms differ a little from the other variants: infected people suffer more easily from nausea, vomiting, digestive pain. There are also more sore throats and swallowing problems. However, “the lungs are not attacked as with the Delta“, reassures infectious disease specialist Gilles Pialoux.
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The numbers to remember
- 931 patients in critical care (+17 since the day before)
- 15.836 people hospitalized (+146 since the day before)
- 133.346 new cases detected (+67% over seven days)
- 42 deaths in 24 hours in hospital (149,533 dead since the start of the epidemic in hospitals and nursing homes)
- 53.5 million people have a complete vaccination schedule (80% of the population)
- 40.2 million had a booster dose (60% of pop.)
Source: Public Health France as of June 30, 2022
The return of the health pass? The new Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, may say she is confident about the holding of festivals this summer, without “reduce gauges“nor others”constraints», anxiety reigns. Three days before the start of the Tour de France, the Union Cycliste Internationale decided not to isolate a positive but asymptomatic cyclist at the risk of causing cascading contamination. So is our summer going to be ruined by the upsurge in cases? If no summer restrictions are announced, there could be border changes as the state of health emergency ends on July 31. A bill has been sent to the Council of State providing for a compulsory health pass from the age of 12 for any trip “to or from France, Corsica or one of the local authoritiesfrom overseas. And this from August 1st. The text “will be the subject of discussions, before its presentation to the Council of Ministers, with the political forces, as we have always done“, specified the cabinet of Brigitte Bourguignon.
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2. The mask is back
A masked summer? In the meantime, it is time for recommendations, in particular that of wearing a mask in closed places. On Monday, the Minister of Health “asked” the French to put the mask back on transport. “I will not go as far as the obligation but I ask (it). […]. It’s almost a civic duty“, said Brigitte Bourguignon. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne went further on Tuesday by asking prefects and health authorities to encourage the wearing of masks.in crowded places” and “confined spaces“. Already the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has said he is ready to make it compulsory “on the 2500 kilometers of transport networks» that he manages. Finally, on Wednesday, the CEO of the SNCF called on travelers to wear the mask. But would restoring the wearing of masks in transport be useful? “Even if the mask does not completely prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, it greatly reduces its risk, the infectious dose in the event of infection and therefore the risk of serious forms and long Covidsums up Antoine Flahault. However, the question remains political and requires the support of the population, who believed they were finally out of the tunnel. For Jean-François Delfraissy, the government “was right” not to make the mask compulsory again. “We have gone from a period of injunctions to a recommendation. I am for this attitude of recommendation, and the Scientific Council in general“, he declared on Wednesday on RTL.
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3. Call for vaccination reminder
Fourth dose. The other civic action that could save the summer is vaccination. The 64-year-old health minister herself received a fourth dose of the vaccine, last week called on those over 60 or who are immunocompromised to do the same. A quarter of eligible people received their second booster shot against Covid, a rate “clearly insufficient“, according to the government. This fourth dose is however relevant now. If the Pr Alain Fischer, president of the orientation council for the vaccine strategy, is aware of the weariness of the French, he remains convinced that“we must now protect people at risk, to prevent them from falling ill in the coming weeks.” In addition, a sixth vaccine against Covid has received authorization from the European health authorities. Based on inactivated virus, Valneva’s serum could convince people hostile to messenger RNA, but the European Union announced in May that it was considering canceling its order.
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4. The quote
long covid. The health supplement Figaro provides an update this week on the long Covid, this new chronic disease which impacts the health of many people even after a mild form of Covid-19. In March, the Ministry of Health estimated at 700,000 the number of French people with symptoms beyond three months, and at 70,000 those requiring care in specific structures. Fatigue, heart palpitations, digestive problems, dermatological, the symptoms are diverse. “All organs can be affected. But the most common signs are overwhelming fatigue, shortness of breath and brain fog: difficulty finding words, doing two things at the same time, putting up with noise.explains the Pr Dominique Salmon-Ceron, infectious disease specialist at the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris. Several teams of scientists around the world are looking for explanations for this phenomenon. Persistence of the virus or deregulation of the immune response, the tracks are multiple.
5. Mask and pass
Since March 14, the health restrictions linked to the epidemic have been mostly abandoned.
The mask is no longer mandatory in transport but it is strongly recommended in places of high traffic for positive people, especially for contact cases at risk, symptomatic people and health professionals.
The sanitary pass (vaccine, negative test, certificate of recovery) is always requested at the entrance to hospitals, retirement homes and establishments for the disabled. It is required when crossing borders for travel to/from France.
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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:
- Wash your hands regularly or use hydroalcoholic gel
- Cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow
- Use single-use tissues
- Avoid touching your face
- Air the rooms as often as possible, at least a few minutes every hour
- Greet without shaking hands and stop kissing
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 out of breath, you should contact 15. The symptoms would be lighter with the Omicron variant, similar to those of a cold: sore throat, headache, runny nasal.
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In case of signs of the disease, the most important thing is to get tested. The test, PCR or antigen, remains free for non-vaccinated people 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.
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See you next week.