Covid-19: after a month of respite, the increase in hospitalizations confirms the resumption of the epidemic

There is an air of déjà vu. After the relative respite in September, the resumption of viral circulation of SARS-CoV-2, observable for two weeks in the incidence rate, has been confirmed in recent days via an unambiguous indicator: the increase in admissions to the ‘hospital (+ 14% in one week) and critical care (+ 12%). It is impossible for the moment to know what will be the extent of the rebound that has started since early October, but one thing is certain for Vincent Maréchal, professor of virology at the Sorbonne: “It won’t be a winter without Covid-19”.

How to explain this epidemic resumption when the start of the school year, perceived as a risky period by epidemiologists, did not cause a particular rebound in September? First of all, there is still a large pool of elderly and vulnerable unvaccinated people most at risk of developing serious forms. Some 2.5 million people aged 50 and over are still not vaccinated, according to data from the Ministry of Health, and particularly 500,000 people over 80, while on October 28, a third of the beds in intensive care units were occupied by people from 60 to 69 years old.

We must then consider the elderly who have already received a complete regimen but whose protection dulls over the months. As of October 24, only 64% of people over 65 who do not live in accommodation for dependent elderly people (Ehpad) and eligible for the recall had taken the plunge, as well as 63% of nursing home residents. Finally, the entry into the winter season, which is more favorable to viral circulation, and the relaxation of barrier gestures contribute to the new dynamic. “The current epidemic recovery is similar to the winter recovery of last year, the virus is becoming almost seasonal, observes Mahmoud Zureik, professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. But vaccination will not be the only cure. Among the measures to be favored which are still not sufficiently highlighted, the ventilation of confined spaces is important. “

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“Light but sensitive” recovery

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal confirmed on Wednesday “A light but sensitive recovery”. “The incidence rate once again exceeds 50 per 100,000 inhabitants at the national level and the alert threshold has been crossed in around forty departments” even if “We start from a low level”, he clarified. If the upward trend is irrefutable, the incidence data are questionable since the end of reimbursement of virological tests for everyone, on October 15, but also the lesser eagerness of people vaccinated to be done. test for mild symptoms, especially with the arrival of other viruses, such as the common cold or the flu.

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Covid-19: after a month of respite, the increase in hospitalizations confirms the resumption of the epidemic