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Covid-19 in France: towards a further increase in the number of cases?

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Ihe return to the life before is looming. Already fallen in places subject to the vaccination pass, the mask will no longer be compulsory anywhere, except in public transport, from this Monday, March 14. On the same date, the company health protocol will end, and the vaccination pass will be suspended. But hardly do we have time to take advantage of this return to normal than the beginning of an epidemic rebound looms.

It has already been several days since the dizzying decline in the number of cases has slowed down. After being almost divided by three in two weeks at the end of February, the number of cases had stabilized above 50,000 per day on average in the first week of March. And for the first time since January, there is a slight increase: 52,054 cases on average on March 5 against 51,679 the day before. Nothing alarming at this stage, but a sign that the dynamic is being reversed?

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School holiday effect

The last wave of lifting of restrictions on February 28 may have contributed to a slight resumption of contamination, the mask having fallen in many places, such as restaurants, bars, theaters… The return to class could also have had an effect on the epidemic: between 1er and on March 5, the incidence rate increased by 3.9% in the departments of zone B, the first to return from the winter holidays, when it fell by 9.54% and 8.4% in the zones A and C. The BA.2 variant, derived from Omicron, and with which the risk of reinfection is not completely zero, also contributes to slowing the decline.

At the hospital, however, the situation continues to improve. The number of patients in intensive care is 2,036, up from nearly 4,000 in mid-January. Same favorable dynamic for hospitalizations, at 21,899, a third less than at the beginning of the month.

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On February 22 in the Senate, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran listed three criteria for easing the measures scheduled for March 14: a virus reproduction rate (R) of less than 1, an incidence rate of less than 500, and less than 1,500 Covid-19 patients in intensive care. With an R at 0.81, which has tended to increase in recent days, an incidence rate of 542.9 also increasing, and a workforce still above the objective in intensive care, we are far from it. Not enough to suspend the lifting of restrictions for the Ministry of Health, which, questioned by The Parisian, affirms that “the measures announced take into account a favorable epidemic and hospital situation”. And will therefore be well applied.


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