While the peak of the fifth wave of Covid-19 is expected in the coming days, Geneviève Chêne recalled that the virus continued to spread strongly in France.
“The peak of infections is expected in mid-January”, wrote the Institut Pasteur in its report on the impact of the Omicron variant on January 7. But this estimate, if it is corroborated by other scientists, will not be realized to the day, and on the eve of January 15, France is “still in a phase of strong increase in the number of cases”, declares this Friday on BFMTV Geneviève Chêne, Director General of Public Health France.
“To say that we are at the peak, no. We can say that we are at the peak when we have passed it, because we have to see the decrease to see the peak, and we are not exactly in this situation there,” she explains. “We are still in a phase of strong growth in the number of cases, and also a certain increase in hospitalizations and admissions to critical care”.
The decline in certain regions?
She recalls that the virus is still circulating a lot in the country, and that according to consolidated data from last week, one in five French people tested was positive, “it’s about 280,000 cases per day on average over the week, we remain all the same on a very high level of the number of cases”, she underlines. And even when the peak of infections is reached, it will be necessary to wait for that of hospitalizations and resuscitation, which, mechanically, arrives out of step.
If the question is asked, it is because signals seem to indicate a decline in the epidemic, such as in Île-de-France where the incidence rate has slightly decreased in recent days. But this recent data should not immediately be taken for a trend. “I am not commenting on the figures of the day”, declares Geneviève Chêne, who explains that she is waiting for the data to be “consolidated” before deducing something from it, “we will answer in the epidemiological point of next week”.
“Commenting on the figures from one day to the next has little epidemiological value”, abounds epidemiologist Mircea Sofonea on our antenna.
Uncertainties about the evolution that will follow the peak
It should also be remembered that the situations are different depending on the region, and that the epidemic will not evolve in the same way everywhere. Epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet had explained on BFMTV “that there are regional differences” in France, and that the peak “will arrive a little earlier in the Ile-de-France region and in the North-West of France, a little later in the South and South-East of France”.
“The situation in Corsica was rather in a form of stability last week, so we want to think that from a stable situation, the following week we will be in a more favorable situation”, also declares Geneviève Chêne. .
On the other hand, nothing says that the peak will be followed by a decline, like what was observed in South Africa or England. “We will see in the next few days if, like the English, we reach a peak and then if this leads to a drop, or if it makes a plateau like Delta, which obviously would not be happy news”, thus recalled the minister. of Health Olivier Véran at the beginning of the week.