Since that date, the curves have risen sharply and on Tuesday, the incidence rate had risen to 476. Also, on June 21, more than 95,000 positive cases were listed in 24 hours, the daily average over seven days being now more than 44,000 cases (+35% per week), against 17,500 at the end of May. Variants BA.4 and BA.5 For the moment, this rebound has not yet had any negative consequences on the hospital: the number of Covid patients has been stable since the beginning of June, both in general services (around 14,000 people) and in intensive care (around 850 patients). But vigilance is in order, admissions having respectively increased by 6% and 2% in the last seven days, and a lag is still observed between the appearance of cases and the increase in admissions. Should we be worried about this bullish trend, when summer is just beginning? “We cannot say that the situation is worrying, relativizes epidemiologist Philippe Amouyel, professor of public health at the Lille University Hospital. This rise in rates is linked to the appearance of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron. They are more contagious, essentially because they escape, through some of their mutations, the immune coverage that we know compared to BA.1 and BA.2. But so far they have not resulted in an additional gravity factor. The health crisis occurs when there is a saturation of hospitals and for the moment, we are not there. This rise remains within acceptable limits.” “Immune decline” If Philippe Amouyel remains confident, it is because the current rebound, observed in most European countries, had been anticipated: “In our projections, we said that at the end of June-beginning of July, we could have an epidemic resumption, he explains. Why ? Because we know that antibodies, vaccine immunity, last between four and six months. The vaccines were done during the summer of 2021, and the boosters last winter. So there, we begin to achieve less protection. To this natural “immune decline” was added a small proportion of fourth doses in fragile people (2.2 million second boosters carried out out of 8.7 million eligible people) and protection, for the approximately 20 million French people contaminated with BA.2 at the beginning of the year, which “lasts less time compared to BA.4 and BA.5”. “All of this means that we have a drop in the overall immune shield, which promotes the penetration of these sub-variants”, observes Philippe Amouyel. “New variants that cause small epidemic peaks, this is something that we will see appear for years, he continues. This is the transition to the endemic phase. Putting the mask back on As a result, Philippe Amouyel expects a lower wave than the previous ones: “The vaccine continues to protect against severe forms”, he recalls, imagining a moderate impact on the hospital. Should we start considering a generalization of the fourth dose for all? “At the moment, there is no proof that the fourth dose for everyone works”, he underlines. “Above all, you have to think about the start of the school year: at that time there may be a new variant, a new epidemic outbreak, and there, you may have to think about doing a new booster dose for everyone, probably with new vaccines, better adapted to the circulating virus strains. »
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