Covid-19: the epidemic slows down, but remains at very high levels

Since July 30, the number of contaminations has been around 21,000 daily cases, with a situation considered very worrying in several overseas departments, but also in Corsica, Paca or Occitanie.

After a very sharp increase in contaminations throughout the month of July, the epidemic has slowed its rate of progression in recent days. Since July 30, the number of contaminations has stabilized on a high plateau around 21,000 daily cases (calculated on an average of seven sliding days). Hospitalizations and intensive care admissions, on the other hand, are still on the rise with more than 600 people admitted to hospital daily, including around 150 in critical care. “School holidays and annual leave for many employees create a situation of semi-confinement throughout Europe”, notes Antoine Flahault, professor of public health at the University of Geneva. Which may explain this plateau in the number of cases.

While the epidemic was previously mainly carried by the youngest (10-39 years), the increase is now more marked among those over 40, “Reflecting the spread of the epidemic from the youngest to the oldest” according to Public Health France. The situation is considered very worrying in several overseas departments, but also in Corsica, Paca or Occitanie. The incidence is on the other hand down in the Pyrénées-Orientales and Haute-Corse, two departments very prematurely affected in July. However, it remains at very high levels, with more than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the Pyrénées-Orientales and nearly 800 in Haute-Corse.

“Vaccination coverage alone not yet sufficient”

In these departments as elsewhere, it is still too early to know if the slowdown in the incidence will affect severe cases, or even if the current plateau does not just mark a plateau before a new increase. The fall in the number of cases observed in England for two weeks has also stabilized at a high level, around 26,000 cases per day, our Jean-Stéphane Dhersin, deputy scientific director of the National Institute of Mathematical Sciences. This tends to show that vaccination coverage alone is not yet sufficient to stop the spread of the virus. It is very likely that this is also the case in France. “

In the UK, 47 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or 70% of the population, compared to 44 million and 65% of the population in France. The vaccine campaign should slow down in the coming days according to data from the online booking site Doctolib, but start rising again from August 15. More than 50 million people are expected to have received a dose of vaccine by August 31, including 44 million with a full vaccination.

Very high levels but which, in the opinion of scientists, could remain insufficient to protect against a new wave of hospitals. “The extensive use of the health pass in France could allow the country to regain lasting control over the fourth wave, linked to the Delta variant,” Antoine Flahault notes, however. In addition, this pass seems to have a second virtue by representing a strong incentive for vaccination, and will contribute substantially to better protect the country against any risk of hospital saturation. “

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