Deemed inexorable by epidemiologists, the fourth wave of coronavirus could once again strike hospitals. It remains to be seen when.
His prospect darkens the summer vacation. With the spread of the delta variant, the possibility of a fourth wave of coronavirus is becoming clearer as contaminations are on the rise again in recent days: from 509 on June 28, the number of new cases has since risen to more than 2,500 July 4 (and even more than 3,000 on July 3).
- When should you expect it?
According to the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, “the English example shows that a wave is possible from the end of July“. However, if we follow the English example, it would be a rebound in contamination more than a “properly speaking», Insofar as the number of hospitalizations would not necessarily be correlated. “Si we are talking in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, clearly no, at least not from the summer“, objected public health professor Martin Blachier. “The increase in the number of hospitalizations will come later, in a staggered manner. On the other hand, everything at stake remains the start of the school year, in autumn and then especially in winter ”, assures Martin Blachier.
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- Will it be as violent as the previous ones?
A projection from the Institut Pasteur envisages, with an R0 – the number of people that an infected individual will infect on average 4 and a vaccination coverage of 30% of 12-27 year olds, 70% of 18-59 year olds and 90% of those over 60, a number of hospital admissions of 2,500 people per day. This is less than the peak of last fall (2850) but more than the end of April (2000).
In the worst-case scenario, epidemiologist Antoine Flahaut does not rule out a new saturation of hospitals. “The different waves each affected 3 or 4% of 50-60 year olds. With the proportion of this unvaccinated age group, the virus can easily recruit the same proportion of patients and clutter up hospitals, and potentially lead to new restrictive measures.», He explains.
- Who is at risk of being infected?
People who have been vaccinated should be protected from severe forms, even if there is a small percentage of people who have received their two doses properly and are at risk of developing covid. In contrast, unvaccinated young people are particularly susceptible to developing covid. “We risk seeing younger patients in intensive care. But above all, they risk transmitting the covid. I am particularly worried about the 50-60 year old unvaccinated ”, continues Antoine Flahaut. Vaccinated or not, anyone could be exposed, however, to minor forms of the delta variant.
- What does the delta variant change?
The question of the aggressiveness of the variant is not settled. Preliminary studies in England and Scotland seem to indicate an increased risk, perhaps doubled, of being hospitalized, with no consequences for morbidity so far. In contrast, the symptoms could be significantly different, more like a seasonal cold with headache, runny nose and mild fever, with no loss of taste and smell. In any case, it would be 40 to 60% more contagious than the alpha variant (English variant), which could accelerate the speed of the epidemic’s spread..
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