Covid-19, what you need to know this week: a disease soon to be endemic?


While contaminations stagnate, the number of hospitalized continues to increase.

Hello,

The Covid epidemic, despite a slowdown, continues to rage with another 134 deaths recorded yesterday. But the Covid-19 is becoming endemic according to specialists who believe that we “should be able to control it like we control other respiratory diseases.” And this, even if new mutations are placed under surveillance. In China, on the other hand, Sars-CoV-2 is not about to be forgotten. In Shanghai, the economic capital shut down, anger is brewing.

Good reading,

Camille Lestienne, journalist at Figaro.


1. Where is the epidemic?

Negative antigen self-test. Jérôme Rommé / stock.adobe.com

With 146,426 positive cases recorded in 24 hours by Public Health France, the average for the last seven days stands at 131,369, after a brief passage above the threshold of 140,000 in early April. If the contaminations have stagnated for several days, the number of hospitalized patients continues to increase. But then, has the peak of the rebound of the epidemic passed in France, as the Minister of Health had assured? “We can hope that the dynamics of the serious forms will be reversed within ten or fifteen days”, advances epidemiologist Simon Cauchemez. Covid-19 “is becoming endemic“, Says virologist Mylène Ogliastro. “We should be able to control it like we control other respiratory diseases,” she adds. However, it is not “time to let your guard down“Warns the WHO emergency committee through the voice of its president. “Now is not the time for relaxation on this virus, no weakness in surveillance, testing and reporting, no laxity in public and social health measures and no resignation s’ acting on vaccination”, urged Doctor Didier Houssin on Wednesday.

The figures to remember in France

  • 1650 patients in critical care (+6 since the day before)
  • 24.778 hospitalized patients (+85 since the day before)
  • 146.426 new cases detected (against 161,950 a week ago)
  • 134 deaths in 24 hours in hospital (143,777 dead since the start of the epidemic in hospitals and nursing homes)
  • 53.4 million people have a complete vaccination schedule (79.2% of the population)
  • 40.5 million booster doses administered

Source: Public Health France as of April 13

2. New variants under surveillance

Placed under surveillance by the WHO and Public Health France, new highly contagious mutations of Sars-CoV-2 are circulating today. Thus, XD from both Delta and Omicron and commonly called “Deltacron”, is present in France. As for the XE mutation, which comes from the two “cousin” variants of Omicron, BA.1 and BA.2, it is most prevalent in the United Kingdom. According to an Australian epidemiologist, the XE will likely be the one that “will cause the most problems in the world», taking over from BA.2. But at this point there is “no alert», entrusts to the Figaro a source at the Ministry of Health.

3. Anger rumbles in Shanghai

Shanghai, the economic capital of China, is at a standstill. ALY SONG / REUTERS

In Shanghai, the zero Covid strategy is sowing anger and doubt among strictly confined residents. “We are getting into the hard”, confides a locked-up Frenchman as supplies become the major concern. The epidemic is seen by many as a pretext for population control. And even if the city authorities announced on Monday that they would ease the confinement for certain areas, Washington ordered members of the American consulate to leave the Chinese economic capital.

And also. In the UK, Boris Johnson and his wife were sanctioned in the “Partygate” affair. For having organized parties in Downing Street during periods of confinement, the Prime Minister, his wife and the Minister of Finance, Rishi Sunak, received a ticket from the London police. Spain is agitated by other scandals. Madrid City Hall was allegedly defrauded in the purchase of protective equipment against Covid by a prominent aristocrat and a dubious industrialist. Another investigation targets three senior officials in the government of socialist Pedro Sánchez, accused of forfeiture, embezzlement and fraud, again in the context of purchases of sanitary equipment.

4. Mask and pass

Since March 14, health restrictions linked to the epidemic have been mostly abandoned. However, mask and pass are still required in some places:

The mask is still required in public passenger transport and health establishments. Wearing a mask remains recommended for positive people and contact cases at risk, symptomatic people and health professionals.

The sanitary pass (vaccine, negative test, certificate of recovery) is always requested at the entrance to hospitals, retirement homes and establishments for the disabled.

5. The reflexes to keep

The virus is transmitted by droplets and aerosols. The barrier gestures detailed by the Ministry of Health must be observed to protect themselves and others:

  • Wash your hands regularly or use hydroalcoholic gel
  • Cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow
  • Use single-use tissues
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Air the rooms as often as possible, at least a few minutes every hour
  • Greet without shaking hands and stop kissing

6. What to do in case of symptoms?

The disease is most often manifested by cough, fever or feeling feverish, loss of smell and taste, fatigue. If after a few days you have trouble breathing or are short of breath, you should contact 15. The symptoms would be lighter with the Omicron variant, similar to those of a cold: sore throat, headache, discharge nasal.

In case of signs of the disease, the most important thing is to get tested. The test, PCR or antigen, remains free for non-vaccinated people on medical prescription or after having been identified as a contact case by Health Insurance. In the event of a positive result on a self-test, a confirmation PCR test is recommended. While waiting for the result, you must isolate yourself and wear a mask. If the test is positive, isolation must last 7 days from the first symptoms for vaccinated persons, 10 days for unvaccinated people. It can be broken on D+5 or D+7 respectively, if you have a negative test and you have had no symptoms for 48 hours. Good to know, since March 21, 2022, contact cases no longer need to isolate themselves, vaccinated or not.

See you next week.

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