Covid-19, what you need to know this week: at the peak of the wave, the nose in the wind

While the contamination curve is slowly coming down in France, health restrictions are gradually being lifted.


the peak of the wave Omicron seems to have passed and, mask in the pocket, the French were again able to walk around yesterday with their noses in the wind. It was February 2, the day of the first stage of the lifting of restrictions with the end of the outdoor mask, compulsory telework and gauges. Some of our European neighbours, like the Denmark or theEngland, paved the way for a return to life before, ignoring the still significant circulation of the virus. In France, the vaccination pass could be removed before July according to the Minister of Health. In the meantime, he settles in with sometimes confusing adjustments. But even more disconcerting is life in a completely sealed sanitary bubble. This is the experience of the journalists dispatched to China to watch the Winter Olympics. The special envoy of Figaro tells you.

Good reading,

Camille Lestienne, journalist at Figaro.

1. Peak reached,…

The pressure is down on intensive care units in France. PASCAL ROSSIGNOL / REUTERS

Where is the epidemic? The peak of the Omicron wave, now hegemonic, seems to have passed in France while a decline in contamination has been observed since January 26. The decline in hospitalizations in intensive care is also significant, more tenuous for admissions in routine care. Scientists agree to envisage a real improvement in March. “We should soon enter an endemic phase, thus judges Mircea Sofonea. It will be necessary to take advantage of the period of calm which should arrive in the spring to provide long-term responses to this virus which remains very dangerous and the all-vaccine will not be sufficient.“Time to prepare so as not to relive such tension on hospitals.

The figures to remember in France

  • 3700 patients in critical care (-51 since the day before)
  • 32,720 hospitalized patients (-174 since the day before)
  • 315.363 new cases detected in 24 hours (compared to 428,008 last Wednesday)
  • 277 death in 24 hours in hospital (131,588 dead since the start of the epidemic)

Source: Public Health France as of February 2

2. … restrictions lifted

Wearing a mask is no longer compulsory outdoors since February 2. SARAH MEYSSONNIER / REUTERS

February 2, first stage. The government will respect the timetable set, assured the government spokesman on Tuesday. Since yesterday Wednesday, wearing a mask is no longer compulsory outdoors, the gauges in places receiving the seated public (stadiums, cultural establishments, etc.) have been abandoned and teleworking at least three days a week is no longer imposed. The latter remains recommended, it is up to companies to maintain the right level when very often contamination or quarantines still force employees to work remotely. On February 16, the nightclubs will reopen as planned confirmed Gabriel Attal on Wednesday. “The situation remains fragile with a very high level of declared cases, the sub-variant of Omicron BA.2“, very contagious, and “extremely high tension in the hospital“, he however underlined.

And with our neighbors. While some European countries like Germany are maintaining strong control measures, others have gotten ahead of us and have already lifted most restrictions. This is the case in Denmark where the return to normal life has been decreed. Since Tuesday, all restrictions have been lifted despite still high infection rates. “You will have to live with“said the Prime Minister. This is what the Danes are doing, some of whom continue to wear their masks in transport. Same situation in England where almost all sanitary measures have been abandoned. The mask has however been reinstated by some high school principals who saw the contamination blaze in their establishment.

3. The comings and goings of the vaccination pass

The duration of the reinstatement certificate is reduced to four months from February 15. ERIC GAILLARD / REUTERS

The blurs of the past. Since the introduction of the vaccination pass last week, various adjustments have taken place. Olivier Véran had announced the limitation of the duration of the certificate of recovery to four months instead of six from February 15, arousing strong reactions. Wednesday evening on BFMTV, the Minister of Health clarified and modified the rules: “to benefit from the vaccination pass, it will now be necessary for the immune system to have been stimulated at least three times. by injection or infection. More precisely: an infection is equivalent to an injection, provided that you have received at least one dose of vaccine. This again means that people who have received two doses and then become infected do not need a third dose. Similarly, some people who had received a dose of vaccine before or after a Covid-19 infection and then a booster dose were surprised to discover an expiration date on their pass. A bug corrected by Health Insurance but which requires downloading a new version of the certificate and updating the QR code in the TousAntiCovid application. Finally, Olivier Véran estimated that the vaccine pass could be deleted “long before July“, when the pressure on the hospital has completely subsided and if there are no new variants.

SEE ALSO – Covid-19: Is the vaccination pass adapted to Omicron?

Vaccination of toddlers. The Pfizer laboratory and its partner BioNTech are preparing to request authorization for their vaccine for children under 5 in the United States, according to American media. But is it useful? In France, while the vaccination of 5-11 year olds is struggling to convince with less than 4% of them vaccinated, the question divides the experts interviewed by Le Figaro. Referring to the 25 deaths of children recorded in France and the long Covids, the doctor Jérôme Marty is clearly in favor of it. Others are more cautious and doubt the effectiveness of the three-dose formula of Pfizer’s serum and would prefer to reserve it, for very young children, for those who are most at risk. “As a matter of choice, the vaccine is better than the disease“, explains the pharmacologist Mathieu Molimard.

Vaccination figures

  • 54 million people received a first dose (80.1% of the population).
  • 52.8 million of French people have a complete vaccination schedule (78.3% of the population).
  • 35.9 million booster doses administered.

Source: Ministry of Health as of February 2

4. The quote

They all want one thing: to see you leave quickly. From then on, this feeling of being received like a plague victim never leaves you.

Cédric Callier, special correspondent for Le Figaro in Beijing for the Winter Olympics.

Zero Covid Olympics. While the Winter Olympics will start on February 4 in Beijing, foreign journalists are gradually arriving in China and discovering behind the scenes of the zero Covid strategy applied by the Middle Empire. The special envoy of Figaro, Cédric Callier, paid the price when he arrived: a dehumanized welcome, a particularly painful PCR test, a perfectly sealed sanitary bubble and permanent suspicion. “You have the impression of being considered a dangerous criminal who should be kept away from society, even innocent of any positive test for Covid-19“, relates the journalist accustomed to following sporting events synonymous with sharing. “Beijing 2022, clearly, will not be a party“, he predicts.

SEE ALSO – Beijing 2022: Olympic Games like no other?

5. Calendar, pass and masks

Calendar. On January 20, the government announced a timetable for the gradual lifting of restrictions. February 2: end of compulsory telework, gauges and wearing a mask outdoors. February 16: reopening of nightclubs and reduced protocol in bars, stadiums, cinemas and transport.

Vaccination pass. Since January 24, the vaccination pass is required for people over 16 to go to places of leisure, restaurants and drinking establishments (with the exception of collective catering), fairs, seminars and trade shows. and inter-regional public transport (planes, trains, coaches) unless there is a compelling reason. The health pass remains valid for minors aged 12 to 15 and for access to health establishments and medico-social services. The vaccination pass is activated by proof of complete vaccination or a certificate of recovery stored in the TousAntiCovid application or in paper format.

Wearing a mask is compulsory in closed places subject to the vaccination pass. It is no longer imposed on the outside. The mask is still compulsory in primary schools both outside and inside.

A certificate to travel. Since July 1, 2021, Europeans can travel more easily within the continent thanks to certified proof of vaccination or negative tests gathered in a single document. In digital or paper format. Please note, however, that each country may continue to apply specific rules.

6. 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
  • Wear a mask in public spaces when the distance of two meters cannot be respected
  • 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

7. 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, runny 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, wear a mask and prepare the list of people you could have infected. 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.

See you next week.

SEE ALSO – Covid-19: “I’ve been waiting for this for weeks”, Parisians welcome the lifting of certain health restrictions


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