Covid-19, what you need to know this week: D-4 before the end of the restrictions


In a few days, on March 14, the French will return to an almost normal life. Unsheathing your QR code will no longer be necessary to go to the cinema or to a restaurant and the mask can remain well packed in the bottom of your pocket except in transport. A relief for all, even if vigilance is still required in the face of a drop in epidemic indicators which is marking time in France and Europe. According to the WHO and the UN, the epidemic is far from over. On a global scale, disparities in vaccination coverage are still very large between rich and poor countries. This is a “recipe for more variants, more confinements and more grief and sacrifice in each country“, estimated the secretary general of the UN.

Good reading,

Camille Lestienne, journalist at Figaro.

1. On March 14, the end (or almost) of the restrictions

The gymnastics of wearing a mask, soon a bad memory? LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

End of pass. Next Monday, almost all restrictions will be lifted in France. Faced with the sharp decline in epidemic indicators, Emmanuel Macron decided last week to end the vaccination pass on March 14, less than two months after its adoption on January 24. However, it will still be required for access to medical establishments. “The beginning of the end of the tunnel”, for restaurateurs who are still suffering, in particular because of teleworking.

Farewell to the mask. Also on March 14, the health protocol will be lifted in companies, Labor Minister Élisabeth Borne announced on Tuesday. It is the end of the rules of distance – but not of the gestures of hygiene, washing of the hands, cleaning of surfaces and ventilation – and especially of the wearing of the compulsory mask. A relief for employees, eager to throw down this emblematic object of health constraints. On this date, the mask can still be removed in stores and shopping centers as well as at the indoor school for students and teachers. It will always be required on public transport.

2. Where is the epidemic?

Weekly incidence rate of Covid-19 per 100,000 people. Moving average over 7 days. Figure Data

The Omicron wave seems to have passed. Almost all the indicators are green, but beware, however, of a slight recovery marked in recent days in France. On Wednesday, 69,190 new cases were reported, up 20% from last week. The rebound could be linked to the resumption of school and air pollution. Will it have an influence on hospitalizations? It all depends on the escape capacity of the BA.2 sub-variant, according to virologist Antoine Flahault. Moreover, should we be afraid of the new variant “Deltacron”, this recombined version of Delta and Omicron which circulates in the country? A dozen cases have been detected by Public Health France. “We are very far from the worst-case scenario”judges a virologist interviewed by Le Figaro. “With past contamination and vaccination rates, Deltacron will not have the effect of a new virus in the body.»

The figures to remember in France

  • 1952 patients in critical care (-74 since the day before)
  • 21.509 hospitalized patients (-390 since the day before)
  • 69.190 new cases detected
  • 136 deaths in 24 hours in hospital (139,773 dead since the start of the epidemic in hospitals and nursing homes)

Source: Public Health France as of March 9

3. Unequal access to the vaccine

Despite the Covax program, the distribution of vaccines around the world is uneven. Here the arrival of a batch of vaccines in Sudan. EBRAHIM HAMID / AFP

In the world. If the epidemic is undoubtedly receding, can we claim victory? With 6 million deaths recorded worldwide, “this pandemic is far from over and it won’t be over anywhere if it isn’t over everywhere“Said the head of the WHO on Wednesday. An opinion shared by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who denounced that same day an unfair and scandalous vaccination. “Manufacturers produce 1.5 billion doses a month, but nearly three billion people are still waiting for their first vaccine“, insurgent the head of the UN, evoking a”failure“due to”policy and budget decisions that prioritize the health of people in rich countries over the health of people in poor countries“. Indeed, on a global scale, vaccination coverage is totally disparate and very far from the target set by the WHO of 70% vaccinated by mid-2022. In Nigeria, for example, the vaccination campaign is slipping. “It’s the least of the worries of the people here, who are mainly worried about malaria or infant mortality. says the director of a health center.

In France. In France too, the vaccination campaign is marked by strong inequalities. “The vaccination rate varies according to the level of diploma, the socio-professional category or the level of income“, sums up a study by Drees. Significant differences also appear according to the origin of the individuals or their place of residence. Lessons to be learned to improve the process of “going towards” the vaccine strategy.

Vaccination figures in France

  • 54.2 million people received a first dose (80.5% of the population).
  • 53.3 million of French people have a complete vaccination schedule (79.9% of the population).
  • 30.2 million booster doses administered.

Source: Ministry of Health as of February 23

4. The quote

We now have the most effective booster vaccine, valid regardless of the vaccine injected in the primary vaccination and which can be stored in a refrigerator.

Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi.

In a long interview with Figaro , the director general of Sanofi, Paul Hudson, returns to the anti-Covid vaccine from the French laboratory and responds to criticism of its late arrival. As the epidemic draws to a close, the pharmaceutical group is counting on the success of its product as a booster vaccine and on the development of a messenger RNA vaccine against influenza. “We are ready to invent messenger RNA vaccines “2.0.”, without side effects and with a long duration of protection.n, assures Paul Hudson. By 2024-2025, Sanofi could be the big winner of messenger RNA, and the first to have an effective flu vaccine based on this technology.»

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
  • 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

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, 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 those who have not been vaccinated 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: Elisabeth Borne announces the end of the company health protocol on March 14


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