Covid-19, what you need to know this week: don’t panic

Despite the increase in contamination, the impact on the hospital remains under control. French people positive for Covid will be able to vote.


It is undeniable, the covid case continue to increase but should we be worried? So far, hospital indicators are far from panicking even if doubt persists over the coming months when a new variant could still play spoilsport. In the meantime, the French are savoring life without a mask and people positive for Covid on April 10 or 24 are guaranteed to have the opportunity to vote. Far from here, Shanghai, the atmosphere is much more electric in a city that had to resolve to containment. As for the laboratories Moderna and BioNTech, big winners of the health crisis, they are preparing for the aftermath of Covid.

Good reading,

Camille Lestienne, journalist at Figaro.

1. Rise in cases but no impediment to the right to vote

Covid-positive people will be able to go to the polling stations on April 10 and 24, said Gabriel Attal at the end of the Council of Ministers. LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

Where is the epidemic? With nearly 130,000 new daily cases on average over seven days, the Covid is “far from ancient historyreminds us of the Sciences department of Figaro. “In fact, the epidemic is resuming, driven by a relaxation of barrier measures”, but also by an even more contagious BA.2 subvariant of Omicron, notes epidemiologist Mircea Sofonea. A resurgence of cases particularly visible in schools where the benches are more and more sparse. At the hospital, on the other hand, do not panic: the increase in admissions is under control and should be contained. Doubt persists, however, as to the next few months when the emergence of a new variant is still possible.

The figures to remember in France

  • 1546 patients in critical care (+8 since the day before)
  • 21.688 hospitalized patients (+388 since the day before)
  • 169.024 new cases detected (compared to 145,560 a week ago)
  • 132 deaths in 24 hours in hospital (142,134 dead since the start of the epidemic in hospitals and nursing homes)

Source: Public Health France as of March 30

Vote anyway. Despite the rebound of the epidemic, the French quickly returned to life before, easily putting away masks and hydroalcoholic gel. “It’s so good to see the faces!“, rejoices a young man near the Figaro. Others are more nuanced:In bars, for example, I think directly of possible contamination. It always comes back in a corner of the head“, confides a teacher who is also happy to rediscover the faces of her students. And for the presidential election on April 10 and 24, what will be the rules? The mask will be strongly recommended for positive French people but they will be able to go to their polling station. “There can be no hindranceto the right to vote, underlined Gabriel Attal on Wednesday. However, the health protocol provides for regular ventilation of the premises and frequent cleaning of the equipment. Surgical masks will be provided to assessors, as well as FFP2 masks for fragile people.

2. Alternate confinement in Shanghai

Barricades are erected in confined Shanghai. ALY SONG / REUTERS

China, still plagued by a dramatic rise in Covid cases due to Omicron, is attempting alternate containment. It is the choice of the city of Shanghai, the economic showcase of the country and which had nevertheless sworn not to confine. The atmosphere there is no less electric, reports the correspondent of the Figaro, Sébastien Falletti, between fights in the markets when shopping for food and the weariness of expatriates. Since Monday, the inhabitants of the eastern district have been confined and tested en masse, it will be the turn of those in the western district from Friday and for five days. Local authorities are under pressure, as President Xi Jinping reaffirmed the zero Covid policy on March 17, unlike the rest of the planet.

3. The quote

The virus is less severe and the most fragile are vaccinated: now is the time to come to your senses and get out of the collective hysteria.

Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and health columnist.

There is no proof of causality between the relaxation of measures and the increase in cases. Temporal correlation does not mean cause and effect relationship“says Figaro Vox, Gérald Kierzek, doctor, health columnist and medical director of Doctissimo. The emergency doctor, classified since the pandemic in the clan of “reassuring”, advocates a change of paradigm and a major reform of the healthcare system. He is “urgent“, he asserts”to consider that the circulation of the virus in the general population does not pose any problems provided that protective measures are targeted for the elderly and/or fragile“. For him, the next president will have the difficult task of “to attack the roots of the evil, namely the failure of the prevention policy in France (better aging, in better health and with a diet strengthening the immune system) and the impoverishment of our health system, hospital in particular“.

4. Wasted vaccine doses

Expired doses of AstraZeneca vaccine had to be discarded. AJENG DINAR ULFIANA / REUTERS

The Directorate General of Health (DGS) has confirmed that 218,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines have been discarded since the start of the vaccination campaign in France due to an expired date. The Swedish-British serum is no longer delivered to France at all, but doses have also been incinerated in countries benefiting from the Covax system. Worldwide, 168 million doses of Pfizer were also thrown away, says The world in an investigation. As for the biotechs Moderna and BioNTech, they are undoubtedly the big winners of the health crisis. The time has come for them to prepare for the sequel, by developing one or more products that can take over from the Covid vaccine in the coming years.

Vaccination figures in France

  • 54.3 million people received a first dose (80.5% of the population).
  • 53.3 million of French people have a complete vaccination schedule (79.1% of the population).
  • 39.5 million booster doses administered.

Source: Ministry of Health as of March 30

5. Mask and pass

Since March 14, the 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.

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
  • 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 out 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 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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