Covid-19, what you need to know this week: the virus persists

Long Covid, paralyzed China… around the world, the disease persists despite the drop in contamination in France.


We in France tend to forget this Covid, busy as we are with elections, political negotiations and the war on our doorstep. But for three-quarters of people who have been hospitalized, the disease lingers. The symptoms persist and we speak of long covid. In China where the population is poorly vaccinated and the hospital falters, the authorities cling to the zero Covid strategy. Too bad for the population, tested by the confinements, and the world economy, threatened by the paralysis of its supplier. To the United States, we take stock, murderer, of the disease. Covid was the third leading cause of death there last year.

Good reading,

Camille Lestienne, journalist at Figaro

1. Persistence of symptoms

A woman with long Covid is examined at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel. AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

A new British study sheds light on what is commonly known as “long Covid”, namely the persistence or onset of symptoms within three months of infection with Sars-Cov-2, for a period of at least two months. Only one in four patients hospitalized with Covid feel fully recovered a year after contracting the virus, researchers say. Risk factors after hospitalization? Being a woman, being obese and having been placed on life support. The most common symptoms are severe fatigue, muscle aches, shortness of breath and trouble sleeping. But the long Covid does not only affect patients who had to be hospitalized. Some people suffer from persistent sequelae after a mild form of the disease with “a chronic disease“, according to infectious disease specialist Dominique Salmon Céron.

Where is the epidemic in France? The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in France (and not only for Covid) continues to decline slightly, according to figures published on Wednesday by Public Health France. Contaminations are down sharply. The average number of infections over the past seven days is 73,016 compared to 94,565 a week ago.

The numbers to remember

  • 1658 patients in critical care (-9 since the day before)
  • 24.431 hospitalized patients (-272 since the day before)
  • 67.711 new cases detected
  • 147 deaths in 24 hours in hospital (145,579 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)
  • 41 million booster doses administered

Source: Public Health France as of April 27

2. The global economy put to the test by Chinese containment

Many weaving and dyeing factories are located in the Shanghai region. Production delays in this area will affect the entire chain, all over the world.

Victor Gavrilov, director at the consulting firm AlixPartners.

Faced with the Omicron wave, China clings to its zero Covid strategy to the detriment of the country’s population and economy. As the death toll rises in Shanghai, residents confined since the beginning of the month are exasperated by the censorship of a video denouncing the supply conditions and the chaos of quarantine centers. Beijing in turn trembles after a rise in positive cases. The paralysis of several large cities raises fears of serious repercussions on the world economy. “A prolonged slowdown in China would have substantial global fallout”said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. If some bosses hope for a reopening of the country, others do not believe it. “Everyone is terrorized by the Covid and the government knows that the hospitals will not be able to handle the influx of serious cases, says one of them. Its priority is social peace.” In the meantime, after having long come to terms with increasingly blatant restrictions on freedoms, expatriates are packing their bags. The rigidity of the communist state in the face of the Covid will have finished disillusioning executives and young graduates on the Chinese El Dorado. Heading to Dubai.

3. Covid, the third leading cause of death in the United States

More than 415,000 Americans died from Sars-CoV-2 infection between 1er January and December 31, 2021. Infographic Le Figaro

In February, nearly 60% of the American population had contracted Covid since the start of the pandemic, according to a study by the American Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) published on Tuesday. Even Vice President Kamala Harris has been caught up in the virus. Another CDC study revealed a few days earlier reported an even deadlier Covid in 2021 than in 2020. More than 415,000 Americans died after infection with Sars-CoV-2 between 1er January and December 31, 2021, compared to 350,000 the previous year. The virus is the third leading cause of death in the United States for the second consecutive year, after heart disease and cancer.

4. And also

Denmark suspends its vaccination campaign against Covid. CLAUS BECH / AFP

Denmark. The country’s health authorities announced on Tuesday that they were temporarily ending the vast anti-Covid vaccination campaign. A decision justified by the high vaccination coverage and encouraging indicators. While waiting for a probable resumption of injections in the fall, the vaccines remain available for the non-vaccinated who wish them.

South Africa. The country, which has been experiencing a lull in recent months, has entered a new wave of the pandemic, the Center for Innovation and Response to Epidemics (CERI) warned on Tuesday. “The 5th wave has arrived. Take care of yourself“warned the genomics research center on Twitter. In early March, South Africa had experienced a 48-hour period without any Covid-related deaths, a first since 2020.

New Zealand. New Zealand’s Supreme Court has ruled border restrictions the country put in place until last December illegal, finding that the system had deprived some citizens of the right to return home during the pandemic. The case was brought to Wellington High Court in February by an activist group citing the example of a woman prevented from returning to bury her son or another unable to assist her son being treated for cancer .

UK. According to a study devoted to the evolution of the virus in immunocompromised patients, a British patient tested positive for Covid-19 for 505 days (16 months) until his death. This is the longest known case of infection. “Immunocompromised patients with persistent infection have little chance of survival, and new treatment strategies are urgently needed to end their infection.“was alarmed Gaia Nebbia, co-author of the study.

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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