Deconfinement: the warnings of the Scientific Council to avoid a “fourth wave”

While the French are impatiently awaiting the opening of the terraces on May 19, the Scientific Council has proposed to the government several solutions to avoid an epidemic resumption.

Millions of French people are impatiently awaiting the reopening of the terraces on May 19. While the four-step deconfinement was launched last week, the Scientific Council, which was not seized by the executive beforehand, still issued an opinion on the subject: in a 36-page document published Last Thursday, the authors warn the government: even if “ the reopening of social activities is of major importance “,”the next few weeks remain uncertain and at risk of an epidemic resumption“. “In the event of a fourth wave, the exhaustion of health personnel will no longer offer the same treatment capacities, in critical care in particular.», Notably alert the members of the body. To avoid this scenario, they put forward several solutions: accelerating vaccination, strengthening screening measures, setting up a low incidence plateau rather than a high plateau, as well as the study used waters.

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Accelerating the rate of vaccination

To avoid an epidemic resumption and a fourth wave, one of the main solutions proposed by the Scientific Council is to speed up vaccination. Currently, 17,692,900 people have received a first dose according to Covid Tracker. At the current rate, “35 million people could be vaccinated by June 30, 2021, which would achieve a significant level of vaccine immunity“, Which would remain all the same”insufficient for a population immunity estimated at at least 80%“, Judges the scientific body. According to The Parisian , to reach this figure, it would be necessary to go from 400,000 to 500,000 vaccinations per day, “including during spring weekend periods“.

But the authors of the opinion raise some limitations, “due to the gap between the envisaged opening conditions and the level of vaccination of the population that will be reached“:”The mismatch between these two dynamics can expose the population to the spread of variants, which would reduce the benefits of vaccination.“For experts, the difficult period is”between early May and late June“, While a”speed race between variants and vaccination“, Especially in areas where the virus”continues to circulate at a high level“.

Favor a low plateau rather than a high plateau

Since the start of the crisis, we often hear about “peak” and of “tray“. If the first represents the maximum point reached by the curve, the other signifies stagnation: in this precise case, the number of new contaminations does not increase or decrease, compared to the previous days. For the scientific body, “the option of a low shelf is clearly preferable to that of a high shelf“.

During the deconfinement announcement, Emmanuel Macron spoke of the implementation of emergency health brakes, which are based in particular on the incidence rate: if this rate exceeds 400 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a department, it could see its reopening blocked. For scientists, “The fundamental question is that of the level at which we wish to see the incidence of cases stabilize, in a context where elimination is not envisaged in the short term”. They therefore estimate that a low plateau, ie an incidence of less than 50 or 100 maximum, “would make it possible to achieve a sufficient level of vaccination coverage (35 million first-time vaccinated as of June 30, 2021) to calmly consider the relaxation of restrictive measures, and to approach the summer period in the best conditions“.

Reinforcement of screening

To strengthen screening for the Covid-19 virus, the advisory organization puts forward three means: the wider dissemination of self-tests, the strengthening of saliva tests at airports and the use of experiments such as dogs that detect the virus .

Arrived this week in high schools, the self-tests are now accessible to everyone and everywhere in France. In the context of a Test, Trace, Isolate policy, it would be necessary for example to precede “the weekend of the Ascension of a major screening campaign by saliva tests “, Recommends the council, provided that their use”be explained“.

At the same time, the independent organization recommends promoting controls with antigenic or RT-Lamp tests, particularly at international airports, on departure and arrival in addition to RT-PCR tests 48 or 72 hours before departure. She would also like the finalization of real-life experiments for the early detection of Covid-19, in particular with the help of dogs who are trained to identify the scents specific to the presence of the virus.

Wastewater analysis

Since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, researchers have been studying wastewater to determine the level of circulation of the virus. Of the 22,000 wastewater treatment plants spread across the country, there are now 150 where samples are collected and where viruses are analyzed.

For the members of the council, this wastewater turns out to be “be an excellent sentinel of an epidemic recovery»When traffic is low. And this analysis has already proven its worth: after the first containment in May 2020, signs of an epidemic resumption were observed in the wastewater before any other indicator.

The Scientific Council reminds fellow citizens to “be aware of the issues raised by the reopening : Their individual adherence to protective measures during this reopening period is fundamental to moving towards a more peaceful start to the summer.“. “The reduction in collective measures linked to the reopening now places greater responsibility on everyone. The time has not yet come to collectively lower our guard and respect for barrier gestures remains essential. Access to care for the most vulnerable remains a priority», Conclude the experts.

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