Coronavirus: is a third wave really being prepared in France?

    Coronavirus: is a third wave really being prepared in France?

    The third wave of coronavirus in France, fact or fiction? On Christmas eve, several infectious diseases specialists are already raising this hypothesis for the start of 2021, when France is barely deconfining. What is it really ?

    From December 8, the French Hospital Federation (FHF) warns of the risks of a third wave. According to its projections, this third wave is already in the background of the evolution of the curves. This third wave is neither “virtual” neither one “distant perspective” assures the president of the FHF, Frédéric Valletoux. Less than two weeks later, she reiterates her warnings: a study by the FHF and the Nancy CHRU published on December 20 in the JDD points to a risk of a third hospital wave from January 7.

    It is quite possible that we will have a third wave in early January

    Guest of France Bleu Orléans this Tuesday morning, Thierry Prazuck, head of the infectious diseases department at the Orléans hospital, believes that the risk of the third wave of the coronavirus epidemic after the end of the year celebrations is real : “It is quite possible that we will have a third wave in early January or mid-January, yes, we expect it, we are preparing for it”, he says. “The fear of a third wave is very present”, confirms Pierre Pribile, director of ARS Bourgogne-Franche-Comté on franceinfo.

    The worst is in front of us, we know it, we see it

    “The worst is ahead of us, we know it, we see it, estimates this Monday on franceinfo Professor Djillali Annane, head of the intensive care unit of the Raymond Poincaré hospital in Garches. The mixing and circulation of people will increase (…) with Christmas and this will help amplify the circulation of the virus. There is nothing to suggest that the situation will improve, many suggest that it will get worse. “

    In the Great East, where the incidence rate has jumped for a few days, the mayor of Reims Arnaud Robinet (LR) is proposing a reconfinement at the territorial or national level from December 25, on France Bleu Champagne-Ardenne. “The neighboring countries of France are currently reconfining which proves that there is no miracle solution “, he believes.

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    What do the curves really say?

    “At the national level, we cannot say that we are seeing a rebound” of the epidemic currently, slice Martin Blachier, epidemiologist specializing in public health. Certainly, “the number of positive cases is increasing, but we are doing a lot of tests so this data is quite unreliable”, believes Martin Blachier. And indeed, some 2.35 million tests were performed last week – a increase of more than 50% In a week, “probably linked to the approach of the end of year celebrations”, indicated this Thursday the Drees, the statistical service of the social ministries. The previous week, 1.4 million tests (PCR and antigens) had been performed.

    According to the epidemiologist, the other curves are stable: emergency room admissions, new hospitalizations, etc. There is even a “slight decrease” the positivity rate, probably due again to the fact that a lot of people get tested before the holidays, the “all comers”, when usually it is mainly people who assume they have been exposed to the virus who do so. The positivity rate, which measures the percentage of people positive for Covid-19 out of all those tested, was 4.4% on Tuesday against 4.7% the day before, indicates Public Health France (SpF).

    Nationally, we can’t say we’re seeing a rebound

    Certainly, “region by region”, “some regions” are more “dynamic than others “, he continues. The Grand Est, in particular. Public Health France (SpF) notes an excess of mortality “very high” in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. But “on a national level, we cannot speak of accentuation”. That being said, if SpF does indeed note a “maintenance” of the number of hospitalizations nationwide, this is a “at high level”. So at risk for the hospital system in the event of a rebound.

    Will the Holidays cause a rebound?

    As for the possibility that the holiday season will spark a new wave, the idea is appealing, but “in reality nobody knows anything”, estimates epidemiologist Martin Blachier. “There has been no serious work on the impact of the holidays, no math. Everyone is speaking without modeling work, he asserts. On does not know the behavior of people, the mixing that there will be, the barrier measures that people will respect “. It is precisely these barrier gestures that interest the epidemiologist: “Either we relax and there will be a third wave, or we hold on”.

    In the United States, which still recorded 3,254 new deaths on Wednesday, health officials actually feared this outbreak following the big thanksgiving family celebration, on November 26, when millions of Americans had traveled to join their loved ones. “We really need to respect barrier gestures inside houses” at Christmas, the epidemiologist Bruno Hoen warned on franceinfo a few days ago. “If we base ourselves on the observations made after Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada, and given the current level of circulation of the virus in France, we are obliged to fear it (a third rebound, editor’s note).

    “The examples of our American and Canadian cousins ​​clearly show that the family reunions that take place on Thanksgiving, at different times in these two countries, have each time been followed by the increase in the number of cases within 10 to 15 days. which followed the family reunification. And given the current level of circulation of the virus in France, we are obliged to fear that we will see an increase in viral circulation after the holidays “, he believes.

    Note however, according to his colleague Martin Blachier: during this holiday period, if there is indeed more mixing between friends and family, “people are not going to work”. “Now, how are homes contaminated with each other? Probably through work”, he analyzes.

    What about the new strain of Covid-19?

    Emma Hodcroft, epidemiologist at the University of Bern, is cautious about a “70% higher contagiousness” of the novel strain of coronavirus, as early estimates may be revised and “that we do not know much about how this figure came out”, she says.

    “We know that this strain is roaming the south-east of the United Kingdom and we know that there is an epidemic recovery in this area. We associate the two, but it is possible that the recovery is not due to this strain “, recalls Martin Blachier.

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