Did the government lift the restrictions too soon?

The French have taken off their masks and cleaned up their vaccination passes almost everywhere, but the Covid-19 epidemic is not over yet. The fifth wave had begun to decline, but the return to the upside began in early March. The resumption of this epidemic in France revives criticism of the government’s lifting of health measures, which is considered premature by many epidemiologists and infectious scientists.

New cases are increasing

Since early March, the average number of new cases calculated in a week has begun to increase again. The average daily number on Sunday was 89,002, which was 65,251 a week ago. The recovery of this epidemic can also be seen in schools after winter vacation. On Friday, 3,184 classes were closed, but a week ago, 2,693 classes were closed.

As a result of the resumption of this epidemic, hospitalizations are no longer declining. On Sunday, March 20, a French hospital generated an average of 1,068 new Covid-19-positive cases per day per week. The resurgence of this epidemic has been observed in other European countries, such as the United Kingdom, for several weeks.

This rebound can be explained, among other things, by the superiority of the Omicron BA.2 subvariant. It is about 30% more contagious than its predecessor, BA.1, as pointed out by infectious disease expert Yazdan Yazdanpanah. However, according to the latest epidemiological points released by the French Public Health on March 17, this subvariant now accounts for 57% of pollution.

Another explanation is that it is required on the vaccine side. As Reminder, a statistics service of the Ministry of Social Affairs, recalls, the protective effect of reminders is eroded in the elderly after 3 months. However, according to Public Health France, more than 10% of people over the age of 80 are not vaccinated. Some areas, such as Corsica (67% of the population have a complete vaccination schedule) and Guyana (30%), are also less vaccinated than average.

The government is currently recommending a second booster dose for people over the age of 80. To date, 75% of people over the age of 80 have received their first booster shot. Haute Autorité desanté (HAS) estimated on Friday that it should go further than the government and provide a fourth vaccination to people over the age of 65. “More at risk”..

Barrier gestures are not very respected

Many experts also point out the mitigation of barrier gestures. Some French who were fed up with the two-year pandemic did not wait for the mask to end and the vaccination to be suspended on March 14 to reduce their vigilance against the virus. “The French aren’t paying too much attention to the messages that the government is sending with the restrictions lifted, because everything is doing very well, even though it’s not really the case.”Epidemiologist Catherine Hill lamented Express..

“Barrier measures, wearing masks, and vaccination pass releases were too early.Also, in a column of the weekly magazine, I believe in the epidemiologist Eve Buisson. In people’s minds, when it’s far from the incident, it means the epidemic is over, so we should have waited until May. “

France is not an isolated case. “European countries are seeing the first impact of casualness in their policies when it comes to managing pandemics.”Blame the epidemiologist Antoine Hula Hall On twitter.. In the face of increased pollution, Austria has decided to re-impose wearing masks indoors.

“We need to respond quickly to this virus. We don’t have to wait for the virus to move forward. We have landed. We are landing from wave to wave. Our goal today is , You don’t lose anything. “

Anne-Claude Clemu, Infectious Disease Specialist

on franceinfo

The government defends that decision

By removing most restrictions, the government “I made the right decision”Guaranteeed to Olivier Véran, Minister of Health, in Amfo, France. “I knew there was a risk of rebound.”He relativized and refused to see “Correlation” Between the lifting of restrictions and the increase in the number of new cases. The Minister of Health quoted the examples of Germany and Italy. “I’m experiencing an epidemic rebound while maintaining a health pass and sometimes a vaccination pass.” When “They keep wearing masks in a closed place.”..

Olivier Véran also explained that his management of the epidemic is based on. “Model of Pasteur Institute”..These models say that “It will rise until the end of March, at risk of reaching 120,000 to 150,000 pollution per day, after which it is expected to decrease.”He defended. However, these models are based on Potential prediction “Too optimistic”As stated in a study posted online by Institut Pasteur.

There is “There is no place” He still has to take steps to curb the epidemic Parisian..The minister said again he expected “See the pollution increase until the end of March, before it decreases in April.”.. Olivier Véran had the opportunity to challenge the idea that lifting restrictions was a gesture during the presidential election.

“If we continued to take action, some would blame the election operations to maintain a level of fear that would help the president. When we lift them, the same people say it’s an election. Tell us that. “

Olivier Véran, Minister of Health

At “Parisian”

The future schedule for executives is clear: “If you find that the incidence increases between the ages of 65 and 80 and the rebound lasts for 3-4 weeks instead of 2 weeks, ask again.” Olivier Véran is also a government and health official “Encourage vulnerable people to continue wearing masks”..