Science

A few hours before Christmas, the Covid-19 plays the spoiler again – Sciences et Avenir

A few hours before Christmas Eve, Covid-19 is the spoiler again. A dazzling variant of Omicron and the record number of contaminations are pushing the government to accelerate the booster program.

On Thursday the threshold of 90,000 daily cases was crossed, with 91,608 confirmed cases. The previous record, 86,852 cases, dates back to early November 2020, at the peak of the second wave.

Before reuniting with loved ones for Christmas, the French have put themselves to the test en masse in recent days: the number of tests carried out last week also hit a record, with more than 6.2 million.

Because one thing is certain: the epidemic will not be on vacation during the holidays. Booming for several weeks, it has now taken on the face of the Omicron variant, the spread of which is dazzling.

The government hopes that it will soon become a majority in the country, between Christmas and New Years.

If several studies show that the efficacy of vaccines is markedly reduced with only two doses against this variant, a booster dose would allow to increase the level of protection. The High Health Authority (HAS) recommended on Friday that the booster dose can be carried out after three months for the eligible population.

Pending examination of this opinion, the Ministry of Health then announced that the deadline would be shortened to 4 months from now and not from January 3 as originally planned.

So far it has been 5 months since the previous injection.

With this step to 4 months, 40 million people are eligible as of today for their booster dose, of which 22 million have already done so, the ministry said.

In their opinion, the Haute Autorité de santé now also recommends the administration of a booster dose in young people aged 12 to 17 years with immunodeficiency or severe risk comorbidity.

– Paralysis –

Although Omicron is not causing waves of hospitalizations at the moment, its possible repercussions are worrying, given its extreme contagion.

“The realistic scenario is that by mid-January we will be at 200,000 contaminations per day,” infectious disease specialist Benjamin Davido estimated at CNews on Friday.

With the risk, mentioned on Thursday by the Scientific Council, of a stoppage of the company due to an increase in work stoppages and “absences”.

“We will have to think of a backup plan” for the hospital, Benjamin Davido said.

Will it be necessary to eliminate the notion of “contact case”, shorten the duration of isolation or even abandon testing? These questions could quickly arise in the face of a variant that spreads like a wildfire.

New modalities could be decided “at the beginning of next week,” said Health Minister Olivier Véran on Thursday, highlighting that the government will take care of “avoiding any phenomenon of paralysis in the country.”

Because “if they evict (all positive cases and contact cases) in the school system, the police, the hospital, (the company) will be paralyzed,” said Gilles Pialoux, head of the service, on Friday. From infectious diseases. from Tenon Hospital on BFMTV.

Meanwhile, the bill that transforms the health pass into a vaccination pass will be examined in a commission of the National Assembly on Wednesday and is due to take effect on January 15.

It will be presented on Monday during an extraordinary Council of Ministers.

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