Covid-19: four questions you ask yourself about the fifth wave in France

Towards new sanitary measures? While the fifth wave “begins with an explosion,” as government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Sunday, the government is working on new measures to stem the rebound in the epidemic. With more than 30,000 contaminations registered on Tuesday, a level not reached since August, the government is on alert. A new Health Defense Council will be held on Wednesday at the Elysee Palace. For the executive, the question is whether this rebound in Covid cases can, as in previous waves, saturate hospitalization services.

For now, vaccination helps prevent congestion in hospitals. But for how long ? Some 8,338 people were hospitalized on Monday, including 1,406 in intensive care, up from 6,500 and 1,000 respectively a month ago. “The vaccine will not be enough,” warned the president of the Scientific Council, infectious disease specialist Jean-François Delfraissy. Faced with this 5th wave, what tools does the government have at its disposal? Overview.

Towards a third dose for everyone?

The option of opening a third dose to the entire adult population is on the government table, according to BFMTV. For now, only people over 65 or seriously ill are eligible. For people ages 50 to 64, the retreat will be offered starting December 1. Since the last speech by Emmanuel Macron, on November 9, the health pass for those over 65 years of age is conditional on this third dose. This mechanism will be activated as of December 15. For the rest of the population, the government has not yet decided on the question of integrating the third dose in the health pass.

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The two bodies that advise the government on its health policy, the Scientific Council and the Council for the Orientation of the Vaccine Strategy (COSV), have already spoken in favor of a vaccination booster for all, six months later, the second dose. The head of state himself, during a trip to the North on Friday, had hinted at this possibility. “I would not be surprised if little by little we are progressing towards booster vaccines for all adults who have been vaccinated, that is the meaning of history,” the President declared then.

Wearing a generalized outer mask?

The rule in force is still individual freedom. But with the increase in pollution in some departments, the prefects have already received orders that make the mask mandatory abroad, in some meeting places, such as markets. Thus in Ardèche, the most affected department in France, with 380 registered cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to figures published on Friday. Almost thirty departments are already affected by the obligation to wear a mask in certain outdoor places.

Criticized during the previous waves for his handling of the epidemic too centralized, the executive intends to leave the couple “mayor-prefect”, in the expression of Prime Minister Jean Castex, the care to impose or not the use of the mask. in heavily frequented places. For the ski resorts, the government spokesman confirmed this Sunday the health protocol detailed by the Prime Minister on November 6. That is, the health pass and the use of a mask in the queues of the required ski lifts, if the incidence rate, at the national level, exceeds 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

And what about telecommuting?

The government’s message should be the same as in recent months: encourage employees to telecommute a few days a week. The measure is also recommended by the Scientific Council. Its effectiveness in limiting pollution has been proven by several scientific studies. However, the effects of working at home on the well-being of employees have also been documented: after several months of lockdown, the majority of employees are therefore in favor of returning to the office.

Therefore, the executive does not plan to change the rules. “The government has not planned to change the health protocol in force at the company, which is demanding,” Labor Minister Élisabeth Borne said in the Opinion last Thursday.

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A possible return of the curfew or the lockdown?

At the moment, several sources of the interviewed executive rule out the use of a new curfew, or lockdown. “There is absolutely no lockdown that is planned today, neither near nor far,” Gabriel Attal said, on November 16, into the France Inter microphone. As a reminder, in October 2020, the day before the second lockdown, nearly 50,000 cases of contamination were recorded daily. And the vaccination campaign had not yet started.

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Frédéric Filloux is a columnist for L'Express and editor of Monday Note.Frédéric Filloux

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Stefan barenskyStefan barensky


Rama Yade, Vice President of the Radical Party (PR), March 10, 2012.By Sylvain Fort



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