Should we be worried about the return of Covid?

Should we be worried about the return of Covid?

Covid is making a comeback. René, an 81-year-old Parisian, no longer goes out without his gear. As soon as he takes public transport, he puts on his mask and slips a bottle of hydroalcoholic gel into his pocket. A few days ago, he even canceled a visit to his feverish grandson as a precaution, who had not yet had a screening test. René is cautious because Covid has reappeared since the beginning of September.

Two new variants have emerged : Eris, the most widespread, a sub-variant of Omicron; And Pirola, detected for the first time in France at the end of August and under surveillance by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its propensity to mutate. If these two variants prove to be contagious and cause the usual symptoms of the virus (cold, fatigue, sore throat and headache), they however seem to cause few serious forms and a low hospitalization rate for the moment.

France has no longer counted the number of daily cases since last July, but the indicators from the Public Health France agency are trembling in most regions. There were nearly 3,500 consultations with SOS Médecins for suspected Covid and 2,700 people presented to the emergency room for the same reasons between August 28 and September 3. An increase of 22% compared to the previous week. The Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, calls for protection of the most vulnerable, encouraging them to wear a mask in enclosed spaces and recommending the same gesture to anyone suffering from signs of respiratory viral infections. Positive people should stay at home.

Compensate for loss of immunity

While our British neighbors have decided to bring forward their vaccination campaign to mid-September in the face of the situation, it will begin in France on October 17, coupled with that of the flu. People affected by potential serious forms of Covid (aged over 65, patients with comorbidities or pregnant women) are required to take a booster dose. Enough to cause a certain weariness among the population.

“We have experienced more serious things in history,” says Éliane, a dynamic 90-year-old retiree from a small town in the North, who has always been “disciplined” but who, this time, is hesitant to be vaccinated. Health professionals call for responsibility from the population. “Covid is increasing because the population has lost its immunity,” explains Emmanuel Piednoir, infectious disease specialist at Avranches-Granville hospital (Manche) and professor at the University of Caen (Calvados). He considers vaccination to be an important issue for the coming months, particularly in winter. He remembers the alarming situation of the healthcare system last year, saturated in the face of a triple epidemic of coronavirus, flu and bronchiolitis.

Although there is no reason to worry at the moment, it is nevertheless better to anticipate to avoid seeing hospitals overwhelmed again.

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