Covid-19: « We must put in place a curfew before New Year’s Eve », pleads epidemiologist William Dab


The former director general of health, interviewed by the Sunday Newspaper, is also positioning itself in favor of a staggered start to the school year.

While the symbolic bar of 100,000 cases of Covid-19 detected daily in France was exceeded on Saturday, Christmas Day, several scientists are calling for the reinstatement of restrictive measures to stem the proliferation of the epidemic and break the Omicron wave.

Among them, the epidemiologist and former director general of health William Dab, who pleads in an interview with the Sunday Newspaper (JDD) for a return of the curfew and a postponement of the start of the school year. « Vittoria Colizza’s modeling work at Inserm has shown the effectiveness of the curfew. This is one of the tools to put in place right away, before New Year’s Eve, he assures. Teleworking must be stepped up, gauges set up for gatherings, closed places where no masks are worn, such as restaurants and cafes, major sources of clusters with such a variant.»

1,000 hospitalizations per day at the beginning of January, including 250 in critical care

While the Omicron variant is particularly contagious, it would however be less prone to severe forms, such as the Delta variant, for example. « It is very difficult to determine if this lower severity of cases is due to the fact that there is better immunity from vaccination or previous infections than in previous waves, or if it is the result of intrinsic virulence. from Omicron « , underlined Monday at Webrema Dr Wassila Jassat, from NICD, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases in South Africa.

SEE ALSO – Covid-19: France knows « the worst numbers since the start of the pandemic« , According to Olivier Véran

William Dab, however, fears a saturation of emergency and resuscitation services in the coming weeks. “According to the projections of the Institut Pasteur, a plausible scenario places us at the beginning of January at 1000 hospitalizations per day, including 250 in critical care. We would have 10,000 hospitalized patients and 3,500 in critical care. However, the situation in the establishments is already very fragile, due to a lack of personnel. In addition to holidays, there is a very high absenteeism: contaminated caregivers, contact cases, those who look after their children or many of whom have gone to work in vaccination centers where salaries are more advantageous. « 

« Better to hit hard, very early, not long »

And if the scientific council fears « hundreds of thousands of cases » in January and a disorganization of society, William Dab fears a complete blockage of the country. « We can no longer stop the virus. We can just spread the peak by reducing the isolation time of positive cases and contacts, release the control of viral circulation to prevent the country from collapsing.»

The scientist criticizes the government which, according to him, is slow to act: « this has been a constant since the start of the epidemic! At the beginning of December, I was found to be alarmist when I mentioned 80,000 new cases per day at the end of the month… We are beyond that! […] Better to hit hard, very early, not for long, like Portugal or the Netherlands do. Now that the tsunami is here, we will be forced to take longer measures, at a higher economic and psychological cost.», He believes.

In addition to the reestablishment of a curfew on a national scale, the scientist is positioned in favor of a postponement of the start of the school year. « With telecommuting, this can have an impact. The Minister of National Education must stop his unacceptable negationism: yes, children are contaminated at school. Jean-Michel Blanquer refuses to close the establishments but is unable to secure the classes. However, this virus is not without consequences for the youngest: hospitalizations, long Covid. And this is preventable!»

« The vaccine is a major weapon, but alone, it will not overcome Omicron »

Notwithstanding a « current French effort […] remarkable« With regard to the vaccination and the booster dose, William Dab believes that we cannot »bet everything on it.« It would even be »dangerous » from « let believe that the vaccination will prevent us from being overwhelmed« , As the government would be doing, according to him. « This demobilized the French on hygiene and barrier gestures», He believes.

Regarding the vaccination pass, the epidemiologist doubts « its effectiveness, beyond the small fringe of wait-and-seeker who are starting to get vaccinated« . According to him, “The 5 to 10% antivax will not budge.»

SEE ALSO – Covid-19: after Spain, Italy restores the wearing of compulsory masks outside

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