JHow far will the curve of Covid-19 cases climb? The record was broken at Christmas, with more than 104,000 cases detected on the day of December 25 alone, unheard of since the start of the epidemic. On average, there are 68,289 new cases per day. That’s 20,000 more than in the previous record, during the peak of the second wave in early November 2020. And it does not seem to be going to stop there.
The number of cases explodes (+ 30% in a week), to such an extent that the curve increases almost vertically. We do, of course, a lot of tests (a million per day on average), but the positivity rate is also progressing. Nearly 8% of tests come back positive, against 6.2% at the start of the month.
The hospital under pressure
This fifth dazzling wave, carried in part by the surge of the Omicron variant, much more contagious and probably already in the majority in some departments, affects especially the youngest. The incidence rate reached 1,416.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week among 20-29 year olds (+ 94% in one week) and 1,154.8 among 30-39 year olds (+ 42%), against 712 , 2 on average. Conversely, it is only 170.8 among 80-89 year olds. Holiday family meals could turn the tide in the days to come.
For the moment, the hospital is not yet overwhelmed at the level of previous waves, although the number of cases is much higher. Almost 3,300 Covid-19 patients are still in intensive care. In the first wave, we had climbed to over 7,000.
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Reassuring point: a British study suggests that the risk of hospitalization with Omicron could be reduced by 50% to 70% compared to the Delta variant. Especially since three quarters of French people are vaccinated, and more than 20 million have already received their booster dose. This may explain that the beds fill up less quickly than in previous waves, but does not save the hospital. If the number of cases continues to break records, the number of patients developing severe forms and ending up in intensive care will continue to increase. Hospitals are already in tension: some have activated their white plan, reopening beds and deprogramming less urgent operations.
The executive is looking for the right answer to adapt to break the wave and limit the damage without putting the country under cover again. Emmanuel Macron is meeting a health defense council on Monday, December 27 at the end of the afternoon, where new decisions could be taken. A bill transforming the health pass into a vaccine pass will also be studied in the Council of Ministers on Monday before being debated in Parliament, but it will not come into force before, at best, mid-January.