Covid-19, bronchiolitis, flu… Should we fear a “triple epidemic” this winter?

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A tense winter. No one seems to be interested in Covid-19 since the spring and the end of all restrictions related to the circulation of the virus. After a summer without a mask, the French have got into the habit of going out with their faces uncovered and they have continued to do so since the start of the school year, despite the various warnings. The trajectory of the epidemic seems to have proved them right since after reaching its peak in the middle of October, the eighth wave continues to decline in France.

According to the latest figures from Public Health France, the number of new cases is 27,000 this Thursday, November 10 and the national incidence rate is 277 per 100,000 inhabitants. Hospitalizations are weakening (-23% in 7 days to November 6), as are critical care admissions (-24% in 7 days during the same period) As regards deaths, the Public Health Agency has recorded some 385 at the same time, a decrease of 10%. While these data are encouraging, this does not mean that the country is off the hook.

Indeed, winter has not even started yet and autumn has been rather mild in terms of temperatures, with an unusually warm month of October. An element that is important, since the coronavirus flourishes especially when it is cold. The fall of the thermometer in the coming weeks could therefore change the situation.

In addition to the unpredictable weather, other elements worry the health authorities, in particular the circulation of two other winter diseases, the flu and bronchiolitis. The latter – which mainly affects young children and infants – is at an all-time high and the emergency room is already under strain. As for the flu, it is starting to circulate at a higher level in around ten departments and, after two years of being transmitted quietly, it could be much more important this year.

Some now fear a triple epidemic this winter and the combined circulation of these different viruses in the coldest months. Quoted by 20 Minutes, the Academy of Medicine explains that between “the prospect of an early seasonal flu epidemic [which] is becoming clearer in mainland France”, “bronchiolitis in children (…) passed into an epidemic phase on the whole territory” and the risks of co-infection “exposing hospital services to the risk of saturation”, it is necessary to resume good habits. In other words, it would be good to wear the mask again, as recommended by the health authorities.

In these departments, the bronchiolitis virus is already circulating actively and the incidence rate of Covid-19 remains at a high level. Caution is therefore recommended. Check which ones below.