Autumn, falling leaves, the cold of the morning… And the return of Covid-19? The lifting of health restrictions in the spring gave the French the impression that the pandemic was over. After two years of wearing a mask, faces have uncovered and summer has brought its share of lightness. Result, the arrival of the new school year, the epidemic no longer worries. Contaminations are however on the rise and an eighth wave is approaching in France.
According to the latest figures from Public Health France, 51,816 new cases were recorded in 24 hours, an increase of 24% in one week. The incidence rate is up 58% over the last 7 days and now peaks at 292 per 100,000 inhabitants. Even more worrying, the effective R is 1.4, which means that a positive person infects more than one other, a sign – if one was needed – that the epidemic has started again. The situation in the hospital is not yet worrying because hospitalizations have “only” increased by 0.9% in 7 days and critical care admissions have even dropped, as have deaths.
The Minister of Health François Braun wanted to be reassuring on Monday September 19, explaining to the microphone of France Inter: “It is too early to say that this is the start of an eighth wave”. On the other hand, he confirmed, “we have been seeing for several days a recovery in the indicators rather on the rise”. The government is, for its part, “on armed vigilance in relation to this eighth wave which, scientists have said, will arrive”. One thing is certain, the Covid-19 does not worry as much as before: transport is full of people without masks, the kiss is back in fashion and social distancing is only an old memory.
Questioned by Planet, Mégane – person at risk and who was very careful during previous waves – is absolutely not worried. “I had the Covid, I have my booster doses and people, anyway, never pay attention. I’m just worried about the elderly. Afterwards there will be a ninth and then a tenth wave… We don’t can’t worry every time”. This young worker, who has returned to a busy social life, is not worried about possible restrictions, but is she right? Just because they’ve been deleted doesn’t mean they can’t come back… The point on what we know for the next few months.
The eighth wave will hit France, but we don’t know when yet. Asked by Ouest-France, epidemiologist Pascal Crépey explains that we can expect “a measured increase until mid-October, a stabilization during the All Saints holidays and then a sharp increase. But there is a lot of unknowns.” Among these unknowns are in particular the last variant identified, baptized BA2.75 and which is starting to be talked about in France. With the local daily, the doctor is also worried about a “conjunction with the flu, after a year without and a weak epidemic in 2021”.
The main concern of caregivers is whether the hospital could hold up against a combined rise in Covid-19 and flu cases. To protect the system, already weakened by two years of pandemic, could the government decide on new restrictions for the winter? For some, it is still too early… But that is not excluded.
Asked by Ouest-France about the possible implementation of restrictions, epidemiologist Pascal Crépey recalls that “binding measures have an expiry date”: “Taking measures too soon would meet with a lack of understanding from the population. It is important to keep cartridges”. Clearly, there is no question of anticipating now, at the risk that the rules set are not respected or not for long enough, but there is also no question of excluding this possibility. In the event of a significant increase in the indicators, the government could issue a reminder about barrier gestures, because the communication campaign has never stopped on this subject. The Haute Autorité de Santé has also recommended a new recall campaign in the face of new variants, initially targeting people at risk and those over 60 years of age.
The mask could also make a comeback, if the situation calls for it. In March 2022, Emmanuel Macron already explained that he could be reintroduced “if things were to deteriorate”, adding: “I have a compass: to protect our compatriots and do it in a proportionate way”. Should we fear confinement during the winter? There is little risk, because the government has repeated several times in recent months that it has other cards to play. The situation would have to be truly catastrophic to come to this…