Covid-19: contamination is rising again in Europe

Covid-19: contamination is rising again in Europe

The resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic, sensitive throughout Europe, was foreseeable, but everyone preferred to look elsewhere. In one week, the number of new cases in France jumped by almost 50%, with 45,700 new infections per day in the period from 12 to 18 June (they were 365,000 at the peak of the epidemic in mid-January).

Relaxation of barrier gestures in companies, in public transport, in places of celebration and leisure, etc .; low adherence to the second booster dose among eligible populations (ie, in France, people with comorbidities and over 60 who received a first booster more than six months ago); weakening, even, over the months, the protection conferred by three doses of vaccine … The virus exploits these faults at will to sneak in and thrive there.

Especially since the latest representatives of the Omicron variant – BA.4 and BA.5 – have acquired evolutionary advantages: greater contagiousness, compared to their predecessor BA.2 (which in turn has already reached record levels of transmissibility); and a new ability to escape the defenses acquired by vaccination or previous variants – even by Omicron itself in its first version, BA.1.

Results: The picture is similar in all European countries. A resurgence of cases, mainly driven by the diffusion of the sub-variants BA.4 and especially BA.5. Without, for the moment, this resurgence of infections which does not translate into a marked increase in hospitalizations and hospital deaths, but in a slight increase. Only Portugal is an exception: first touched by the wave, it already sees it, after two months, begin to decline.

On Tuesday, June 21, the incidence rate reached 477 cases per 100,000 population, up 49% from the previous week, according to the latest data from Public Health France (SpF). This recovery, which began in early June, is observed in all metropolitan areas and for almost all age groups. An infected person infects an average of 1.39 others.

Sub-variant BA.5 is now responsible for more than half of the new infections. From June 12 to 18, 45,697 new cases were confirmed per day, according to the SI-Dep contamination database. The screening rate was 1,993.6 per 100,000 inhabitants (+ 6.2% compared to the previous week) and the positive rate was 23.9% (+ 4.2 points).

Read also: Covid-19: the shadow of the BA.4 and BA.5 variants looms over the summer

As for the number of patients hospitalized in conventional hospitalization and in intensive care, after a period of decline, it is slightly increasing. The ICU bed occupancy rate by Covid-19 positive patients was 17%. Every day there is “More than 500 hospitalizations, of which 60% for Covid-19, about sixty hospitalizations in intensive care and another thirty-eight to forty deaths”summarized Professor Alain Fischer, who chairs the Vaccine Strategy Guidance Council (COSV), during a press conference organized on 21 June by the Ministry of Health.

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