LETTERS. Covid-19: where is the epidemic in France and in your department?

Hospitals still have just over 20,000 patients (© Jean-Paul BARBIER / La Presse de la Manche)

to 5th wave of the Covid-19 epidemic seems to be behind us. For a few weeks, the health situation is improving on all fronts. This is evidenced by the lifting, on Monday 16 May 2022, of the wearing of the mask in transport, announced by Olivier Véran, Minister of Health, on Wednesday 11.

We take stock at the national level and in the departments.

36,000 positive cases

with just over 36,000 positive cases per day on averagewe find the levels we had known just before the explosion of the Omicron wave in early December 2021. The peak at the end of January 2021, with an average of 360,000 contaminations, is far behind.

Mathematically, the incidence rate continues its decline. The latest figures from Public Health France show just over 400 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Otherwise, however, in the alert range that the Minister of Health had set out in February (between 300 and 500 per 100,000).

10 departments below the alert threshold

Location, the situation stabilizes just about everywhere in France. Only five departments are above 500 per 100,000 (Finistère, Morbihan, Somme, Ardennes and Cher).

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The departmental specificities that had been recorded at the end of March, especially with the return to school earlier in zone B (the whole northern arc), combined with still very cold temperatures, have dissipated.

There are even a dozen departments below the alert threshold (300 per 100,000): Val-de-Marne, Essonne, Charente, Gironde, Val-d’Oise, Hauts-de-Seine, Yvelines, Paris, Charente-Maritime, Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne and Haute-Vienne .

The R0 continues to decline

Furthermore, this indicator must be combined with the actual reproduction rate, which must use R0 (the number of people who may be infected may be contaminated).

At the beginning of May, it is 0.68 (against 1.79 at the end of January) and continues to decline. As the government points out, “if the effective R is greater than 1, the epidemic develops, if it is less than 1, the epidemic recedes.”

Improvement in hospitals

In terms of health facilities, the situation is also going in the right direction. The names of hospitalized persons for Covid continues to decline since late April. However, it remains at a high level, with more than 20,000 patients, far from the hollows that were known, as last fall (less than 6,500 patients at the lowest).

In the resuscitation services, we are also witnessing a downturn, however timid. There are still 1,329 patients, below the fixed alert threshold by Olivier Véran (1,500).

In almost all regions, the occupancy rate (proportion of patients currently in intensive care, compared to the number of beds) decreased, to 26.28%. By comparison, this figure was 48% in early March.

Still many deaths

But the epidemic continues to kill. At the hospital, we count 100 deaths per day on average, a stable figure since early March.

The Minister of Health recalled the possibility of a “fall vaccine recall in the event of a wave ever emerging”. The situation in South Africa, which is experiencing an explosion of cases with the emergence of two new sub-variants of Omicron, could quite reach us.

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