France has never experienced such a low level of contamination since the summer of 2020. According to the Covid tracker site, an average of 4,573 positive cases are tested per day, a drop of 25% in one week. At the same time a year ago, a new record was exceeded with more than 500,000 cases detected in 24 hours.
“It is a substantial decline and which does not only concern contamination, since hospitalizations and deaths are also decreasing”, observes Professor Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health in Geneva. Clear, “the 9th wave is passing”.
At first glance, nothing surprising. “As in any epidemic process, contamination rises and then falls,” recalls the epidemiologist. But this time, the extent of the decline is enough to attract attention, especially since it occurs in the middle of winter, a season particularly conducive to the transmission of the virus.
The screening in question
According to Antoine Flahault, difficult to draw conclusions. “Not only do we screen less, but the people we test are not necessarily representative of the population: they are, for example, patients who are about to have surgery, or fragile people in retirement homes. » Of the ” bias ” which, according to him, make the comparison with the summer of 2020 acrobatic.
While recognizing these limits, Yannick Simonin, virologist at the University of Montpellier, believes he sees a possible trend there. “If this 9th wave was shorter and had a limited health impact despite weak restrictions, it is largely due to vaccination. We can therefore hope that future waves will also be less violent. Provided that, he specifies, that people at risk continue to be up to date with their vaccinations and that a new, more aggressive subvariant does not arrive. »
“In any case, it is not the end of the epidemic but a truce”, warns Antoine Flahault.