as the second wave reaches its peak, “all the ingredients are there for a new rebound in the epidemic”

“Just because the tide has dropped does not mean that we can go out into the street in peace. “ In one sentence, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, summed up, Thursday, November 19 during his weekly update, the balancing act that the government is trying to maintain while the first signs of a decline in the second wave of Covid-19 begin to manifest.

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If the circulation of the virus in France has been slower in recent days, it is still too early to claim victory, and the population must maintain its efforts to prevent further contamination. In other words : “It is not because it is falling that it is low”, insisted the minister.

In fact, there are currently 32,345 people sick with Covid-19 hospitalized in France, a level higher than that of the peak of the first wave. But the peak of November 12, where 32,654 people were hospitalized, has now been crossed. On Thursday, hospital services recorded 2,200 new entries of patients with Covid-19, including 311 in intensive care.

“The recession will be a little slower than in the spring, analysis Mircea Sofonea, lecturer in epidemiology and evolution of infectious diseases at the University of Montpellier. The impact of the epidemic on hospital activity is indeed different, because health personnel have maintained the management of other pathologies, which was not the case in the spring. “ On Thursday, the intensive care unit welcomed 4,653 Covid-19 patients in addition to 3,500 people with other pathologies.

More than 150 medical evacuations

But the situation remains mixed in France, even if all the regions are affected today by the rebound of the epidemic. In Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, “Hospital pressure remains very high”, said the director general of health, Jérôme Salomon. The incidence rate is also very high, especially that of the elderly, above the national average. More than 150 medical evacuations of patients with Covid-19 have been organized to hospitals in other regions or in Germany, mainly from these two regions.

Importantly, the reproduction rate, the effective R – that is to say the number of new cases that a single infectious person will generate on average -, is decreasing and oscillates between 0.65 and 0.89 following the regions. A rate lower than that calculated before the curfew, decreed four weeks ago. “In a scenario with a reproduction rate of around 0.8, we should reach the threshold of 5,000 new cases per day by the end of December”, details Mircea Sofonea. This threshold is the one set by Emmanuel Macron to get out of the heavy restrictive measures put in place since October. An important objective because, “To control the epidemic, we must put in place a contact tracing effective, which is only possible if the number of cases is sufficiently reduced ”, indicates Rodolphe Thiébaut, professor of public health in Bordeaux.

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