Covid-19: an incidence rate greater than 200 in one in four departments

“This fifth wave is off to a flying start”. Sunday, Gabriel Attal spoke on Europe 1 of the strength with which the Covid-19 epidemic is making its return to France, galvanized by winter and less respect for barrier gestures. If for the moment, new measures have not been taken, unlike our European neighbors, the incidence rate is exploding in many territories.

In fact, 24 French departments record more than 200 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants, on average, from November 12 to 18. This figure shows a strong circulation of the virus. On several occasions since the start of the epidemic, crossing this threshold has meant additional restrictions.

Incidence rate by department in France from November 12 to 18, 2021.

In Ardèche, Haute-Corse, Landes, Bouches-du-Rhône and Haut-Rhin, the incidence rate is respectively 358, 326, 267, 264, and 263. In these five departments, the incidence therefore exceeds 250. These are the only ones for now, but the situation is deteriorating rapidly.

In the Landes, the incidence rate has increased by 153% in one week, a sign that in addition to having many cases of Covid-19, they are increasing very quickly, despite vaccination coverage of the very eligible population. high (95% with two or more doses).

The change in the incidence rate is not only dependent on vaccination coverage. It follows very localized trends and obeys multiple factors such as population density, the use of teleworking or the number of clusters … And if the incidence increases in all departments – except in Guadeloupe, Mayotte, and Guyana -, the epidemic resurgence is different according to the territories.

A very rapid increase

The Aube, the Vosges, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Orne and Hérault are the departments in which the epidemic is restarting the fastest. They show a respective increase in incidence of 189%, 184%, 170%, 168% and 161%. For the moment, the incidence there is relatively limited, less than 200, except in the Hérault (205 incidence).

Evolution of the incidence rate by department in France from November 12 to 18, 2021.
Evolution of the incidence rate by department in France from November 12 to 18, 2021.

From November 8 to 14, in Maine-et-Loire, Sarthe, Aveyron, Lozère and Vendée, the incidence rate exceeds 150 for those over 60 years of age, on the whole more likely to develop severe forms than the rest of the population, and more likely to lose the immunity acquired from the vaccine over time.

Incidence rate among those most at risk, November 8-14
Incidence rate among those most at risk, November 8-14

An uncertain impact on deaths

Sunday, Gabriel Attal tried to be reassuring: “In France, we have a very wide vaccination coverage (and) we are rather ahead of our neighbors on the vaccination booster”. For now, hospitals are not yet completely overwhelmed by these multiple contaminations.

But until when ? “Thanks to vaccines, the circulation of Covid-19, currently at the same level as a week before the peak of the fourth wave, does not involve as many serious cases as before”, explains Antoine Flahault, epidemiologist at the University from Geneva.

In other words, the incidence today is not as deleterious as at the beginning of the epidemic. But in Europe, some countries as vaccinated as we have put measures in place. Antoine Flahault warns: “The sooner the measures are taken, the better they work”.

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