Jean-Christophe Goffard, head of the internal medicine department at Erasme hospital, was Fabrice Grosfilley’s guest this Friday morning on Bel RTL. The doctor spoke about the Omicron variant and its impact in our country.
In terms of contamination of the Omicron variant, is it going to be a wave?
There is going to be a major increase in the number of cases. We will have to see how it translates into everyday life in the hospital of course.
Those who tell us almost vertical curves are not mistaken?
No, we will be in an exponential increase, it will totally explode. The problems that follow will be above all mild as in the majority of cases of coronavirus infections, but we will no longer be able to work, because we will be in quarantine, and this can be problematic for the functioning of a company.
Does that mean that there is going to be a disorganization of our society?
The organization is already complicated at the present time in certain sectors. You saw planes that were postponed or canceled, or trains that could no longer run. We risk having the same thing but amplified by the Omicron wave, and that is what worries us.
We must make a distinction between the very high contamination, and the severity which seems less severe than with Delta, what do we know about that?
The majority of those infected who have Sars-Cov-2 do not develop pneumonia and are not hospitalized. People who complicate are usually unvaccinated or have risk factors such as obesity. It remains that profile among people who have been hospitalized. Nevertheless, the figures are a little more reassuring for the moment, but they are fragmented because they come from South Africa and England where we have a rate of delay in encoding. It is quite possible that this is true, we hope so and we will see in the figures for the coming weeks at home.
So the people who fall ill today will arrive in your hospitals in two weeks, that’s when we should know the proportion of infected patients who will end up in the hospital?
Absolutely, it is in 15 days. Now we have almost a replacement of the Delta by the Omicron, but we do not have the figures within the hospital.
Are hospitals like Erasme saturated today or not?
Yes, they are saturated, we keep too many patients in intensive care with still difficulties in placing those who must have major interventions. On the other hand, the rooms remain problematic by the drop in staff who become infected, who are in quarantine. The schedules are impossible to predict over more than 15 days. The risk of risk saturation is real because the hospital is like the rest of society, it will have difficulty operating, and all the more so if the quarantines remain long, which I am in favor of.
Shouldn’t the quarantines be revised downwards?
The idea of lowering them is to tell yourself that you have the most risk during the five days on which you have been infected, however there is a residual risk beyond the five days. therefore accept this risk of transmission as well.