Understanding the Resurgence of Covid: Containment, Masks, and the Future

2023-08-26 12:15:00

Containment and wearing a mask seem distant memories. And they should stay that way. But undeniably, the Covid is making a comeback. Positive samples at Clermont University Hospital rose from 5% in July to 13% last week. Figures which are valid for people who are already symptomatic, therefore not for the general population, warns Professor Ousmane Traoré.

Resumption of Covid: “The priority is to understand the new variant and prepare the vaccination campaign”

No recorded hospitalization

“For the moment, there is no repercussion on hospitalizations, we have zero”, continues the head of the hospital hygiene service. “But we are seeing an increase in Covid positivity among people hospitalized for something else. This is evidence of circulation in the general population.”
This is also noted by Laurent Dissard, president of SOS Médecins Clermont.

I systematically do a test for respiratory problems. I had zero cases in June. I had four only on the day yesterday (Tuesday August 22). And the other presidents of structures make the same observations. But no severe cases.

A new variant or just the holidays?

This rebound, the specialists were waiting for it. “We had the same upsurge in August 2020, 2021 and 2022. It is simply the effects of the summer mixing of populations”, analyzes Professor Traoré. The current situation should therefore not worsen even with the arrival of the new school year.

Even Omicron’s newest sub-variant, Eris, shouldn’t set the numbers on fire. Doctors, however, keep a watchful eye. For a practical reason. “If the cases increase, we advance the vaccination campaign. Otherwise, she will wait for the flu campaign, the second week of October. But the current variant, EG.5 or Eris, is an Omicron variant, so not very virulent.”

WHO is closely monitoring a new variant of the Covid-19 virus

A severe wave every 20 or 30 years

Professor Traoré goes even further:

I absolutely do not believe in an epidemic of the magnitude of the previous ones, with masks and confinement. We will simply continue towards a trivialization of the virus. The Covid enters the viral routine. This was also planned from the start, with the improvement of herd immunity. What was not expected was that it would take so long. The most pessimistic said two years. It was four years ago.

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“Like the flu, there will be a severe episode every 20 or 30 years., explains Laurent Dissard. It can’t be expected, it happens. But for that, you need tests. The rebound that we see today is because doctors have decided to test mild cases. But I prefer prevention. Because in virology, waiting means… It means it’s too late.”

And this winter?
“We expect all winter viruses between November and January,” explains Professor Ousmane Traoré. And like all winter viruses, the Covid will strike more or less hard depending on the virulence of its variant or sub-variant. “If there was a big variation, like the appearance of Omicron, with big differences, then we could have an epidemic peak.”
In addition to the unknown linked to the variations of the virus, collective immunity is falling. “It is labile, like that of the flu. Measles, after two doses, is lifelong. With the flu or the Covid, it drops quite quickly. In fact, we really approach the profile of the flu, except that the flu is absolutely seasonal. The Covid is not, this month of August proves it to us.” If a new variant, therefore, appeared, three questions would then arise, according to Professor Traoré. “First, the state of herd immunity, but there we already have the answer. Then, the degree of transmissibility of the new variant. Finally, how pathogenic, virulent it is.”

Simon Anthony

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