Covid-19: with variants, what strategies in the face of the epidemic?



No re-containment but “A very real threat of variants” : Jean Castex maintained the crest line of the executive, Thursday evening February 4. With an average of 20,000 new infections and 1,600 new hospitalizations per day, the figures for the coronavirus epidemic remain “Stable but very high” and subject the health system to “Major pressure”, even if “Circulation of the virus has not significantly increased over the past two weeks”.

→ RECAP ‘. Vaccines, vacations and variants: update on the government press conference

A race against variants

The problem is the variants, recalled the Prime Minister. The preliminary results of the flash investigation to detect them show that around 14% of the Covid cases detected on January 26 and 27 were due to these new forms of the virus. At the start of January, this share was only 3.3%, with large disparities between regions.

→ EXPLANATION. Covid-19: Are the new variants worrying?

The latest Inserm projections affirmed that the British variant would become the majority between the end of February and mid-March. Gold, “It is essential to avoid an epidemic in the epidemic, recalled Olivier Véran. It’s a race against time and every day we win against variants counts, because it allows the most vulnerable to be vaccinated. “

Concern about the effectiveness of vaccines

“The so-called” South African “and” Brazilian “variants worry us because we have less data on them., recognized the Minister of Health. A priori the effectiveness of vaccines is lower and there are more cases of re-infections. “” All the vaccines were developed from the starting strains, recognized Brigitte Autran, member of the scientific committee on vaccines, earlier today. Faced with these specific variants, we can either consider a booster, with a third later injection, or an adaptation of the vaccines if necessary. “ Moderna has already announced that it is working on a new version of its product.

The hypothesis of a recall, which makes it possible to “shake” the immune system in the face of the new version of the coronavirus, promises to be complicated in a context where the doses are lacking. As for changing the vaccine, “For influenza, we do it when the loss of effectiveness is greater than a factor of 4, recalled the specialist. We are not yet at this stage. “

Whether it is the British variant or one of the other two that will gain the upper hand is crucial for the vaccine strategy. The Brazilian variant was notably detected for the first time in France, with 4 cases in the Var and in Reunion. In Mayotte, the amplification of the epidemic due to the South African variant forced to reconfine, from Friday 6 p.m. and for at least 3 weeks.

New meeting slots

On the vaccination front, the Prime Minister assured that “By the end of the week, all voluntary residents in nursing homes will have received their first injection”. Above all, 1.7 million additional meeting slots will be opened in the coming days. “We maintain the objective of having offered vaccination to all adults by the end of the summer”, hammered Jean Castex, who admitted all the same to be aware of the deprogramming of appointments “Related to delays in deliveries of doses by laboratories despite contracts”.

→ ANALYSIS. Covid-19: massively vaccinate, the uncertain challenge of the Élysée

“The winter holidays are starting and we have chosen not to limit travel between regions, but we must avoid any slackening, concluded Jean Castex. I appeal to your sense of solidarity and responsibility to avoid a new confinement.

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Do not relax teleworking

“There are too many professional environments where teleworking is possible but it is not or not applied enough”, tackled Jean Castex, evoking in passing the efforts to come in public administrations. “Teleworking must be the rule”, added Élisabeth Borne, who noted “A decline in the use of telework since November” and believes that “2.5 million employees who could telework do not do it at all”. Gold, “The risk of contamination is reduced by 20% with partial teleworking”, recalled the Minister of Labor.

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