Five good news on the epidemic front

The incidence rate in France has reached record highs: 2,445 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on January 6, an increase of nearly 60% in 7 days (source: data.gouv.fr). The highest incidence rate recorded in France dated from early November 2020, with 501 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. However, if the cases have multiplied by 4.8, the number of hospitalizations, people in intensive care and deaths, they have not quintupled, quite the contrary.

The average number of daily hospitalizations was 2,886 at the beginning of November 2020, it is 1,799 today (- 38%). The average number of daily intensive care admissions was 442, it is now 299 (-32%). As for the average daily number of deaths in the hospital, it goes from 419, at the peak of the second wave, at the beginning of November, to 189 currently (-54.89%).

Peak in mid-January, more under 40s in intensive care? What the latest epidemic figures say


2. Vaccines prove their effectiveness

Statistics from Public Health France show that there were, according to the latest data available, dating from the end of December, 211 people out of a million, entered in critical care, among unvaccinated people aged 20 and over, against 12 in one million in people vaccinated. Statistics which also seem to be confirmed by the number of deaths and hospitalizations which do not explode despite an incidence rate never before reached.

In addition, the tests are more positive in unvaccinated people: at the end of December, 1,306 positive tests were recorded in France for 100,000 unvaccinated people, against 515 positive tests for 100,000 vaccinated people.

According to these statistics, vaccinated people would therefore catch the Covid less and would be much less present in critical care.


3. The Delta variant decreases

The Delta variant only represents 13% of the tests where a screening was carried out. It represented more than 95% of the tests in early December. This is good news because, while it is the Omicron variant that seems to gain the upper hand (with over 86% suspicion of tests where screening was performed), numerous studies show that it seems less virulent than the Delta variant, in adults as well as in children. British data from the end of December shows that a person affected by the Omicron variant appears to have between 50% and 70% less risk of being hospitalized.


4. Omicron is neutralized by the booster dose

More contagious than the Delta variant, Omicron gradually becomes the predominant variant and can be spread in people who have received one or two doses of the vaccine, or who have been previously infected.

According to research carried out by the Institut Pasteur, the Vaccine Research Institute, the CHR d’OrlĂ©ans, the European Hospital Georges Pompidou (AP-HP), Inserm and the CNRS, five months after vaccination, the antibodies present in the blood are no longer able to neutralize Omicron. This loss of effectiveness is also observed in people infected with Covid in the previous 12 months. But a booster dose with the Pfizer vaccine sharply increases antibody levels, to a level sufficient to neutralize Omicron.

However, it takes 5 to 31 times more antibodies to neutralize Omicron, compared to Delta. These results provide insight into how vaccines remain effective in protecting against severe forms of the disease. It now remains to study the duration of protection of the 3rd dose.


5. France is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, but also participates in global vaccination

France is the 6th most vaccinated country in the world if we take into account the complete vaccination among the entire population, including children of all ages. With 74% of its population vaccinated, it comes behind the Arab Emirates (92%), Chile (87%), Spain (81%), Uruguay (77%), and Italy (75%) .

But France is also one of the largest donors of vaccines to Covax, which aims to ensure equitable access to vaccination against Covid in 200 countries. With 120 million doses shipped, given, or promised in the coming months, France is in third place in global donations, after the United States and the European Union. If we bring that back to the number of inhabitants, this would correspond to 1.8 doses given by the French for the countries benefiting from Covax. The interest? Vaccinate all countries as quickly as possible to avoid the emergence of new variants which could potentially escape the current vaccination.

Marlene martin

Our sources:

Institut Pasteur: Omicron resistant to most monoclonal antibodies but neutralized by the 3rd dose

Our world in data: Immunization data

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