Covid-19. The majority delta variant in our departments: is summer threatened?

Covid-19. The majority delta variant in our departments: is summer threatened?
Covid-19. The majority delta variant in our departments: is summer threatened?

The United Kingdom is pushing back the last phase of its deconfinement, Portugal is reinstating a curfew, Catalonia is closing its nightclubs … All over Europe, the Covid-19 is resuming its own and comes to end prematurely the carefree summer.

In question, the delta variant, spotted for the first time in India and which should soon become the majority in France. While epidemiologists were counting on a fourth wave at the start of the school year, the Minister of Health now threatens to deteriorate from the end of July.

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What about with us? The Landes, the Var or the Paris region have so far concentrated concerns but we are not spared for all that. Admittedly, the health situation continues to improve for the time being. But the stagnation of contaminations in recent days hides a muted progression of the Indian variant.

The graph below lists, over the last two weeks, the number of daily contaminations (on average over the last seven days) depending on whether or not they contain the L452R mutation, carried mainly by the delta strain: everywhere, the Indian variant is in the process of taking the place of its “competitors”.

The numbers displayed above and below are projections from the only PCR assays screened. Since the beginning of June, Public Health France no longer monitors the variants but certain mutations deemed to be of concern, which may be common to several variants.

The majority delta variant

Majority for a few days in Île-de-France, in the south-east of France and over a whole part of the Atlantic coast, the delta variant has already become hegemonic in the Jura and has just crossed the 50 mark. % in our other departments, with the exception of Haute-Loire (where only four or five positive tests are recorded each day).

Proportion of different mutations in positive cases, as of July 5, 2020

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First consequence: contamination has stopped declining in our five departments, between June 23 and June 30 depending on the location. And if we follow the path taken by other corners of France before us (Alpes-Maritimes, Paris, Ille-et-Vilaine, …), they are likely to start rising again in the next few days. come.

A surge of contaminations soon?

How big will the trend reversal be? We tried to estimate the evolution of the incidence rate (number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants, over the last seven days) in the Rhône and the Loire, if the Indian variant spread at the speed that was its own these past two weeks.

Verdict: the “take-off” would indeed take place at the end of July, with the threshold of 250 cases crossed during the first week of August in the two departments. The low number of cases in Jura and Ain makes the exercise much more speculative but we can see the same movement there (with a maximum alert threshold crossed in mid-August in Ain and … on the 24th. July in the Jura).

So, is it already time to panic? Not necessarily. Between June 20 and July 5, two million French people were vaccinated for the first time against Covid-19 and six million others received their second dose. And there are still several million people who should imitate them in the weeks to come. However, vaccination limits contamination, including the delta variant.

Above all, the fourth wave of contamination will not be that of hospitalizations and resuscitations. With vaccines that very strongly limit the severe forms of the disease, it will be necessary to reach a much higher number of infections for the emergency services to start filling up again: the alert threshold is not the same when more than half of the population is immune.

The surge in the incidence rate is particularly noticeable among young people, both because they are the most likely to relax social distancing measures and because they are the least vaccinated. However, they end up much less in the hospital than their elders, even with the Indian variant.

The British example proves it: if during the first three waves, hospitalizations and resuscitations followed the contaminations with two or three weeks delay, it will undoubtedly be necessary to reckon with a few months this time. More than summer, it is indeed the return to school which is threatened.

 
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