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Will the Delta variant be the cause of a new wave of Covd-19? The increase in the share of this variant, more contagious, in the positive tests carried out in France alarms the government. Across the Channel, the Delta has caused a wave of new cases. Can the situation happen again in France?
Faced with the specter of the Delta variant, the government changes its tone
“The Obs” looked at the contamination figures in the United Kingdom since the emergence of the Delta variant, which became dominant after replacing the Alpha variant.
As early as mid-May, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that the United Kingdom was the second country, behind India, where the Delta variant circulated the most. At the time according to Public Health England, the country had around 2,250 daily cases (on average over the past week). A figure doubled in the space of three weeks (nearly 5,000 daily cases as of June 3). The Delta variant, which continued to progress, reached 91% of sequenced tests on June 18.
From there, the number of daily cases gradually increased, reaching over 27,000 daily cases a month and a half later on July 5, according to figures from Public Health England.
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But if the curve of positive cases increases drastically, this is not the case for those of people who died within 28 days of their diagnosis or of hospital admissions. Thus, the United Kingdom deplored on May 12 about 8 deaths on average over the past week, against 18 on June 30. Regarding new hospital admissions of Covid-19 patients, they were from 205 to 12 May, compared to 358 as of 30 June, the date of the last update on the Public Health England site. These figures are still all in an upward dynamic.
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Vaccination as a bulwark against hospitalizations
As journalist Nicolas Berrod points out on Twitter, the British public agency noted in a report dated June 25 that most cases of the Delta variant were young, and that hospital patients were mostly unvaccinated.
Video: Faced with the threat of the Delta variant, several countries are tightening the screw (France 24)
Faced with the threat of the Delta variant, several countries are tightening the screw
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At the same time, the United Kingdom continued its vaccination campaign, which was particularly effective, while the British mostly trust the AstraZeneca vaccine, used by health authorities. According to Public Health England, 86% of adults had received a first dose of the vaccine by July 4, and 64% had received both doses.
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In France, the Pfizer vaccine is mainly used during the campaign, at 79% of the volumes used per day (on average over the past week).
However, the two vaccines offer similar protection against hospitalizations linked to the Delta variant: two doses of AstraZeneca are thus effective against hospitalizations at 92%, at 71% with a single dose, according to Public Health England. These figures rise respectively to 96 and 94% for the Pfizer vaccine, according to the British agency.
Uncertainty remains in France
A total of 2,549 new cases of Covid were confirmed in France over the past 24 hours on Sunday, a figure equivalent to that known to the United Kingdom on May 21. The positivity rate which remains low at 0.8% over the last seven days.
Could a similar situation in the UK arise? The executive is already anticipating it. Sunday, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran spoke of a “race against time” : “The English example shows that a wave is possible from the end of July”, he warned on Twitter.
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Asked about the evolution of the epidemic in France, the scientists remain divided, but for the moment evokes rather a risk of rebound in the re-entry. According to models from the Institut Pasteur posted online on June 29, “A significant peak in hospitalizations is possible [à l’automne] in the absence of any measure to control the epidemic “. Good news remains: as in the United Kingdom, vaccination could limit this new wave, which could be more nuanced than the three previous ones: “Because of the vaccination, the effort required to control an epidemic rebound should be significantly less than during the pre-vaccination period”, concludes the Institut Pasteur.
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