An eighth wave begins in France

At the end of the summer, the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in France suggests a possible eighth wave of the epidemic, the magnitude of which remains difficult to predict.

The circulation of SARS-CoV-2 has increased again after several weeks of improvement in the epidemic situation, observed the French national public health agency, Santé publique France, in its weekly update.

As of Thursday, 33,263 new cases attributed to COVID-19 had been recorded, compared with 19,866 a week earlier, a jump of more than 67%.

For the past two days, the rate of reproduction [le fameux R] of the virus is above 1, which is a robust signal of an epidemic recovery, epidemiologist Mircea Sofonea told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Another indicator: the number of tests undergone increased by 9% the week of September 5 to 11, said the statistical service of the health and social ministries. The number of tests increased sharply in the under-16 age group (+56%).

The number of PCR tests is not very high at present and does not allow for very reliable analyses, but the trend seems to confirm at the very least a halt in the epidemic’s decline and possibly a rebound, the premise of a possible new pandemic wave, epidemiologist Antoine Flahault analyzed for AFP.

This is not an unprecedented situation. At the same time of 2021, the Delta variant, which had also caused a summer wave, came back to trigger a fall-winter wave.

It does appear that the current dominant Omicron subvariant, BA.5, which struck Europe this summer, has been spreading again since the start of the school year and is progressing in all regions of metropolitan France [sauf encore la Corse]and in almost all Western European countries, said Antoine Flahault.

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If an eighth wave should occur, it is still difficult to predict its magnitude. Indeed, it is not known precisely to what extent the population is currently immune.

We’re going to be in a bit of a fog for at least the next two weeks, predicts Mircea Sofonea.

Despite health authorities recommendations, only about 30% of people over 60 have received a second booster dose.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) sent a message of hope, deeming the end of the pandemic within reach,but urging people not to let up in their efforts to achieve it.