January 26, 2022

be extra careful with the approach of the holidays, the bitter remedy of the scientific council

How to deal, by the end of the year, with this « double menace » : a strong fifth wave linked to the Delta variant, the peak of which does not seem to have been reached, and the arrival of the Omicron variant, with a worrying profile of mutations? “A marked strengthening of control measures and an acceleration of the booster vaccination” are essential, warns the scientific council in its new opinion, made public on Monday, December 13 – but sent to the authorities five days earlier.

“Without a drop in transmission rates from the current level, the coming weeks should be marked by an increase in hospital admissions”, writes the advisory body responsible for informing public decision-making. In a scenario where transmission rates remain similar to November, and with 400,000 booster doses per day given since 1is In December, the peak in hospital admissions could reach 2,350 admissions per day – a level close to that of the second wave. For an administration of 600,000 doses, this peak would be 2,100. And if we managed to reduce transmission rates by 10% since 1is December, it could be restricted to 1,300 hospitalizations per day. “Even a slight reinforcement of barrier gestures, teleworking, as well as a reduction in contacts can have a very significant health impact” on the current Delta wave. This collective effort would reduce “The risk of having to implement more restrictive measures later”, continues the proceedings.

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However, “An explosion of Omicron cases could seriously degrade the projections”, warns the council. In fact, the first information on this variant suggests that it could “Circulate in Europe faster than initially expected, gradually replacing the Delta variant in the first weeks of 2022”. The data “Suggest that it is spreading extremely quickly”, including in populations largely immune following natural infection or vaccination. Which suggests “A very important immune escape capacity”.

Avoid “giant clusters”

In this regard, the scientific council cites two impressive sources of contagion. The first took place on November 26 in a restaurant in Oslo: 70 of the 120 doubly vaccinated people present at a Christmas dinner were infected, as well as 50 others who were in the restaurant. The second cluster, it happened in a party between high school students in Denmark: 53 of the 150 participants were infected. “The Omicron variant is able to be transmitted very efficiently in vaccinated populations, during events bringing together in closed places people not wearing masks, and speaking loudly, shouting or singing. “

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