In Europe, contamination is increasing again

Here we go again. The resurgence of the Europe-wide sensitive Covid 19 epidemic was foreseeable, but everyone preferred to look elsewhere. In a week, the number of new infections in France has thus increased by almost 50%, with 45,700 new infections per day in the period from 12 to 18 June (365,000 at the peak of the epidemic in mid-January).

Relaxation of barrier gestures in companies, public transport, festivals and leisure facilities, etc.; low adherence to the second booster among eligible populations (ie, in France, people with co-morbidities and over 60 years old who received a first booster more than 6 months ago); also the weakening of the protection afforded by three doses of vaccine over the months… The virus takes advantage of these deficiencies at will to sneak in and thrive there.

Also read: Covid-19: Government calls for speeding up pace of second booster amid epidemic resurgence

Especially since the most recent representatives of the Omicron variant – BA.4 and BA.5 – have gained evolutionary advantages: increased contagiousness compared to their predecessor BA.2 (which in turn had already achieved record levels of transmissibility); and a new ability to escape defenses acquired through vaccination or earlier variants – even by Omicron itself in its first version, BA.1.

Results: The picture is similar in all European countries. A resurgence of cases, mainly driven by the proliferation of the BA.4 and especially BA.5 subvariants. Without this resurgence of infections, for the time being, does not lead to a significant increase in hospitalizations and deaths, but to a slight increase. Only Portugal is an exception: hit by the wave earlier, it sees it ebbing away after just two months.

On Tuesday, June 21, the incidence rate reached 477 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, an increase of 49% compared to the previous week, according to the latest data from Public Health France (SpF). This recovery, which began in early June, can be observed in all metropolitan areas and for almost all age groups. An infected person infects an average of 1.39 others.

The BA.5 subvariant is now responsible for more than half of the new infections. From June 12-18, 45,697 new cases were confirmed per day, according to the SI-Dep contamination database. The screening rate was 1,993.6 per 100,000 population (+ 6.2% compared to the previous week), the positivity rate was 23.9% (+ 4.2 points).

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