For Arnaud Fontanet the hardest part of the health crisis has not yet passed, but it will be soon. The peak in the number of Covid-19 cases “should peak in mid-January”, tells the Sunday Newspaper the epidemiologist, who says he is above all confident that “in the long term”, this virus “will join other seasonal coronaviruses”. The peak will also be “of limited duration” because patients with the Omicron variant have a lower need for mechanical ventilation and shorter hospital stays.
“The peak hospital could take place a week later (…) Ile-de-France will be the first affected”, specifies this member of the Scientific Council. In “a hospital already severely affected by 22 months of health crisis”, he said to expect “a huge logistical and organizational challenge”.
The “important role” of teleworking
Arnaud Fontanet indicates, however, that “increased recourse to teleworking will play an important role” in reducing the level of this peak, as well as “the aeration or ventilation efforts” of classes and canteens. He also recommends stopping gym classes and indoor choirs for the time being.
Also in an interview with the JDD, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran specifies that according to the British data, “there are three times less serious forms of the disease with Omicron than with Delta”. Arnaud Fontanet also recalls that protection against severe forms is very well preserved with the vaccine, “of the order of 80-90% after a booster dose”.
The last wave?
“Ultimately, there is hope” and “Sars-CoV-2 will join other human seasonal coronaviruses which give us colds and tonsillitis every winter,” says the epidemiologist. “We’re not there yet. We can expect that new variants will emerge but, as our immunity strengthens over time, either by natural infection or with booster doses of the vaccine, their capacity to give severe forms will decrease ”.
The scientist also assures that 2022 would bring new control tools, such as vaccines which will be administered intranasally and the imminent arrival of the antiviral Paxlovid which will allow the treatment of people at risk of serious forms. Thus, “the more time passes, the less painful the waves will be”. Even your optimistic but cautious tone from Olivier Véran: “this fifth wave will perhaps be the last”. According to the minister, Omicron is so contagious that it “will lead to heightened immunity” around the world. Evil for good then.