We have entered the fifth wave of covid-19. Do you consider it to be dazzling?
It’s a fifth wave that rises quickly. The reproduction factor of the virus is 1.6 (the average number of people infected by an infected person, editor’s note) and it will probably approach 2. This means that the epidemic curve is in its so-called “exponential” phase.
The whole difficulty, when a wave has started, is that we don’t know how far it will go. We know, on the other hand, that for a given number of contaminations, we will have a given number of hospitalizations, resuscitations, deaths. Now the fact that the wave is important is a certainty. I also note that Germany has already exceeded double the incidence rate of previous waves and it continues to increase very strongly. Again, the only uncertainty is how far it will go.
How do you judge the evolution of the situation in the hospitals? Can she quickly become critical?
The decorrelation between positive cases and severe cases is very strong. We had already observed it during the fourth wave this summer, thanks to mass vaccination. Most of the most frail, the oldest people are vaccinated and their risk of developing a severe form of covid-19 is reduced by 10 to 12 times. This means that, proportionally, for a number of infected patients, there are much fewer serious cases. But if the number of patients becomes very, very large, the number of serious cases will end up becoming very large and endangering hospitals. We are currently around 1,500 covid patients in critical care wards. The Institut Pasteur, in the models it presents to us, evokes 2,000 covid patients in intensive care as of December 5 and that could continue to rise. We must also take into account the fact that we are entering the winter period, with its attendant infectious diseases such as influenza, bronchiolitis, but also all the trauma associated with winter vacations. We must therefore preserve our hospitals.
You have chosen to extend the vaccination booster to all adults from this weekend, why?
Yes, the booster will be extended to all adults from the age of 18 and we will reduce the time before the booster from six months to five months after the last injection. The campaign will start this weekend. This decision is based on what the models show us: the more we are protected by vaccination, the less risk we are of developing serious forms and therefore of transmitting the virus. Individual and collective protection is necessary, including thanks to the vaccination booster. This reminder is a way of relearning our immune system to remake weapons, antibodies directed against covid. However, over time, it gradually forgets to generate it.
This booster dose will be incorporated into the health pass for all adults. How long will the French have to receive it and not have their pass deactivated?
We will effectively extend the booster dose as a criterion in the health past. For consistency with what we have done for people over 65, and in the logic of the health pass which gives a kind of sesame to reduce the risk of contaminating oneself and others in a public place. We will give the French time to receive this vaccination reminder. We are not changing the time limit that already exists for people 65 and over, which is seven months. In other words, when you are called to receive your reminder, you have two months to do so, to keep the benefit of the health pass.
You want to reduce the validity period of a test from 72 to 24 hours for the health pass, is this a way of preparing minds for a future pass only for vaccines?
We will reduce the validity of the test in the health pass. In the past it was 48 hours, then we had increased it to 72 hours because the virus was circulating less. We will reduce it to 24 hours, which is very consistent because the virus is circulating a lot now. With the health pass, the people around me must really have a minimal risk of being contagious and contaminable. However, you can be negative on Monday and be contagious on Wednesday. We are therefore reducing the time limit to 24 hours. The corollary being that indeed, unvaccinated French people who want to benefit from their health pass every day, will have to be tested every day.
We want to keep this possibility of being tested for those who are refractory to vaccination – I regret it but there are still some. They can thus have an alternative to vaccination.
You will extend the wearing of a mask, in particular in all enclosed places, even those to which access is limited by the sanitary pass. And outside too?
By decree, I will make it compulsory to wear a mask in all closed environments, including in all establishments subject to the health pass, throughout the national territory. The prefects will keep the possibility of making it compulsory to wear a mask in outdoor events, likely to bring people together such as Christmas markets, for example. The implementation of this measure is imminent.
We must recreate the distance between us
Arnaud Fontanet, member of the Scientific Council, believes that a return to confinement or curfew cannot be ruled out. Do you agree with him?
The President of the Republic chooses responsibility and freedom. Responsibility is what we just talked about: wearing a mask, respecting barrier gestures, ventilating, especially during winter. You have to open the window ten minutes an hour when you’re in a meeting. You have to keep wearing a mask when there are several in a room, it must be the big comeback of hydroalcoholic gel. We must unfortunately stop this habit, which we can understand, of shaking hands, of kissing. We must recreate the distance between us in the coming weeks.
The freedom is that we do not take any measure of constraint that would affect all French people since there is no closure of establishments open to the public, no curfew, early closure, or gauge. No forced teleworking. Vaccination, health passes and respect for barrier gestures are necessary and sufficient tools if we all adopt them.
letelegramme Fr Trans