Friday, January 21

Covid-19: what measures can the government take to counter the 5th wave?

Return of contaminations, degraded health indicators and fear of seeing them transform into a new wave of Covid-19. While a Health Defense Council is due to take place on Wednesday, November 24, the government could act in several ways to try to contain the situation.

Support vaccination

Effective in limiting contamination and, above all, avoiding saturating hospitals by reducing serious Covid cases, vaccination remains the main weapon of the authorities. Even though more than 75% of the population has their complete vaccination schedule up to date, a third dose now seems necessary. Already asked for over 65s and people vaccinated with Janssen, the government could decide to expand it.

The Scientific Council pleads in this direction, so that the recall also becomes obligatory for the 50-64 years (the doses will be accessible to them from December 1). The High Authority for Health is campaigning for the third dose to concern people over 40 years old. The executive will therefore have to decide quickly.

Still concerning the vaccine, the government also has the possibility to insist, even to toughen up the tone, concerning the unvaccinated people. The Scientific Council has therefore estimated that they are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized in critical care. Especially since among them, 10% are over 80 years old.

Wearing a mask and seriously reinforced barrier gestures

While the respect of barrier gestures (such as hand disinfection) and the wearing of a mask has largely relaxed on a daily basis, the return of cool temperatures makes their use more necessary than ever. The French indeed spend less time outdoors and now shut themselves away at home, in the bar, in the restaurant, to spend a moment with family or with their friends. What to promote the spread of the virus.

To deal with this, the mask has become compulsory again at school and prefectural decrees also impose it locally in certain areas (around schools, markets, etc.). In ski resorts, it will imperatively be requested when queuing for the ski lifts.

Will the government dare to take a more comprehensive decision on the territory, by reimposing the mask outside in certain cases? He has already stated that for places where the sanitary pass is requested (bar, restaurants, cinemas, etc.), wearing it will not become an obligation again. However, the operator or the prefect can decide otherwise.

Telework encouraged again?

Along the same lines as the desire to “re-mobilize” on barrier gestures, the expansion of teleworking is also a possibility to fight against the spread of Covid-19 in business. The Scientific Council fully approved the idea, while only 10% of employees are currently ordered by their employer to stay at home for at least one day to work (source from the Ministry of Labor).

The same Scientific Council also reiterated the importance of ventilating enclosed spaces, such as an office or open space, and installing CO2 detectors there. What push the government to impose these installations?

Refinement, such an unthinkable idea?

The decision would be surprising and very bad from a political point of view, but it is not impossible that the health situation, if it deteriorates to the extreme, pushes the authorities to consider a new confinement. Gabriel Attal, government spokesman, summed it up very well last week: “There is absolutely no confinement that is planned today, neither near nor far, (but) nothing is excluded in principle” .

Such an end therefore seems still far away, but the authorities could encourage the French to restrict their social contacts on their own. Avoid congregating in a bar, receiving a bunch of friends in your living room, inviting your family to eat … One month before the holiday season, it is likely that messages of caution will now be hammered out.

The return to more tests

The Scientific Council has not questioned the end of free tests for the unvaccinated, but called for the fastest possible diagnoses after the appearance of a symptom of Covid-19. Even in people who have been vaccinated. The government could thus adjust its policy, recalling the importance of getting tested.

As a reminder, one month after the end of their automatic reimbursement, the number of antigenic tests carried out had decreased by 60%. If the screening test is paying for the non-vaccinated, it is no longer for the contact cases of a patient and on the prescription of a doctor.

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