All indicators of the Covid-19 pandemic are down.
Over the period from November 9 to 15, new confirmed cases of contamination fell by 40%, hospitalizations by 13% and admissions in intensive care by 9% compared to the previous week.
Deaths seem to them to stabilize "for the first time in several weeks of increase" with, over this same period, 3,756 victims of the disease.
The French Public Health agency, which published these trends Thursday evening in its weekly epidemiological update, sees the combined effect of the curfews introduced in several agglomerations in France from October 17, then of the general reconfinement from from 30.
However, this good news should be taken with a grain of salt.
Because if "the peak of the second wave has probably been crossed", as the health agency emphasizes, "the indicators remain at high levels".
Thus, there are currently some 32,000 patients hospitalized following a coronavirus infection.
This is 10,000 more than the number of beds occupied when the re-containment was declared.
The curves should logically continue to fall in the coming days, as has been the case continuously since Tuesday.
"In the short term, the slow decrease in pressure on hospital services will continue," estimates Mircea Sofonea, epidemiologist and specialist in the modeling of infectious diseases at the University of Montpellier.
On the other hand, the whole issue for the next few days will be that of controlling the circulation of the virus after December 1.
Difficult to go below 5,000 cases per day
The epidemiologist is particularly concerned about the very slow downward trend in the level of the reproduction rate, called "effective R" and corresponding to the number of people who, on average, are in turn infected by a single carrier of the virus.
“Even with a rate below the 1 bar, around 0.8 and 0.9 as currently, we will be at more than 5,000 new cases per day, generalized confinement or not, warns Mircea Sofonea.
We can expect a dip in mid-December for hospital admissions, but a slow rise then if we play with fire with less restrictive health rules in the weeks to come.
Like many of his colleagues, the epidemiologist is campaigning for more anticipatory work on the part of the health authorities to avoid a third wave.
“They ignored the strong signals that appeared in July and August, regrets Mircea Sofonea.
The national re-containment was an admission of failure whereas more local or regional isolation strategies could have avoided the situation in which we are today.
Epidemiologist and biostatistician Catherine Hill pleads for massive screening of the entire population, "the only strategy to control the epidemic, containment only slowing it down".