D-5, and all signals appear green.
As the second phase of deconfinement approaches, the health situation has clearly improved in Ile-de-France, the region most affected by this “third wave” of the Covid-19 epidemic.
The incidence in sharp decline
The incidence rate, that is to say the number of positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past week, has fallen below the value 300 in all the departments of Ile-de-France, for the first time since February 18.
Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-d'Oise and Val-de-Marne remain slightly more affected than the others.
This rate rose to 266 region-wide, almost three times lower than the peak at the end of March, and the drop reached as much as -20% in one week.
"It is decreasing rapidly and we did not necessarily expect such a drop, it is rather a good surprise", recognizes epidemiologist Pascal Crepey.
However, the incidence remains very high, since it has not yet returned to the maximum alert threshold (250).
As always, the possible reasons are many and difficult to disentangle: braking measures taken in March, closure of schools, arrival of milder weather, etc.
The number of tests carried out each day also fell sharply until the end of April, especially among children and adolescents due to the closure of schools, before rising slightly.
But the positivity rate has been declining continuously for two weeks, which is reassuring.
Covid blood pressure drop in hospital
This very clear decline began to be felt in the hospital.
60 Covid patients are admitted to critical care (resuscitation, intensive care, continuous monitoring) every day in Ile-de-France, against 140 in mid-April.
The number of patients hospitalized in these most serious wards rose in three weeks from 1800 to nearly 1300. As the incidence is still decreasing, “everything indicates that the situation will continue to improve at the hospital level, especially in the wards. resuscitation ”, anticipates Pascal Crepey.
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"Unacceptable", say epidemiologists
But this does not automatically mean that the overall tension is relieved, since the beds are sometimes immediately occupied by other patients.
We are also still above the peak of the “second wave”, during which up to 1,150 Covid patients were hospitalized in critical care.
The challenge: accelerate vaccination
Can we anticipate a gradual extinction of the Covid-19 epidemic? "Scalded cat fears cold water," warns Pascal Crepey. “In December, we managed to control the second wave and we were on a sort of high plateau. Then, we saw what happened, ”recalls the epidemiologist, referring to the spread of the“ British ”variant, which is more transmissible. It is difficult to predict what consequences will have the increase in social contacts linked to the reopening of terraces, museums, cinemas and all shops next Wednesday.
Other variants have appeared in the meantime, including those called “South African” and “Brazilian” which represent more than 11% of the positive tests screened in Ile-de-France.
A first family cluster of an “Indian” variant has also been identified in the region.
Messenger RNA vaccines seem to remain fairly effective, but we are still a long way from collective immunity.
Only 32% of adults over 18 have received at least one dose in the region, placing Ile-de-France behind all other regions.
"We do not realize how lucky we are to have a vaccine," proclaims infectious disease specialist Benjamin Davido, who calls for the campaign to be accelerated.
In his department at Raymond-Poincaré hospital (Garches), “all Covid patients are between 30 and 65 years old.
»Proof of the effectiveness of vaccination, which primarily benefited the elderly.