For this fourth wave, the patients are increasingly young, note all the resuscitators, in the grip of a fourth wave, pushed by the meteoric spread of the delta variant.
We currently have a 40-year-old woman in intensive care
," lamented last week to Le Figaro Doctor Ferhat Meziani, head of department at the New Civil Hospital (NHC).
We took in a 33-year-old, without comorbidities,
" notes Professor Marc Leone, resuscitator at Marseille University Hospital.
A youth which worries more and more the doctors.
The waves follow one another but our patients are younger
," adds Professor Erika Parmentier, resuscitator in Lille
The hardest part is to think that these patients should not die.
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Unlike the first wave where the average age of hospitalized patients was 68, then 72 during the second, it is now 59, according to the latest report from Public Health France.
In critical care, the age has also fallen sharply.
If it was between 63 and 70 during the previous waves, the very old people being very often not admitted there, it goes down today to 57 years.
Evolution of the median age of intensive care patients - August 5, 2021 Public health France
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High incidence rate and unvaccinated
How can we explain that young people are sicker than in previous waves?
First, more mobile and sometimes less attentive to barrier gestures, the virus circulates more in this class of population.
With an incidence rate approaching 1,000 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in some regions, they become more contaminated than the rest of the population.
We also told them for a year that they feared nothing and did not risk developing serious forms
", explains Professor Alexandre Bleibtreu, head of the infectious disease department at Pitié-Salpêtrière (Paris).
Incidence rate by age group - August 6, 2021 CovidTracker
It's a purely structural effect
," analyzed epidemiologist Henri Leleu.
Young people are less likely to go to intensive care than the elderly, but they are less vaccinated, and vaccination mainly protects against the risk of developing serious forms.
“In fact, looking at the vaccination rate, those under 50 are almost half as fully vaccinated as their elders.
Proportion of the French population vaccinated by age group - August 6, 2021 CovidTracker
However, people over 70 are not fully spared by the fourth wave.
Look at the four curves below, representing the evolution of the incidence rate, hospitalization and admission to critical care, the three age groups (20-39 years, 40-69 years and> 70 years ) experience the same upward slope.
Change in incidence, hospitalization and critical care admission rates by age group - August 5, 2021 Santé Publique France
We can not say that the Delta variant especially causes more serious forms in young people,
" said Mircea Sofonea, lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Montpellier. If this hypothesis is ruled out today by scientists, "
it will nevertheless be necessary to wait several months, as for the Alpha variant, to establish a real body of study which will allow us to know what it is
", warned the epidemiologist in our paper devoted to severe forms in the youngest.