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Covid-19, what to know this week: Omicron alert


The new variant of Sars-Cov-2, identified in South Africa, panics the planet. Hello, Covid news is dominated by the announcement last Thursday of the discovery of a highly transmissible variant in South Africa. Already present in ten countries, the so-called Omicron worries scientists and managers. With an air of déjà vu, countries are shutting themselves behind their borders , the world economy is shaking and pharmaceutical companies are busy. Should we be afraid of Omicr


Covid news is dominated by the announcement last Thursday of the discovery of a highly transmissible variant in South Africa.

Already present in ten countries, the so-called


worries scientists and managers.

With an air of déjà vu, countries are shutting themselves behind their


, the

world economy is

shaking and pharmaceutical companies are busy.

Should we be afraid of Omicron?

Will the


have his skin?

But beware, "

the real enemy is the fifth wave with the Delta variant

", reminded Jean-François Delfraissy this morning.

This week, it's 50 shades of Omicron or almost.

Good reading,

Camille Lestienne, journalist at

Le Figaro

1. Omicron sows panic

Airlines suspended many flights from Johannesburg airport last weekend after the discovery of the Omicron variant.


In the world.

It is called Omicron, like the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. After the appearance of many variants which have not or little prospered except the Delta which has become the majority, the B 1.1.529 variant of Sars-Cov-2 is causing the planet to panic. Detected on November 8 or 9 in South Africa, it has since been reported in a dozen countries in Europe and Asia. While the WHO considers it "worrying", countries are imposing new travel restrictions. Will this be enough to stop the progression of the variant? This is not a miracle solution, but specialists agree that closing borders can slow the epidemic dynamic. What is currently known about this new variant is that it exhibits many disturbing mutations and appears to be highly transmissible. In South Africa,it quickly takes precedence over the Delta variant. However, its dangerousness is not yet known nor its ability to bypass the immune system. And hence his resistance to the vaccine. Another possibility is mentioned by scientists: that the Omicron variant, more transmissible but less lethal, takes the place of the Delta variant. Which would be good news, but quite improbable according to the experts interviewed byquite improbable, however, according to the experts interviewed byquite improbable, however, according to the experts interviewed by

Le Figaro


Read alsoCovid-19: the new Omicron variant continues to grow

In France.

At the end of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced the tightening of travel conditions, including for the vaccinated. He also specified that there were currently 13 suspected cases of the Omicron variant in France, and that there will be others "

in the coming days, or even the next hours

". This is the case this Thursday morning when a case was confirmed in Ile-de-France. Any contact, even vaccinated, of a person infected with the new variant must be isolated. But for the moment, it is the Delta variant which is causing a fifth wave in France. "

The health situation is worsening very clearly, and very quickly in our territory

“, Also underlined Gabriel Attal pointing to a 40% increase in hospital admissions.

According to new calculations by the modeling teams at the Institut Pasteur, the effects of the epidemic resumption could be attenuated by maintaining barrier gestures and the third dose of vaccine.

Read alsoIs France poorly monitoring the appearance of the Omicron variant?

The figures to remember in France

  • 1886

    patients in critical care (+62 since the day before)

  • 10,558

    hospitalized patients (+309 since the day before)

  • 49,610

    new cases detected in 24 hours (against 32,591 last Wednesday)

  • 96

    deaths in 24 hours (119,227 deaths since the start of the epidemic)

Source: Public health France as of December 1

2. Vaccines put to the test by Omicron

Will the vaccines be effective against the Omicron variant?


Third dose


The government is banking on the acceleration of the recall campaign to halt the spread of the epidemic.

You still have to find a niche to get vaccinated.

Faced with the traffic jam observed on reservation platforms, the executive promises to increase the activity of vaccination centers and an increase in vaccinations for pharmacists who would vaccinate on weekends.

All the necessary injections can take place within "

seven to eight weeks.

», Emphasizes Olivier Véran. Good news: according to hospital data, recent tests and vaccinations, analyzed by the Directorate of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (DREES), the effectiveness of the third dose is confirmed. It improves vaccine protection to around 95%. For the Scientific Council, the Omicron variant reinforces the importance of the third dose in France.

"Everything that will be done against Delta will be useful against Omicron"

, underlined Professor Arnaud Fontanet during the press conference on Monday.

"The protection will probably be reduced, but it will not disappear completely,"

for his part reassured the infectious disease specialist Yazdan Yazdanpanah. Experts interviewed by

Le Figaro

go in the same direction: the third dose of the current vaccines should protect against the Omicron variant.

Read alsoThird dose: have the vaccines been adapted to the variants?

The figures to remember in France

  • 52 million

    people received a first dose (77.1% of the population).

  • 50.9 million

    French people have a complete vaccination schedule (75.5% of the population).

  • 8.2 million

    booster doses administered.

Source: Directorate General of Health on December 1

Vaccination of children.

In an opinion published on Tuesday, the High Authority for Health (HAS) recommends vaccinating children at risk of a severe form of Covid-19 (chronic liver, heart or respiratory disease, neurological pathology, immunodeficiency, obesity, diabetes, malignant hemopathy, sickle cell anemia and trisomy 21).

The pediatric formulation of the Pfizer vaccine, with a suitable dosage, is expected to be available in Europe from December 20.

The HAS is not yet pronouncing on the extension of vaccination to all children from 5 to 11 years old.

It will then be necessary to balance a very moderate risk of serious form in children and the general interest, while the incidence rate is soaring in schoolchildren.

Read alsoWhat is hiding the rise in the incidence rate of Covid-19 among the youngest?

3. The quote

Unfortunately this virus will not go away and we will have to learn to live with it, as we did with the flu.

Annual reminders will be necessary.

Stéphane Bancel, President of Moderna


Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, returns for

Le Figaro

on the incredible journey of his company founded in 2010, its ambitions, the specificities of messenger RNA, hopes for vaccines and the fight against cancer. Regarding Omicron, "

it is possible that the existing vaccines are less effective against this variant, we will know more in the coming weeks

", he concedes while detailing the ongoing trials to adapt the vaccine to RNA messenger to this new mutation of Sars-CoV-2. That said, "

given the uncertainty around this new variant and the fifth wave, the number one priority at this stage is to administer the boosters as quickly as possible

," he recalls.

4. Will Omicron weigh on growth?

Air transport and tourism are concerned about the repercussions of the Omicron variant on their business.


Dark scenarios

. With the discovery of Omicron and the closing of borders, the airline industry is already suffering. As for tourism, it trembles with the approach of the end of year celebrations.

"The activity forecasts for this winter are completely called into question,

laments to Le


, René-Marc Chikli, president of Seto, the union of French tour operators.

A large part of tour operators hoped to achieve between 50% and 80% of their activity in 2019. This is no longer relevant to anyone. "

Omicron variant "

could pose a threat to recovery

Global economy, warned the OECD on Wednesday.

While economists redo their calculations on global growth, the leaders of the planet oscillate between caution and alarmism and the financial markets see red, says Florentin Collomp of the economy department of



In France, growth is still there for 2021 with GDP up 3% in the 3rd quarter.

and then?

Bruno Le Maire like the Medef want to be reassuring and refuse to give in to panic.

Caterers are already calling for the return of “whatever the cost”.

According to a professional organization, more than 430 receptions were canceled in a week.

Read also The tricolor addiction to "whatever the cost"

5. Pass and masks

Health pass.

The health pass is required to go to places of culture and leisure accommodating more than 50 people (cinema, theater, concerts, festivals, etc.). The same goes for restaurants, bars, indoors and outdoors, in trains, buses and planes, retirement homes and medical establishments. Places of worship are not affected. It is compulsory to go to shopping centers of more than 20,000 m², if the department's incidence rate is greater than 200. Since September 30, young people aged 12 to 17 are also subject to it. As a reminder, the health pass is not a vaccination certificate. For it to be valid, you must either be fully vaccinated (with a booster dose at most seven months after the last injection from January 15,December 15 for those over 65), either present a negative PCR or antigen test of less than 24 hours or proof of cure (a positive test) of more than 11 days and less than 6 months. It is in the form of a QR code stored in the TousAntiCovid application or in paper format.

Read also Health pass: instructions for use, people concerned, penalties ... What you need to know about the law definitively adopted

Wearing a mask

is always compulsory in enclosed places subject to the health pass and outside when distancing is not possible (markets, queues, station platforms, etc.).

Some municipalities or departments have reimposed the mask outdoors.

Since November 15, it is again compulsory for children in primary schools located in all departments regardless of the incidence rate.

Read also Covid-19: the map of the departments which reimpose the wearing of the mask outdoors

A certificate to travel.

Since July 1, Europeans can travel more easily within the continent thanks to certified evidence of vaccination or negative tests brought together in a single document.

In digital or paper format.

Please note, however, that each country can continue to apply specific rules.

Read alsoCovid-19: where can we travel?

Our map of open countries and restrictions for French tourists

6. Reflexes to keep

The virus is transmitted by droplets and aerosols.

The barrier gestures detailed by the Ministry of Health must be observed to protect themselves and others:

  • Wash your hands regularly or use hydroalcoholic gel

  • Cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow

  • Use disposable tissues

  • Wear a mask in public areas when the distance of two meters cannot be respected

  • Avoid touching your face

  • Air the rooms as often as possible, at least a few minutes every hour

  • Greet without shaking hands and stop the hugs

7. What to do in case of symptoms?

The disease manifests itself with several symptoms, most often cough and fever.

The most important thing is to get tested.

According to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, you should, in case of symptoms, stay at home and contact your doctor who will prescribe a test.

While waiting for the result, you must isolate yourself, wear a mask and prepare a list of people you could have infected.

If the test is positive,

the isolation should last 10 days from the first symptoms.

Read alsoFifth wave of Covid-19: what to do when you are "in contact"?

See you next week.

Source: lefigaro

All tech articles on 2021-12-02

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