A month and a half after its detection in South Africa, the Omicron variant already represents nearly 90% of new cases of Covid-19 in France. “Much more contagious, much less dangerous”, its impact appears however difficult to anticipate, especially as the Delta variant continues to circulate at a high level. Of the approximately 400,000 people infected every day, how many will need to be hospitalized? How many beds should be provided for conventional hospitalization and intensive care according to the patient profile? To what extent can we draw conclusions from what is happening in other countries? It is to all these questions that the modelers of the Institut Pasteur are trying to answer in an analysis posted online on Wednesday January 12, in order to specify the scenarios developed at the end of December 2021 from the first available data.
To do this, the researchers compared their curves to those traced by the virus over the last fifteen days, in order to rule out all the scenarios that deviated from them and only keep the most “Probable”. According to the most likely hypotheses now – a virus that is both 80% more transmissible and 80% less severe – up to 5,200 people per day could be hospitalized at the peak of the epidemic if the current trajectory does not change. . If it appears that upon returning from vacation the French have reduced their contacts by 10%, the peak could be reduced to 3,600 – the level reached during the first peak in 2020 – or even 2,500, if this reduction is 20%.
“The impact of control measures – including teleworking – and behavioral changes is very uncertain. These figures are orders of magnitude ”, specifies Simon Cauchemez, modeler at the Institut Pasteur and member of the scientific council. “A little effort from everyone can have a big impact and relieve the hospital. We must not forget it “, he insists.
Up to 6,000 people in critical care
In conventional hospitalization, the number of patients to be treated simultaneously could rise to 32,000, 23,000 and 17,000 depending on whether the contacts are reduced by 0%, 10% or 20%. In intensive care, taking into account a much lower probability of admission with Omicron than with Delta, patients could occupy 6,000, 4,700 or 3,900 beds respectively. More optimistic or more pessimistic scenarios are also considered. For example if the patients, less seriously affected, spend less time in the hospital or if the recall campaign advances less quickly than expected – 800,000 booster injections in the model against less than 600,000 in reality. “In all scenarios, the peak of hospital admissions is expected in the second half of January, with a maximum impact on bed occupancy at the end of January-during February. The peak of infections is expected in mid-January “, specify the modelers.
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