Tuesday 16th of July 2024

getfukt point (point balek) — THE PANDEMIC ISN'T OVER…..

Last round of information from the [French] Scientific Council

Neither "testament" nor "feedback", this latest opinion piece is rather "a compilation" and draws three scenarios for the coming months. The Council will cease to exist with the end of the health emergency — that is to say: now.


By Delphine Roucaute


“It’s a kind of goodbye today.” From his office, behind his computer screen, the president of the scientific council, Jean-François Delfraissy, organised, Thursday, July 21, the last conference of this weird scientific entity which appeared at the beginning of the Covid-19 health crisis. In a communication exercise in which they have encountered Covid-19 during their “two years and four months of diligent work”, the members of the council present their last opinion. Neither "testament" nor "feedback", this 75th opinion published the day before is rather "a compass" for the months to come. A precious document of 62 pages, which synthesises more than two years of expertise and scientific monitoring.


See the graphics: Covid-19: the epidemic dashboard


First observation without surprise: the pandemic is not over. First in the very short term, since the seventh wave is receding but has not yet reached its peak in the hospital. But also in the medium term, since we can expect appearances of new variants. If the virus now circulating is endemic, the strengthening of population immunity gives hope for better protection against the most serious forms of the disease. “This background suggests that the impact of SARS-CoV-2 will gradually decrease, but does not predict an absence of short-term spikes in virus circulation,” the scientists write.


Read also: Article reserved for our Covid-19 subscribers: what results for the scientific council, on the occasion of its announced end?


In fact, three scenarios are emerging for the coming months. First hypothesis: epidemic waves will continue to follow one another as new sub-variants of Omicron appear, as was the case in France with BA.1, followed by BA.2, then BA.5. All with less hospital impact than for the previous variants. 

Second scenario: a new seasonal wave in autumn of the same BA.5 sub-variant or another genetically close one, for which we can hope for a “manageable” hospital impact. 

Finally, a less favourable scenario: the emergence of an “X variant” that defeats immunity, even more severe, with an unpredictable impact. "It's probably not the most risky scenario, but it's possible," commented virologist Bruno Lina. 

“Omicron-related deaths have passed into a form of oblivion”....

In this epidemiological context, experts are asking themselves the question of what “living with the virus” means in concrete terms, the strategy adopted since the appearance of Omicron, at the end of December. 

More contamination, but less clinical severity: the hospital system managed to absorb the shock once again. However, in the past five months, 25,000 people have died from Covid-19. A higher figure in absolute terms than in previous waves, but “which has not yet aroused a particularly strong reaction amongst the population” we see in this statement. The strategy of “living with” admits “more or less tacitly […] that a significant number of serious forms and deaths will be socially accepted, even expected, as long as economic and social life as well as individual freedoms are preserved” . 

This is a necessarily bias to the detriment of the most vulnerable, such as the immunocompromised people, the elderly and other precarious populations far from care. “The deaths linked to Omicron have passed into a form of memory loss, insists Mr. Delfraissy. We dared to put it in black and white so that society has given up or accepted the unfortunate.”






Translation/adaptation by Jules Letambour



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masking up or hiding the problem?….

I am extremely concerned about the current COVID crisis and the lack of leadership from state and federal government around public health management and reintroducing restrictions (“Doctors alarmed by severity of latest Omicron wave”, smh.com.au, July 21).

My parents, aged 92 and 91, who live in a regional town, have contracted COVID this week. They are up-to-date with vaccinations and have followed every rule and advice. They are being cared for by my sister (they live independently). They are quite unwell and have been prescribed antivirals. My sister had difficulty accessing this medication for them – all antivirals are going to nursing homes experiencing outbreaks.

My mother-in-law, 91, who lives in another regional town, has also contracted COVID in the last few days. She became infected in hospital and is very unwell. She usually lives in her own home with support. The hospital is in lockdown and are so short-staffed the general manager is showering patients.

If any of these much loved and generally healthy nonagenarians die from this illness I will hold our political leaders responsible. They have allowed this virus to spread very rapidly this year. Political power appears a priority over peoples’ lives. 

Kathleen Fazio, Old Bar


This Omicron wave was predictable and avoidable. Science informed political leadership, consistent public health messaging, mask wearing and vaccination are key to helping stem it. While it was heartening to see Anthony Albanese donning an N95 mask at a recent press conference, it was disappointing he stated the public had no appetite for mask mandates. Does the public have an appetite for their loved ones dying needlessly and prematurely? The daily statistics are sobering, but the raw data cannot possibly encapsulate the grief felt by those relatives and friends left to mourn. What appetite is there for hospitals to be overwhelmed? Mask wearing alone is not enough to stem the tide of this latest wave, but the public may ultimately find mask wearing more palatable than the alternatives. 

Suzanne Leahy, Carlingford


A central tenet of medicine is that prevention is better than cure. A central tenet of politics is that an unpopular decision is delayed until it becomes glaringly obvious that there is no alternative. When it comes to mask mandates, it’s apparent that politics now has the upper hand. The eventual winner? The virus. The eventual loser? That would be us. 

Des Mulcahy, Orange 


We don’t like masks but we don’t want to risk the possible complications of long COVID so we have started wearing masks in group situations indoors – shopping, public transport, theatre (“Risk of long COVID is driven down by vaccination”, July 21). However, please let’s not have mask mandates; all that does is bring out misguided people disrupting the rest of us rabbiting on about “freedom” and puts small business people and their staff in the invidious situation of policing such idiots. It also wastefully diverts police resources. 

Michael McMullan, Avoca Beach


Last week I was admitted to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. Every one of the RPA staff was wearing a mask without complaint. I saw how much pressure RPA staff are under. I cannot overstate how impressed I was by the care and treatment I received from RPA. These people are a precious resource that I cannot believe the reluctance of governments to require masks in indoor public environments. We need to protect and support our protectors. It is a small thing for us to wear masks in supermarkets and buses. Make it mandatory. Now. And get boosted. 

Hugh Dillon, Drummoyne










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