If we have indeed left 2020 behind us, the coronavirus for its part is still present, and expanding. The WHO warns that the start of the year will not be as serene as some might expect.
After a trying year, the arrival of 2021 was seen by many as the symbolic burial of what English speakers have dubbed the dumpster fire (« fire of trash “) that was 2020. Despite this ritual passage, if certain habits will be modified and good resolutions adopted, the pandemic, she, continues to run its inexorable course ignoring the schedule. After a significant movement of people during the holidays, there is no doubt for theWHO that the start of the year could prove to be particularly difficult.
A not so serene start to the year
As can easily be seen from statistics, far from improving, the situation continues to deteriorate in many countries. In the United States, the numbers have exploded following the celebration of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, with a quarter of a million new infections reported every day. Japan to declare new state of emergency as country experiences third vague the most deadly. As for Europe, it is, with the Americas, the continent experiencing the worst upsurge in the world. virus. In France alone, nearly 3,000 deaths have been counted over the past week.
« Several countries are experiencing incredibly intense transmission », comments Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO pandemic management officer. « There are some really frightening numbers in terms of cases, hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units. And with the outcome of the family celebrations, she says, expect them to get even worse. ” We are starting to see it now and will see it in the coming weeks. In many countries, the situation will get worse before it gets better. »
« The cavalry arrives … »
The distribution of vaccines around the globe will undoubtedly be a crucial element in slowing down, and hopefully containing, the pandemic; But meanwhile, experts call on citizens to remain vigilant.
We still have three or six months of a very, very difficult path ahead of us. But we can do it.
« We still have three or six months of a very, very difficult path ahead of us. But we can do it Says Michael Ryan, WHO emergency officer. ” The cavalry arrives, the vaccines are coming, but, for most people in the world, they’re not there yet. “Caution therefore remains in order for several more months, admitting that a sufficiently large segment of the population agrees to be vaccinated.
Finally, the recent mutations of the virus are also bearers of bad news, with two new variants plus contagious than their stem form (D614G). Fortunately, the severity of the disease does not appear to be affected by these changes and nothing seems to indicate that their circulation dangerously jeopardizes the effectiveness of the vaccines developed to date. There is therefore hope for this new year which is beginning, but victory will only be obtained at the cost of a collective effort!
Covid-19: what are the scenarios for 2021?
Article by Celine Deluzarche, published on January 5, 2021
L’emergence of coronavirus in January 2020 took the whole world by surprise. Duration of the’immunity, mode of transmission, contagiousness and side effects … Discoveries and mysteries have accumulated; theepidemic experiences mood swings that are difficult to anticipate. Between hope of the vaccination and fears of mutation, what can we hope for “year 2” of the Covid?
No one had seen the coronavirus pandemic coming and even less predicted its evolution in 2020. Many experts initially thought that it would be limited to Southeast Asia, like the previous one SRAS, then they explained to us that the virus would trigger tens of millions of deaths in a few months. None of this happened. It therefore appears difficult to make forecasts for next year. But, thanks to the extraordinarily rapid advances in science, a little more is still known about how this might play out in 2021.
Will vaccination make people forget the virus?
« Within a month, 2.25 million people will have been vaccinated [en Israël]. Once that’s done, we can get out of the coronavirus, reopen the economy, and do things that no other country in the world can do. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prophesies. Some countries, which have stepped up the pace by matter of vaccination, may well quickly achieve collective immunity allowing them to return to an almost normal life. According to an Italian study, 30,000 deaths will be prevented in 2021 in Italy thanks to vaccination if 80% of the population at risk are vaccinated.
Unfortunately, France risks coming out in the last of the epidemic, given its reluctance to vaccinate and the reluctance of its population who is the world’s most skeptical about vaccines. We should therefore probably expect to endure several more waves in France, as well as containments or curfews, and to have to remain masked for a good while.
A mutation of the virus?
This is the great fear of scientists: a mutation virus that would make the vaccine ineffective or more dangerous. The recent appearance of new virus variant in England, up to 70% more transmissible, thus led to the general containment of the country in December. But, so far, these mutations remain too minor to affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. Nevertheless, the risk is high: more than 300,000 mutations of the Sars-CoV-2 have been sequenced around the world and the more the virus circulates, the more likely it is to mutate to adapt to its host.
Not enough to panic vaccine manufacturers. ” We are able to deliver a new vaccine in six weeks », Thus affirms the head of BioNTech, the German laboratory which, with Pfizer, originated the first vaccine against Covid-19. Vaccine technology ARN messenger has, in fact, revolutionized the industry with a development in record time and an unparalleled efficiency compared to conventional vaccines.
More effective treatments?
More than a year after the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, we still do not have any really effective medicine to fight the infection, despite the 2,358 clinical tests currently in progress, depending on the site Covid-nma, led by Cochrane France. The antivirals tested during the Solidarity trial led by the WHO (remdesivir, lopinavir, interferon beta and hydroxychloroquine) have proven ineffective. No more news of the famous miracle drug from the Institut Pasteur. Le Regeneron, le cocktail d’antibody which was administered to Donald Trump, has shown some efficacy for patients hospitalized on oxygen. The track of the vitamin D has also been advanced.
« There will be no miracle cure ”, assured early September Thomas Cueni, Director General of IFPMA (International Federation of Producers and Pharmaceutical Organizations). ” We will need different treatments, aimed at different types of patient groups and at different stages of disease progression ».
What dynamics for the pandemic?
« The virus is circulating in France at a speed that even the most pessimistic forecasts had not anticipated “, Explained Emmanuel Macron on October 28 to justify the second confinement. Except that a few days later, before we could even see the effect of the latter, the curve flexed in an equally inexplicable way.
Many epidemiological models have been developed to try to predict the evolution of the epidemic, but the number of parameters is so high (compliance with barrier measures, effective reproduction rate, formation of clusters, proportion of asymptomatic, etc.) that all of them turned out to be quite ineffective. In March, the team of epidemiologist Neil Ferguson of theImperial College in London, predicted up to 500,000 deaths in France in the absence of containment measures. We can all the same cautiously advance some forecasts. Suppose, for example, that cold and humid weather plays an unfavorable role, which should lead to a slowdown in the circulation of the virus this summer, which will also be encouraged by the progress of vaccination campaigns.
« The virus is with us forever », Warned Catherine Smallwood, responsible for emergency situations at WHO-Europe, last November. The two dominant hypotheses are an eradication of the virus by vaccination or collective immunity, or even a trivialization of the virus which would become endemic like those of the common cold.
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