January 29, 2023


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Will the situation in China set us back two years? An epidemiologist’s analysis of the evolution of Covid

The situation in China is dire. The number of Covid cases in the country is rising again, while it is once again authorizing foreign travel. Health experts from EU member states are meeting this Wednesday from 3pm to decide whether Europe will make Covid tests mandatory for travelers arriving from Europe, yes or no.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), figures released by China do not indicate a resurgence of the epidemic in the country. The figures are really low, especially in terms of hospitalizations and deaths. So epidemiologist Simon Delecore was on the set of RTL INFO 7 pm to update us on this file. Are we in a situation like in 2020 where there is a threat from China without accurate information from the country? For this epidemiologist, no. The situation is there “Fortunately” Completely different from 2020.

“Firstly, in the last three years, this virus has spread widely among us in Europe. Second, there is also a very important vaccination campaign in Europe. The combination of these two events has a very significant protection against us. Extreme forms on the European continent. That is, even if a certain proportion of the virus is circulating, the number of this virus We have fewer hospitalizations due toSimon Delecore explains.

At this point, we no longer find ourselves in a situation where people are vulnerable and develop significant symptoms. So these new varieties are not really a threat to Europe. But why re-establish formal tests for Chinese nationals? According to Simon Delecore, the effectiveness of such formal tests may actually be somewhat limited. “Unless they’re really coupled with what’s called genomic surveillance, sequencing a certain number of these viruses to get their genome and identify variants.”, he said. China is actually a “Blind Spot” Based on genetic monitoring. “We have a less precise idea of ​​the variations that are circulating there.”

But in recent days, China has pinpointed the variations in circulation. Data published and “We confirm that the variants currently circulating in China are consistent with variants already circulating in our country, and are in fact subtypes of Omicron, which we know very well here.”

The situation in America is also worrying

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Besides China, health officials are also watching what’s happening in the United States. A new variant of the virus appeared. XBB.1.5 sub variant. More than 40% of viruses detected in American soil. In New York it rises to 70%. Although it looks very contagious, nothing indicates that it will cause stronger symptoms than we already know.

XBB.1.5. A combination of existing omicron subspecies. The two toured Belgium last March. It has already been detected in our country: there are 2 cases in Belgium, but of course there are more. It’s faster and easier to share but no less dangerous than its ancestors. So you don’t have to worry.

We are currently focused on China but risk may come from other countries. For Simon Delecore, this again underlines the importance of keeping your eyes open and getting a real-time idea of ​​the nature of the variations that are sweeping the globe. “Thanks to genetic surveillance in the United States, this new variant was discovered and we were able to identify that its growth rate is significant, an advantage in terms of transmission compared to other types that were in circulation. And we can see that this growth rate is the same across the United States.”

If it spreads to us, it will be similar to the epidemic waves caused by other omicron subspecies. Although we sometimes talk more and sometimes less, Covid never leaves the front of the stage. “For example, in recent months, the viruses that cause bronchitis and the viruses that cause seasonal flu have combined, and these viruses have put even more pressure on our hospital system.”

“Covid remains a science news story that we need to continue to study and analyze, especially analyzing these popular variants to understand the evolution of the epidemic in a more comprehensive way.”The epidemiologist concludes.

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