Figures show the Covid-19 epidemic in France appears to be in slight retreat now in comparison to the wave of infections in recent weeks. Older people are still at higher risk of hospitalisation.
The latest figures from health authority Santé publique France (SPF) show that cases of Covid may be dropping slightly, but there has been a “slight increase in hospitalisations” among older people in connection with suspected Covid cases.
The figures come after a rise in cases over the past few months and weeks. SPF said that “most indicators showed a drop” for the week of October 2 to 8, with a 7% overall drop in urgent hospitalisations due to suspected Covid compared to the week before.
The level of incidence (the number of confirmed cases per 100,000 residents) also dropped week-on-week to 43, figures from laboratories nationwide showed.
However SPF did highlight that there are still significant “age disparities” in the results. Older and more vulnerable people saw a “slight increase in hospitalisations” due to suspected Covid complications, it said.
France is once again analysing wastewater to track the spread of Covid as cases rose over the past few weeks and the country braces for a possible triple epidemic of flu, bronchiolitis, and Covid, as happened in the winter of 2022-23.
However wastewater analysis showed a stable presence of Covid-19 from October 2 to 8, compared to the previous week, said Damien Mouly, head of the SUM'Eau project for SPF, at a press conference on October 5.
Wastewater analysis is considered useful because it is “independent from testing practices”, even though it does not offer analysts any insight into the age or demographic of the virus spread, said Mr Mouly.
This is particularly pertinent now as the number of tests being done nationwide has dropped hugely since the peak of the pandemic.
Wastewater analysis can also offer insights ahead of other methods Mr Mouly added, and can give a picture of trends around a week earlier than looking at GP or hospital reports alone.
Vaccinations, bronchiolitis, and flu
People at risk of developing serious illness from Covid-19 are encouraged to get a free Covid vaccination booster as part of the new campaign, which launched at the start of this month (October).
SPF has started releasing its Covid updates alongside bronchiolitis figures as the winter epidemic of the condition - which mainly affects infants - has begun, notably in Ile-de-France.
The annual winter flu vaccination campaign has also started although SPF said that the country is not yet in a flu epidemic and is only seeing a few “sporadic” cases.