Covid-19: The epidemic situation in France on the eve of Christmas, analysis by department

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The persistence of COVID-19 in France on the eve of Christmas celebrations

An epidemic context still worrying

The end of year holidays are approaching and with them the recurring question since 2020: will COVID-19 disrupt family gatherings? According to the latest press release from Public Health France dated December 20, 2023, it seems that the epidemic continues with stationary data but still at a high threshold both in medical consultations and in hospital services. There is a slight increase in weekly cases with a total of 36,895 new contaminations, marking an increase of 5.7% compared to the previous week.

This high plateau is particularly marked among the youngest, with a minimal increase in cases among children under 5 years old. Hospital emergencies recorded a small increase in admissions for COVID-19, which reflects a stable but stressed hospital reality.

Regional disparities in incidence

The latest estimates show a national incidence rate which is close to 54 per 100,000 inhabitants. However, this rate hides territorial inequalities where certain departments, such as Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin, display an alarming criticality with respective rates of 191.09 and 167.85 per 100,000 inhabitants. In contrast, the overseas territories seem less affected, although some, such as Guadeloupe, are observing a worrying progression of the epidemic.

It is important to clarify that only cases confirmed by PCR are taken into account here, antigen tests are not included in these data, which may lead to an underestimate of the real figures.

Variant JN.1: a monitored predominance

The French viral landscape is currently dominated by the JN.1 variant, which represents 52% of samples analyzed at the end of November. Despite its prevalence, health authorities have not reported any anxiety-provoking elements regarding its epidemiological behavior. However, cases are still under observation, allowing us to remain vigilant for any significant changes.

Health recommendations for the holidays

Faced with this situation, it is fundamental to continue to prioritize protective measures. Public Health France emphasizes the importance of vaccination against COVID-19 and influenza, particularly for groups at risk. The organization recalls that the systematic implementation of barrier gestures remains a key mechanism to avoid the transmission of respiratory infections during the celebrations.

As the virus continues to circulate throughout the country, certain caution is recommended to get through the holidays without major health incident. The situation will be closely monitored by the authorities who will adapt advice to the public according to epidemiological developments. Vacation departures and Christmas gatherings will therefore take place, once again, in the shadow of the virus.

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