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New wave of Covid in South Africa: should we fear a sixth wave in France?

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Yasmina Kattou, edited by Solène Leroux

South Africa is facing a sharp increase in Covid-19 contaminations. An epidemic resumption, the fifth, due to sub-variants of Omicron named BA4 and BA5. According to a South African epidemiologist, what is happening in the country “can guide the whole world”. Should we fear a sixth wave in France?

Covid-19 contaminations are on the rise again in South Africa. An epidemic resumption due to sub-variants of Omicron named BA4 and BA5, it is therefore the fifth wave. The country has gone from some 1,200 cases per day to more than 6,500 in three weeks. According to a South African epidemiologist, what is happening in the country “can guide the whole world”. Following the data from South Africa, should we fear a sixth wave in France?

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For the time being, there is no risk that the epidemic will resume in France because of the BA4 and BA5 variants, for several reasons. First, these Omicron sub-variants have been present in the country since late December and have not taken over BA2. According to the authorities, two contaminations at BA4 and BA5 have been identified.

Not impossible next fall

Second reason, “summer is coming”, explains Mircea Sofonea, epidemiologist. “We are heading towards longer and hotter days. By being outside more and airing more regularly, this situation, coupled with the current regression of the epidemic, means that new variants, whatever they are , have more difficulty settling in”, assures the specialist at the microphone of Europe 1. However, South Africa, on the contrary, is heading towards winter and cool temperatures.

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It should be added to this that in France, more than 70% of the population received two doses, against barely 30% of South Africans. On the other hand, the scientists do not rule out an epidemic resumption, with sub-variants of Omicron or with a new variant, probably next fall.

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