Wednesday, 01 December, 2021

EXCLUSIVE – Covid: Institut Pasteur anticipates less than 3,000 intensive care patients at the end of November


According to updated projections from the Institut Pasteur, there would be less than 1,500 Covid patients in intensive care at the hospital in mid-December. The second wave was a little less violent than expected. Hospitals are starting to reschedule operations that had been suspended. More than 20% of Ile-de-France residents have already been infected.

While the number of Covid patients in intensive care is decreasing, the confined French are eager to see the day again.

This fall, a wave of Covid hit the French. It was less violent than expected, less sudden than in the spring, but sufficient to once again lead to a large number of deaths and to be frightened by the risk of seeing the hospitals completely overwhelmed.

This wave is falling. This is shown by the projections of the Institut Pasteur used by the public authorities to steer the health response and the restrictions imposed on the French. According to a document consulted by “Les Echos”, the number of Covid patients in “intensive care hospitalization” in metropolitan France would drop below 3,000 from November 30, that is to say on the eve of a probable relaxation of confinement – Emmanuel Macron is due to speak on this subject this Tuesday at 8 p.m.

On Monday, there were still 4,438 Covid patients in intensive care, the peak having been reached on November 16 with 4,903 beds occupied by these patients. The Institut Pasteur draws a relatively gentle slope, with less than 1,500 people in intensive care in hospitals as of December 14.

Thresholds not crossed

In the end, the planned thresholds were not crossed: neither the 9,000 resuscitation beds for the Covid, which corresponded to an assumption without previous containment or curfew, nor the 6,000 beds, based on the assumption of containment respected but less effective than in spring. Predicting less efficiency was rational, since in November the schools remained open and many working people continued to come to work. Nevertheless, we can suppose that the generalized wearing of the mask, the barrier gestures and the health education of the French have made the difference. As well as the beginning of a collective immunity effect in certain regions.

In addition, the reality may turn out to be more favorable than these projections. Because the scenario of the Institut Pasteur is based on a number of reproduction of the virus (number of people infected on average by each infected person) of 0.9 … while the Ministry of Health, for its part, expects a number of reproduction of 0.7. However, this rate could rise again with the reduction of restrictions.

Ultimately, the dangerous threshold of 70% of extended resuscitation capacities (or 7,300 beds, the maximum being 10,400 beds) was not reached nationally. It was still passed in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, where this second wave was much more violent than the first, and grazed in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

Gradual reprogramming

All patients combined, Covid or not, the intensive care units were 85% occupied on November 20, or 6,600 beds out of 7,785. As the Covid patients empty the premises, the other patients take their places – those who had to be “deprogrammed” since the eve of the All Saints holiday. “Since the end of last week, the beginning of this week, there has been a gradual reprogramming, but with a lot of caution”, confirmed the director of the Hospital Federation of France, Zaynab Riet, on Tuesday. “If resuscitation beds are disarmed, they must be able to be rearmed within 24 to 48 hours. And this logic must be coordinated with all the actors of the territory ”, she nuanced.

Similarly, medical evacuation operations for patients between regions or abroad have become scarce. Brittany, which has taken in many patients, hardly receives any more. Only Bourgogne-Franche-Comté continues to send a few Covid patients to the Grand Est, which suffered less from this second wave.

According to the Institut Pasteur, and this is another major information in this document, nearly 11% of French people have now been infected with Covid, with record rates in Ile-de-France (20.7%), in the Grand Est (14.6%) and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (13.6%). A small step towards collective immunity, therefore, while waiting for the vaccines.

Read also:

DOSSIER> Covid: the epidemic figures and the health response in France

DOSSIER> Reconfinement: what you need to know

DOSSIER> Vaccination campaign: what is being prepared in France

According to updated projections from the Institut Pasteur, there would be less than 1,500 Covid patients in intensive care at the hospital in mid-December. The second wave was a little less violent than expected. Hospitals are starting to reschedule operations that had been suspended. More than 20% of Ile-de-France residents have already been infected.

While the number of Covid patients in intensive care is decreasing, the confined French are eager to see the day again.

This fall, a wave of Covid hit the French. It was less violent than expected, less sudden than in the spring, but sufficient to once again lead to a large number of deaths and to be frightened by the risk of seeing the hospitals completely overwhelmed.

This wave is falling. This is shown by the projections of the Institut Pasteur used by the public authorities to steer the health response and the restrictions imposed on the French. According to a document consulted by “Les Echos”, the number of Covid patients in “intensive care hospitalization” in metropolitan France would drop below 3,000 from November 30, that is to say on the eve of a probable relaxation of confinement – Emmanuel Macron is due to speak on this subject this Tuesday at 8 p.m.

On Monday, there were still 4,438 Covid patients in intensive care, the peak having been reached on November 16 with 4,903 beds occupied by these patients. The Institut Pasteur draws a relatively gentle slope, with less than 1,500 people in intensive care in hospitals as of December 14.

Thresholds not crossed

In the end, the planned thresholds were not crossed: neither the 9,000 resuscitation beds for the Covid, which corresponded to an assumption without previous containment or curfew, nor the 6,000 beds, based on the assumption of containment respected but less effective than in spring. Predicting less efficiency was rational, since in November the schools remained open and many working people continued to come to work. Nevertheless, we can suppose that the generalized wearing of the mask, the barrier gestures and the health education of the French have made the difference. As well as the beginning of a collective immunity effect in certain regions.

In addition, the reality may turn out to be more favorable than these projections. Because the scenario of the Institut Pasteur is based on a number of reproduction of the virus (number of people infected on average by each infected person) of 0.9 … while the Ministry of Health, for its part, expects a number of reproduction of 0.7. However, this rate could rise again with the reduction of restrictions.

Ultimately, the dangerous threshold of 70% of extended resuscitation capacities (or 7,300 beds, the maximum being 10,400 beds) was not reached nationally. It was still passed in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, where this second wave was much more violent than the first, and grazed in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

Gradual reprogramming

All patients combined, Covid or not, the intensive care units were 85% occupied on November 20, or 6,600 beds out of 7,785. As the Covid patients empty the premises, the other patients take their places – those who had to be “deprogrammed” since the eve of the All Saints holiday. “Since the end of last week, the beginning of this week, there has been a gradual reprogramming, but with a lot of caution”, confirmed the director of the Hospital Federation of France, Zaynab Riet, on Tuesday. “If resuscitation beds are disarmed, they must be able to be rearmed within 24 to 48 hours. And this logic must be coordinated with all the actors of the territory ”, she nuanced.

Similarly, medical evacuation operations for patients between regions or abroad have become scarce. Brittany, which has taken in many patients, hardly receives any more. Only Bourgogne-Franche-Comté continues to send a few Covid patients to the Grand Est, which suffered less from this second wave.

According to the Institut Pasteur, and this is another major information in this document, nearly 11% of French people have now been infected with Covid, with record rates in Ile-de-France (20.7%), in the Grand Est (14.6%) and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (13.6%). A small step towards collective immunity, therefore, while waiting for the vaccines.

Read also:

DOSSIER> Covid: the epidemic figures and the health response in France

DOSSIER> Reconfinement: what you need to know

DOSSIER> Vaccination campaign: what is being prepared in France