Coronavirus in France: a rebound in the epidemic brought about by sub-variants of Omicron

Nurse at the Timone hospital, in Marseille, on December 31, 2021. AP - Daniel Cole

Text by: RFI Follow

2 mins

As in many European countries, France is facing a rebound in the Covid-19 epidemic, driven in particular by a sub-variant of Omicron, called BA.5.


Read more

In France, the incidence rate has fallen from around 180 per 100,000 inhabitants at the end of May to 480 currently – there has been an average of 40,000 daily cases over the past few days.

The number of hospital admissions is starting to rise nationally, not everywhere.

For the time being, this rebound in contamination does not worry Professor Frédéric Adnet, interviewed by

Valérie Cohen


from the France service of RFI


He is head of the emergency department at the Avicenne hospital in Bobigny in the Paris region and medical director of the Samu de Seine-St-Denis.


We do not observe, neither in intensive care, nor in infectious disease services, nor in emergencies, a real rebound of the same magnitude.

So, everything happens as in the population

: the virus circulates, infects people, but this epidemic rebound has no severity criteria that would jeopardize - I say for the moment - our hospital structures which are weakened by the lack of caregivers

 ," he said.


Quite Confident


Professor Adnet says he is “ 

quite confident”.

I see that in Portugal, which suffered the same wave of this new sub-variant, there was not a tidal wave at the hospital level

 ”, he continues.

The country saw a marked increase in new cases in May, which peaked in early June at nearly 30,000 contagions per day.

The wave has since started to recede.

The recovery is explained by the conjunction of two effects, explains to AFP Mircea T. Sofonea, lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Montpellier.

On the one hand, an “ 

immune decline

 ”, that is to say that “ 

the protection conferred by an infection or a dose of vaccine decreases over time


On the other hand, the arrival of new sub-lineages of


, BA.4 and above all BA.5, which spread all the more rapidly as they seem to benefit from a double advantage of contagiousness and escape immune.

Call for a second booster shot 

The impact of the Avicenna Hospital emergency department is that doctors fall ill.


I have a real cluster in my service with several doctors who are sick and with non-serious symptoms, like a good flu, but which prevent them from working.

This greatly hinders the smooth running of the service.

We lack caregivers, we lack doctors.

And what's more, the little we have left are getting sick.

So we are in a difficult situation

 , ”explains Professor Adnet.

The government this week called on the oldest to receive the second booster vaccine “ 

as soon as possible

 ”, against a backdrop of “ 

moderate epidemic recovery


A quarter of eligible people received their second booster shot against Covid-19, a " 

clearly insufficient

 " rate, underlines the government.

And with


►Also read: Faced with the return of Covid-19, France fears a less obvious vaccine recall


Receive all the international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application


  • France

  • Coronavirus