Covid: Emmanuel Macron's complicated score against Omicron

Published on 19 Dec. 2021 at 18: 47Updated 22 Dec. 2021 at 19: 03

All eyes on the UK on one side, the hospital on the other. This is how Emmanuel Macron approaches this holiday season. With a major question, which the Minister of Health and Solidarity Olivier Véran summarized this Wednesday on BFMtv: the variant Omicron will he ” stick a cold to the whole planet or “- that would be the dark scenario -” send people to the hospital? ”

The question is no longer whether there will be an Omicron wave , but how high it will rise and whether or not it will cause severe forms. Knowing that the flu epidemic is also gaining ground and will weigh on the health system. Omicron will be dominant in France between Christmas and New Year’s Day and 100. 000 cases per day are expected at the end of December, warned Olivier Véran .

The utmost caution

For now, the data from South Africa on the dangerousness of Omicron are rather reassuring, those from Denmark are worrying and the first data from the United Kingdom could give “reasons for hope”, signaled the minister. of Health, while still urging the greatest caution. If Omicron’s virulence were confirmed, it would still have to be determined in what proportions to predict the impact on the hospital, given its extreme contagiousness.

“The situation is critical”, warned the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, after the Council of Ministers, calling however “not to panic”. In Paris, the incidence rate is close to 1. for 100.000. The pressure is all the stronger on the executive as other European countries have taken more restrictive measures. It is also because the Scientific Council recommended for the New Year measures such as curfews.

But while waiting for more solid data on Omicron and the evolution of the hospital situation, the executive is on a crest line. He does not want to be accused, moreover as approaches the presidential election , of not having anticipated and of not taking the necessary actions at the right time. Conversely, he does not want to take excessive measures either, while the French are “tired” of the pandemic – repeats Emmanuel Macron – and that 90% of those who can be vaccinated have done so.

He therefore struggles to show that he continues, accelerates and amplifies his strategy, whose heart is “vaccination, morning, noon and evening” . “It’s our life jacket. There is not a second to lose “, hammered Gabriel Attal, who listed the measures decided since Friday to” help the hospital to hold “: the acceleration of the recall campaign and the 2 million additional slots by the end of the year, the green light this Wednesday for the vaccination of all children from 5 to 11 years , the transformation of health pass in vaccination pass mid-January (and no longer end of January) , the reinforcement of teleworking , that of the control of sanitary passes and the cancellation of the New Year festivities .

” If necessary “

This strategy, with the tests and the barrier gestures, will it be enough to pass the Omicron wave, while the director general of the WHO declared that “no country will be able to get out of the pandemic with doses of reminder ” ? “If we considered that additional braking measures were necessary, we would have already announced them to the French,” assured the spokesperson. The situation will however be reassessed on Monday, the day of the exceptional Council of Ministers.

“We are preparing for everything to be able to press the button as soon as necessary and the approach of the presidential election will not prevent us from taking additional measures if necessary”, assures an adviser to the executive. “Politically, it would be very difficult for Emmanuel Macron who bet on vaccination and pass it. All his electorate has played the game, “says another:” Take additional restrictions because of the unvaccinated, it would really come to the end. “Answer next week.