Covid: why is a third wave from January 2021 likely? Here is why this scenario is possible

Published by Alexandre G. · Photos by Alexandre G. · Published on 21 December 2020 at 10h31
As the Holidays are just around the corner, the health issue is livelier than ever. Family reunions, winter season, late vaccine effects, as well as battle plans against the epidemic not as effective as expected: a body of consistent clues let us think that a third epidemic wave is likely to occur in early 2021 in France and the rest of Europe. Deciphering.

When will the third Covid-19 epidemic wave arrive in France? According to France’s scientific committee head Jean-François Delfraissy interviewed this Tuesday December 15 by Le Parisien, the situation is clear: the risk of a third epidemic wave is absolutely not “negligeable” as the “virus will keep on spreading over the course of winter”.

After the two deadly waves in France and in Europe, each followed by long or short lockdown period – including more or less restrictions – data are still not as good as expected. Even though president Macron spoke about a 5,000-new-case-a-day-goal by mid-December, this toll has not evolved in over a week, and the country still reports between 10,000 and 15,000 daily cases. The government made measures, supervising restrictions even more for the Holidays. How could we imagine fewer Covid cases in January 2021?

Risky celebrations and seasons

So far, the epidemic markers and circumstances show the epidemic has begun again earlier than expected. Leading the most worrying markers: winter and then spring.

In addition to particularly dangerous holidays in light of the health context, even lower temperatures have doctors worried. Reached by France info, epidemiologist doctor Mircea Sofonea says “even though we make it out this second wave, which is not won yet, winter and spring are seasons the virus is very actively spreading […] all the ingredients for a third wave are met” she concludes.

Late vaccine and perfective governmental strategy

But can the arrival of vaccines change things? Not yet, the president of the Scientific Committee says. The consequences of the general public vaccine campaign might not be “visible before summer 2021” Jean-François Delfraissy thinks. He yet draws attention to the fact “the arrival of vaccines might have no impact on the first quarter of 2021 and very little on the second” before insisting on the fact that “the beginning of 2021 will not be different from 2020”.

Furthermore, the State bets on a very clear strategy: “testing, tracking, isolating”. But for now, even the Health Minister confesses: this strategy “keeps on evolving as we learn how to face this pandemic”. In other words, the anti-Covid-19 strategy could be improved. The mass-testing campaign is expected to start in agglomerations from mid-December.

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