While a few weeks ago France was experiencing such an improvement that restrictions have been lifted earlier than expected, the situation has taken a U-turn. How come? The spread of the Delta variant – a mutation 60% more contagious than the Alpha variant – leading to an outbreak in cases.
The variant has spread so swiftly it is now dominating in the country and about to take over all the other mutations reported so far in France. To date, it is found in 80% of the latest contaminations. This Monday July 19, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal even announced the country officially entered the fourth wave. This Tuesday July 20, 2021, interviewed by RTL, Health Minister Olivier Véran describes an “epidemic of young people”, this new outbreak mostly hitting non-vaccinated populations.
“20-30 years old – in some departments – are those with the highest incidence rate. We understand why: young people are less protected but the good news is they are less likely to develop severe disease” – Olivier Véran
Furthermore, the spread of the variant has led the government to decide on strong measures aiming at encouraging vaccination: vaccinal obligation for some professions, and extension of the health pass to many public places. Decisions sparking reactions from some French against the extended health pass, seeing in these new restrictions a harm to public freedom. Yet, as for the government, the fourth wave remains a threat they can not neglect. “I even dared say there might be 15 to 20,000 cases at the end of July. I fear I had the right words”, Olivier Véran claims.