The fact of not having encountered many seasonal viruses for two years has not weakened our immune system but we are simply much more exposed! At the moment, with the lifting of barrier gestures, all the viruses have started to circulate again at the same time, explains Professor Bruno Lina, virologist and member of the Scientific Council. Not only are there 127,000 Covid-19 positive cases per day, on average (a figure up 43% in one week), but the flu is also rampant at the moment, whereas its peak usually takes place in February.
Added to this are gastroenteritis and chicken pox, which is an off-season disease. If we adults have not become more fragile, on the other hand, very young children are in a bit of a catch-up session. Their immune defenses are sometimes confronted for the first time with certain seasonal viruses, which they had not encountered because of barrier gestures. They are therefore a little more likely to be sick at the moment and this can create loops of contamination with adults.
>> infographics. Covid-19 figures: deaths, hospitalizations, vaccines… Follow the evolution of the epidemic in France and around the world
In addition, many French people who had escaped Covid-19 so far find themselves caught up in the virus. First, because indeed, those who are only protected by vaccination have a little less immunity than those who are protected by the vaccine and by a previous infection. Then, because the sub-variant of Omicron, BA.2, which is even more contagious than BA.1, now represents 66% of contaminations. That’s three times more than a month ago, even though we dropped the mask. It is indeed difficult to pass through the drops in this context. Fortunately, in vaccinated people, the symptoms generally remain mild.
Protected by vaccines
The vaccines received this fall against the flu or against Covid-19 protect us. For the flu vaccine, antibodies usually last six to eight months. The same goes for vaccination against Covid-19, which remains effective against severe forms, insists Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, expert at the High Authority for Health.
Thus, after six months, we generally remain protected at more than 80% when we have received three doses. This vaccine efficacy decreases after three or four months, in the elderly or frail, hence the importance of the 4th dose offered to people over 80 and to immunocompromised people. The question also arises of extending this 4th dose to those over 65 at risk.
Finally, if you have a blocked nose or an itchy throat right now, it could also be… because of allergies. The risk of exposure to birch, ash or plane tree pollen is currently high in Île-de-France, Normandy and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur.