The Institut Pasteur unveils four projections on the evolution of the Covid-19 epidemic in France

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While the government has planned to deconfin on May 15, 2021, the Institut Pasteur has published its opinion on this date. According to experts, a significant increase in hospitalizations could occur. This not very optimistic statement takes into account a possible good rhythm in terms of vaccinations.

Several scenarios mentioned

In a publication (PDF in French / 10 pages) of April 26, 2021, the Institut Pasteur discussed the lifting of braking measures relating to hospitalizations and the circulation of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus during the coming months. The experts took into account certain elements such as the lifting of containment on May 15, the impact of the measures taken so far, the acceleration of the vaccination campaign or the contagiousness of the English variant. The Institut Pasteur has developed several scenarios but also stressed that this was by no means a forecast. It is a question of hypotheses on which the trajectories of these possible scenarios will depend. It must be said that some factors are difficult to predict.

In addition, experts said they did not take into account the reopening of schools on May 3. However, the latter can lead to a increased transmission rate. The Institute also says it has not considered the emergence of the South African and Brazilian variants.

A significant increase in hospitalizations

The researchers’ baseline scenario incorporates a British variant 60% more transmissible as the basic strain of the coronavirus. It is also considering braking measures allowing a notable reduction in hospitalizations. However, experts believe that too rapid lifting of the braking measures on May 15 could lead to a significant increase in hospitalizations. However, this would be the case even if the vaccination rate increases at a rate of 500,000 daily doses.

In this scenario, the number of hospital admissions could – by mid-July – exceed the 3,000 per day mark. This number is a bit higher than when the second wave peaked about a year ago. Remember that currently, there are about 1,800 hospitalizations per day on average, showing a slight decrease in the past two weeks.

Credits: Institut Pasteur

A little optimism

Certain scenarios of the Institut Pasteur are nevertheless a little more optimistic. In the case of a English variant 40% more contagious, it becomes a question of a lower peak. According to the researchers, we would then have less than 1,500 daily hospitalizations and in the best case, less than 500. As regards new hospitalizations, these could be contained in the case of a gradual lifting of restrictions between May 15 and July 1.

The researchers believe that a more gradual lifting of the measures should make it possible to shift the recovery. This would then occur at a time when the vaccination campaign will have made significant progress. In the short term, experts predict a decrease in hospitalizations, at least between May 1 and May 15. However, some models provide more for a tray.

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