8th wave of covid in France: Omicron BA.5 variant, symptoms, what you need to know

It’s back to school also for covid: the 8th wave has started in France, the number of contaminations is rapidly increasing in mid-September 2022. Is this variant more or less contagious? Where is the vaccination?

Since the start of the pandemic, the back-to-school period has been a challenge for covid-related contamination, which starts to rise again at the end of the summer. This is still the case in 2022: an 8th wave starts in France in mid-September. The positivity rate is up sharply – as noted the French public health report dated September 16 and as you can also observe on CovidTracker.

But what form exactly does the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus take in this month of September 2022?

You need a screening test against covid when you are in contact or have symptoms. // Source: Freepik

The BA.5 variant still dominant in France

If the new waves were generally caused by the appearance of new variants, this is not the case this fall. This is still Omicron and its sub-line Omicron BA.5. This is shown by the latest flash survey conducted by Public Health France on August 22, 2022, where BA.5 is “ omnipresent representing 93% of identified sequences. The remaining percentage mainly belongs to the BA.4 sub-lineage.

Omicron BA.5 represents 93% of sequences identified in France

The BA.5 sub-variant is the most contagious to date – and that is why it dominates in France and around the world – due to mutations having an impact on the Spike protein, mobilized by the virus to infect us.

Remember also that there is currently no variant called “Centaur”. This name comes from social networks, but the strain concerned is absolutely not classified as a worrying variant by the WHO for the moment.

Symptoms of covid at the start of the 2022 school year

The most common symptoms of BA.5 infection:

  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

Loss of taste and smell is less common with Omicron than with previous variants, but it can still happen.

If symptoms occur, the strategy to adopt does not change: get tested and isolate yourself while waiting for the result. Likewise if you are in contact. If you are positive for covid, notify your contact cases and isolation is necessary at least throughout the symptomatic period.

What about the vaccination against covid?

The vaccination coverage of the booster dose in the French population is 74.3% among those aged 18 and over; and 82.4% among those aged 65 and over.

The second booster dose (or “4th dose” for most people who are already fully vaccinated) is currently only open to people over 60 years old. The advance of this injection concerns 28.3% of 60-79 year olds and 36.1% of 80 year olds and over.

What barrier gestures should be mobilized in this new school year?

In this context of the resurgence of covid, we must increase vigilance on barrier gestures:

  • Wear a mask, especially in the presence of fragile people or in poorly ventilated closed places;
  • Ventilate enclosed areas well, as the virus is an aerosol;
  • Self-isolate if symptomatic.
For further

Wearing a mask indoors, in closed places, in public, remains very important.  // Source: Pexels

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