Jean-François Delfraissy pleads for the maintenance of barrier gestures "at least until spring"

The president of the Scientific Council is also wondering about a possible return of the mask in the winter of 2022, to deal with seasonal diseases.

Will the pandemic permanently change our habits? While barrier gestures seem to gradually move away from the concerns of the French, this is one of the questions posed by Jean-Francois Delfraissy in the columns of World this Thursday. The president of the Scientific Council pleads in particular for maintaining the rules of social distancing at least until spring, and evokes a return of the mask each winter.

But first, the professor wants to be confident about the current epidemic situation in France. Thanks to a “very high level of vaccination” in France and “the great effectiveness” of vaccines, Jean-François Delfraissy says he is “optimistic” in the face of a possible new epidemic wave. A situation which, according to him, allows the gradual lifting of health measures, initiated by the government:

“The government has chosen a gradual easing of the restrictive measures – a stop of the health pass in certain places – from November 15 rather than immediately, this is the scenario that we recommend”, he welcomes.

A 3rd dose for the general population “not yet appropriate”

Two shadows on the table, however, according to him: a vaccination of the over 80s which remains to be improved and a recall campaign which must be accelerated for certain age categories, because the loss of effectiveness of the vaccine is particularly visible in the older ones. 65 years old.

“A recall in the general population is not yet appropriate,” he says. “Why? Because the loss of vaccine efficacy for the moment seems very minimal in the youngest, with protection maintained against severe forms”

But for the professor, vaccination will not be sufficient on its own to completely prevent an epidemic resumption. And when the handshakes or the kiss seem and indeed back in the habits of the French, he insists on “the importance of keeping as much as possible the barrier gestures at least until spring 2022”.

The mask, back every winter?

Even more, the professor believes that a return of the mask on the faces each winter could be considered. While populations seem much more exposed to winter viruses after half a year of the pandemic, could the mask become a real seasonal habit? For Jean-François Delfraissy, the question should in any case be asked.

“In a very optimistic hypothesis, with a pandemic which will slowly end by next summer, we could end up in the winter of 2022 with this question: should we put the mask back on? This measure would also have the advantage of reducing flu-like symptoms, bronchiolitis. It should be discussed with civil society, “said Jean-François Delfraissy.

Asked about the preponderant role that the Scientific Council he chairs took during the health crisis, the professor “assumes” the recommendations for tough restrictive measures made in the past, especially in March 2020.

Recommendations that “have certainly avoided a lot of death among the elderly” according to him. He also declares that after the renewal of the health emergency law on November 15, the Scientific Council could stop or “put itself on the back burner, ready to respond to the possible arrival of a new variant. “.

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