France Reports Surge in New Covid-19 Cases as Omicron Spreads
(Bloomberg) -- France reported a jump in Covid-19 infections as the fast-spreading omicron variant tightens its grip on Europe.
New daily cases totaled 84,272 in France on Wednesday, the public health office reported. That’s up by nearly 20,000 from a week earlier. Just two months ago, the seven-day average of infections was fewer than 5,000.
Health Minister Olivier Veran said earlier Wednesday that roughly a fifth of people testing positive for coronavirus in France are carrying the omicron variant, while the rate in Paris is already around one third. The proportion is expected to rise to about a third nationally within two days and will represent the majority of cases between Christmas and New Year’s, Veran said on RMC radio.
“We will most likely get to about 100,000 cases a day by the end of the month,” he said, adding that French authorities are watching carefully the health trends in the U.K., which has 10-14 days lead time in terms of progression of the omicron variant over France.
Britain reported 106,122 new cases on Wednesday, the most ever and a leap of more than 15,000 from Tuesday, according to official data. Before this month, the U.K. had never registered more than 70,000 cases in a day.
What’s still unclear is how the omicrom wave will translate into hospitalizations. Preliminary data from Scotland suggested patients infected with omicron are two thirds less likely to need hospital treatment than those sick with the previously dominant delta strain, according to a study published Wednesday.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.