Is the famous “fourth wave” of Covid-19 running out of steam in Europe? The countries first affected by the Delta variant, led by the United Kingdom, have indeed seen their number of infections drop in recent days. Epidemic peak or simple “plateau” before a recovery? Hard to say. One thing is certain: mass vaccination has limited the number of serious cases, and therefore deaths.

Towards the end of the fourth wave in Europe? The countries affected first by the increase in Covid-19 contamination caused by the very contagious Delta variant have in any case seen their number of contamination drop in recent days. In Portugal, the number of cases has fallen by 7% per day for a few days. In Denmark, this drop reached 26% in one week. In Spain, the number of contamination has stabilized.

But it is in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, the first countries to be hit by this fourth wave, that the decline is most marked. Exceeding 45,000 on July 19, the number of new daily cases fell to 37,728 on July 27 across the Channel. In the Netherlands, the drop is 46% in one week. In France, the increase in the number of cases has started to slow down. However, it is difficult to say that this is indeed an epidemic peak, “or only a transitional plateau”, according to Antoine Flahault, epidemiologist at the University of Geneva.

One thing is certain, however: this fourth wave is much less deadly in Europe than the previous ones. 68 deaths this Tuesday in the United Kingdom, against 1,253 at the top of the third wave this winter! In Spain, the daily death toll stands at 25. At the peak of the third wave, it was approaching 500. The reason for this lower mortality is, for epidemiologists, vaccination coverage.

“Vaccination is the determining factor today in limiting complications and therefore hospitalizations and deaths wherever vaccination coverage is sufficient and exceeds 50% of the total population. Russia, which has only 25% of its population having received at least one dose, has not been immune to a wave of hospitalizations and deaths, “comments Antoine Flahault.


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