The Covid-19 crisis has shaken the world, revealing elements and methods that will prove valuable, especially during the next pandemic.
After two years of a pandemic and at a time when the French government is easing existing health measures, scientists from around the world have shared the main lessons to be learned from the Covid-19 crisis. Science and the future summarizes it in three episodes:
1/ Lessons scientists
2/ Lessons medical
3/ Lessons social
Barrier measures, it works
Wearing a mask, social distancing (even isolation and confinement) or even ventilation and frequent hand washing have gradually become part of the habits of the population in France, as elsewhere. However, the task promised to be difficult, especially with regard to masks, the adoption of which was thwarted by numerous communication reverses. However, they allow you to divide by seven the volume of air polluted by coughing, concludes, in particular, the study.
Thus, in addition to Covid-19, other epidemics were contained by barrier measures. “Influenza virtually disappeared from the world in the first year of the pandemic”, notes Professor of Health Mathematics Christina Peigel in a special issue of the journal The science on lessons to be learned from the health crisis. “There have been just over 2,000 flu hospitalizations in England since October 2021, representing 10% of the equivalent two pre-pandemic years.“, – adds a British scientist. The same story in France, where in 2020-2021 Professor Philippe Lesha noted “the virtual disappearance of seasonal influenza and a number of infections (gastroenteritis, bronchiolitis in young children, benign lesions of the nasopharynx)“. The statement that “illustrates the benefits of repeated handwashing and the effectiveness of some social distancing measures (no handshakes, less kissing, etc.).”
CONCLUSION. According to the study, in 2020 the first lockdown would save 60,000 lives in France. But even before the lockdown, the measures that had the greatest impact were the closure of schools and workplaces, the ban on mass events and gatherings of more than 10 people, and the restriction of the movement of people, the researchers remind in the journal. Public health boundaries.
Vaccines are powerful tools
Discovered in early 2020, the virus quickly became a target for vaccines. Moderna Laboratories released its preliminary report on the mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine on July 14, 2020, while BioNTech and Pfizer shared safety data from phase 1 clinical trials (out of three phases required for commercialization) of two RNA-based vaccines. candidates October 14, 2020, researchers are tracing in Public health boundaries. In France, a two-dose vaccination campaign began in December of the same year with an 80 to 90% effectiveness against hospitalization and death after infection with time variants (Alpha and Delta).
“The coronavirus pandemic has changed science by demonstrating the power of vaccines”, promotes public health communication expert Rupali Limaye in Scientific American. “It is truly amazing that we were able to bring a safe and effective product to market in about a year. This really shows, I think, the power of science.“.
The containment and isolation measures have, of course, created fertile ground for the development of telemedicine. Thus, in France, the weekly number of teleconsultations increased from 10,000 actions per week at the beginning of March 2020 to almost one million in mid-May of the same year. A leap forward that would normally take years. “We must applaud the remarkable mobilization of actors in the medical world and in particular hospitals to care for patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 and the introduction of ingenious telemedicine solutions for patient monitoring.”, welcomes Professor Philippe Lesch. He refers in particular to AP-HP’s Covidom app, which allowed remote monitoring of the health of Covid-19 patients who did not require hospitalization.
“Everything happened so fast“, testifies Professor Sharon Stoll, a neurologist, in Yale magazine. “I like to see my patients at least twice a year. Now we can see each other in person once a year, and if there are any questions, we can schedule a telemedicine visit. (…) That way I can hear about a problem before it becomes a problem because my patients will have easier access to me and I will have easier access to them.”
But some professionals are even thinking about more than just telemedicine, dreaming of home care. “We now have home testing for Covid-19. Why not the flu? I imagine a world where people have a kind of toaster in their kitchen where they can swab and find out what kind of virus they have. They can then connect to telemedicine to get a prescription for angina or Covid-19.‘, introduces Dr. Amesh Adalya, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University, in Scientific American.
Don’t Forget Your Mental Health
This is the second pandemic: the number of reported mental health problems directly related to Covid-19 disease or infection control conditions has increased. “Juggling between work and childcare, job loss, isolation and the loss of a loved one“are part of the reasons,” notes Dr. Arman Fesharaki-Zadeh, a behavioral neurologist and neuropsychiatrist, Yale magazine.
Mental disorders can also be a direct consequence of Covid-19. Thus, according to a study conducted in the spring of 2021, 34% of recovered patients suffer from mental or neurological disorders ranging from anxiety to dementia. This risk associated with prolonged Covid persists even for a year compared to people who have not been uninfected.
Among young people, confinement leading to isolation and increased domestic violence, or even dropping out of school, has also taken its toll. “It has been shown that first births led to an overall increase in depressive syndromes and even a doubling among 15-24 year olds (10% of them had a depressive syndrome in 2019 compared to more than 20% in 2020).“, published a report in 2021. Professor Richard Delorme, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Robert-Debreu Hospital (AP-HP), is alarmed: “We are starting the year with +200% ER visits for suicide attempts among children under 15… Whereas in 2021 we were already between +116% and +299% compared to 2020, depending on the month. it’s very disturbing“.