Covid-19: Delta variant in France triggers unprecedented surge in new cases
French Health Minister Olivier Véran addressed parliament on the latest surge in Covid cases ahead of a debate on a set of controversial new rules aimed at pressuring millions of vaccine holdouts. Mr. Véran warned of an unprecedented "increase in the spread of the virus of around 150 percent in the last week," largely due to the the Delta variant. As France braces for a fourth wave, 18,000 new cases were reported in a 24-hour period early this week. The level of infections is the highest since mid-May, when the country was emerging from a third nationwide lockdown. Dr. Sterghios Moschos, a virologist and associate professor at Northumbria University, offers a stark warning: "We saw what happened in India, in the first part of 2021, where the Delta variant rampaged through the country. Politicians weren't paying attention, let alone the public. Bodies were floating down the Ganges, four million extra deaths happened in that country during the wave of June 2021. The main thing that makes the difference is whether or not people have been vaccinated. If they are going to be vaccinated when Delta comes knocking on the door, the chances of ending up in hospital or dead are going to be very very markedly reduced. But it doesn't stop there. We really need to do our best, as individuals, as companies, as countries, as unions, to basically stop transmission as quickly and as aggressively as possible. This is the perfect situation a virologist could ask to evolve the virus to resist any kind of treatment, such as a vaccine. And unfortunately we are hurtling down that pathway at galloping speed."