The situation in France
The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care was almost stable on Thursday, with 3,633 people against 3,637 the day before, and 293 new admissions, according to the latest data from Public Health France.
This stabilization follows several days of increase in the number of patients in the services receiving the most severe cases of the disease. This figure is close to the levels known at the beginning of December, but remains far from the peak of the 2nd wave in the autumn (4,900) and, above all, of the 1st wave in the spring (7,000).
A total of 24,891 sick people were hospitalized on Thursday, a slight decrease from the previous day, with 1,538 new admissions. In 24 hours, 295 people died in hospital, bringing the total to 87,861.
The number of new cases of contamination rose to 25,279 in 24 hours and the positivity rate, which measures the percentage of positive tests out of all tests, was 7.3%, stable compared to Tuesday and Wednesday.
It stood at 6% in mid-February. At a press conference, Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed the extension of the confinement on weekends in the Pas-de-Calais from Saturday and called "solemnly" the staff of Ehpad to be vaccinated "very quickly".
Less than 40,000 cases in the United States
For the first time in five months, the United States counted Thursday less than 40,000 cases of Covid-19 in 24H, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University, which are reference.
After a peak of nearly 300,000 cases in 24 hours on January 8, the number of daily infections has returned to pre-Halloween, Thanksgiving and other holiday seasons, which means more travel across the country and increased spread of the virus.
Another encouraging sign in the country most affected by the pandemic in absolute terms is that the weekly averages of deaths and hospitalizations are also falling significantly.
The vaccination campaign launched in December in the United States is now in full swing, with three licensed vaccines: those of the Pfizer/BioNTech alliance, Moderna, and, in recent days, Johnson & Johnson, whose first injections began on Tuesday.
And the number of people vaccinated is about to exceed the number of cases recorded in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. Faced with the competition of good news, the American states, one after the other, are lifting the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19, which depend mostly on local authorities in the United States.
These announcements dismayed American President Joe Biden, who considers them too premature. It is a "big mistake", he denounced, following in the footsteps of the main federal health officials.
The balance sheet in the world
With daily death records, hospitals on the verge of collapse, and a vaccination campaign conducted at a snail's pace, Brazil is facing the most violent moment of the pandemic without any national strategy. On Wednesday, Brazil recorded 1,910 deaths in 24 hours, beating the sad record set the day before of 1,641 deaths.
With a total of 259.271 deaths from Covid-19, the huge Latin American country is the most bereaved in the world after the United States. This second wave is even worse than the first. In the last seven days, the moving average of coronavirus deaths has been 1,331, a figure that until February had never exceeded 1,100 deaths.
The pandemic has caused at least 2.56 million deaths worldwide, according to a report prepared Thursday by AFP from official sources. The United States is the most heavily affected country with 520,080 deaths. They are followed by Brazil (260,970), Mexico (188,044), India (157,435) and the United Kingdom (123,783).
These figures based on daily health authority assessments, without including statistically based reassessments, are generally underestimated.