The end of the state of health emergency in France, scheduled for July 31, will also sound that of the Scientific Council. A new type of committee will then take over.
After almost two and a half years of activity, the Scientific Council must be dissolved at the end of the month. The Covid-19 pandemic is not over, but France will officially emerge from the state of health emergency on July 31, which explains the disappearance of this committee.
Since the country is going through its seventh epidemic wave, a priori in the downward phase, the Scientific Council has however published a final opinion, of around fifty pages, this Wednesday, July 20. Entitled “Living with variants”, it is neither “a testament, nor a feedback even though the epidemic is not over”, but rather a “compass”.
In this document, the health authority outlines scenarios for the coming months. She believes that a gradual decrease in the impact of SARS-CoV-2 is possible, in particular thanks to the immunity of the population post-vaccinations and post-infections. “Short-term virus circulation peaks” are predicted, however.
Several “points of attention” are also identified, including the “public health problem” of long Covid, mental health, but also “hospital exhaustion” with “deleterious effects on care” and on the response in the face of future epidemic waves. The situation of the “fragile and precarious” as well as that of the Overseas Territories must also be the subject of particular attention.
After July 31, a “health risk monitoring and anticipation committee”, which will not be exclusively dedicated to Covid-19, will take over from the Scientific Council. The Minister of Health, François Braun, considered it “essential” to create “a permanent committee, made up of various scientific disciplines”.
Since “the risks are evolving”, “not only infectious but also linked to the quality of air, water and soil, to the impact of climate change”, this new body will be responsible for considering together “the human, animal and plant health in a healthy environment”.
The creation of a “Science Council” suggested
The creation of this committee has yet to be formalized by the government, a priori by decree. Its composition will be entrusted to the Ministers of Health and Research. It is not excluded that some members of the Scientific Council are part of it.
In their latest opinion, the latter also suggests the creation of a “Science Council” in the autumn. Bringing together high-level scientists, its role would be to enlighten the executive “on advances in science, regardless of crises”.
This final recommendation from the Scientific Council comes after two years and four months of mobilization, punctuated by “more than 300 meetings” and numerous interventions by its members in the media.
Created in mid-March 2020, this group brought together around ten scientists with various skills: infectiologists, epidemiologists, caregivers, anthropologist, sociologist, geriatrician, veterinarian, child psychiatrist… Nearly 90 opinions or notes were issued, full of advice not always followed by the executive.
During a virtual press conference with the air of goodbye, Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the body, described “a very united group” which “shared many defeats but also successes” and maintained “ sometimes complex relations with politics”. According to him, the Scientific Council has, during this pandemic, “gradually learned to have humility and to say, at times, that we did not know”.