The Third French Confinement Starts on January 14, 2022

I predict that there will be a third confinement in France starting on January 14.

This article was drafted on January 3, 2022; all relative time data refer to this day.

Since August 2020 I work in France and experienced the second confinement. Last month my employer sent three reminders about the sanitary protocol to all employees, remote work was allowed again without having to hand in a request before, and since this week three days of remote work are obligatory again - just like before the second confinement. Today my employer sent another update regarding the sanitary protocol, the number of diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 cases is breaking records every day since the arrival of the omicron variant in France, and given the hospitalization numbers, I think there will be another confinement soon.

In France most confinement-related measures seem to be taken in response to the number of in-patients with a SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis and the rate of change of this number. The second confinement began on October 30, 2020 and on this day, 22,153 in-patients with a SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis were treated in French hospitals (see the French health care database Géodes, indicator "nombre de personnes actuellement hospitalisées avec diagnostic COVID-19"). As of today, the number is around 19,606, up from 9,860 on November 29. Assuming a doubling of cases every 34 days (the time between November 29 and January 3), this means that France will have again 22,153 SARS-CoV-2 in-patients in six days all else being equal. Before the second confinement, the French president delivered an address on Tuesday and the confinement began on Friday morning, 12am (at midnight). The French president will probably not speak tomorrow since his speeches are usually announced the day before.

The French government is in the process of introducing the pass vaccinal on January 15; the pass vaccinal would exclude all adults that are not considered "fully vaccinated" or have recovered from a SARS-CoV-2 infection within the last six months from many venues including bars, restaurants, trade fairs, trains, and outdoor events (see, e.g., Le passe sanitaire va devenir un «passe vaccinal» : ce qu'il faut savoir). Another confinement would be the ultimate vote of no confidence in the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.