the back-to-school wave continues, hospitalizations increase


In this month of October, we hear little about the coronavirus. However, the epidemic is there, carried by the first weeks after the start of the school year. The week of September 26 to October 2, the circulation of Covid-19 also increased « strongly throughout the metropolitan territory, in particular among the oldest », according to the report of the public health agency France (SpF ), airing Thursday night.

In the detail of the figures, 61,121 new cases were recorded in 24 hours on Friday, an increase of 26.6% in one week. Figures still well below hundreds of thousands of contaminations per day at the height of the health crisis. But much higher than October 8, 2021: there were then 4,470 new cases in 24 hours.

In France, the health policy around Covid-19 has however been dictated by another indicator for several months: the figures for hospitalizations. As long as the hospital is not under tension, the government opts for the strategy of “controlled circulation” of the virus, with the reminder of barrier gestures. If the situation at the hospital gets tense, he could tighten the screw. Distrust therefore, because over the last reference week, “the increase also continued at the level of hospital indicators”, with a marked increase in hospital admissions with a Covid diagnosis, including in intensive care.

The total number of hospitalized patients, at nearly 16,800, has thus returned to its level of mid-August.

A possible return of the obligation to wear a mask

After experiencing several waves since the start of the year, the Covid-19 epidemic had fallen to a particularly low level at the end of August. But the contaminations then rebounded, in a context notably marked by the start of the school year. This context led the government to bring forward the start of the anti-Covid vaccination campaign to the beginning of October, intended for the most vulnerable and initially planned to accompany that against the flu from the middle of the month.

>> To read: When and how to get vaccinated

The health authorities do not exclude, moreover, a return to the obligation to wear the mask in closed places, a possibility openly mentioned this week by the Covars, the body which succeeded the Scientific Council. The Ministry of Health “does not forbid” such a measure, Minister François Braun said on RTL on Tuesday, nevertheless ensuring for the time being “trust the French” to take protective measures on their own.

Without obligation, the French less respectful of barrier gestures

Unfortunately for the Minister of Health, the proportion of French people wearing the mask in public fell in September to the lowest level since the start of the health crisis, shows the new edition of the CoviPrev survey by Public Health France on the evolution behaviors during the epidemic. « Since wearing a mask is no longer compulsory in closed public places », a majority say they no longer wear them or wear them less often, especially in closed public places (76%, compared to 58% in May), in work (70%, against 57%), in public transport (61%, against 23%). This is also the case in the presence of elderly or vulnerable people (58%, against 44%), according to the survey, carried out from September 12 to 19 among a representative sample of 2,000 adults.

To explain their lesser respect for barrier gestures than at the start of the pandemic, the French argue that “certain gestures are no longer compulsory, such as wearing a mask in certain places” (56%), that “most people are vaccinated (43%), that they are « too restrictive on a daily basis » (23%). Respect these gestures next winter, some French people say they are ready to do so in the event of symptoms at home or a loved one, or an epidemic. But “out of forgetfulness”, “weariness” or a feeling of excessive stress, they might not.

The French are however called upon to be vigilant, with the return of colder temperatures. And therefore possibly Covid-19.


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