France exceeded Thursday the heavy toll of 100,000 dead since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the middle of the third wave which lasts and leaves open the questions on a reopening of the country from mid-May.
• Read also: Confusion over wearing a mask outside: Legault downplays the controversy
• Read also: The population agrees with the government’s exceptional powers, believes Legault
“We will not forget any face, any name,” assured President Emmanuel Macron in a message on Twitter.
“Since the start of the pandemic, 100,000 French women and men have succumbed to the virus. We all have a thought for their families, their loved ones, for the children who have lost a parent or a grandparent, the bereaved siblings, the broken friendships ”, reacted the French president.
The number of people with COVID in the country’s intensive care units continued to rise, to 5,924 patients, 22 more than the day before.
Such a level of intensive care patients had not been reached since the first wave of the epidemic in April 2020, when more than 7,000 people were in critical care.
By crossing this symbolic bar, the country joins in Europe Great Britain (127,000 deaths) and Italy (115,000 deaths), but other countries (Belgium, Portugal) have a higher mortality per capita.
“All our forces are thrown into the battle against the epidemic (…) but will obviously come this moment of tribute and mourning for the Nation”, assured the government spokesman Gabriel Attal on Wednesday.
Despite the violence of the first wave (nearly 30,000 deaths between mid-March and mid-May 2020), the vast majority of deaths have occurred since the end of October (around 65,000), the consequence of a second wave which did not occur. has never failed, then a new strong epidemic recovery during the winter, carried by the more contagious English variant of the coronavirus.
And if the mass vaccination in institutions for the elderly has borne fruit, nearly 300 deaths are still added every day in the hospital in April.
“The third wave is not behind us,” warned Gabriel Attal. “The peak of hospitalizations has not yet been reached, which means that we still have very difficult days ahead of us,” he added.
The pitfalls are still numerous. This week, France hastily closed air links with Brazil, due to concerns about the P1 variant, considered more dangerous, but still very much in the minority in mainland France. Other countries will follow, assures the government.
And as the first 200,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have just been delivered, the American manufacturer’s announcement to delay its deployment in Europe puts a question mark on the approximately 350,000 other doses that were to be received. end of April.
Rare good news, France will benefit from at least seven million more doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine in the second quarter, several members of the government announced Wednesday, as a result of an acceleration of deliveries to the European Union.
In this context, will France be able to follow in mid-May, as promised by President Emmanuel Macron, the example of Great Britain, which reopened its terraces this week, or of Belgium, which has planned to do so on May 8?
The head of state meets with part of the government on Thursday evening on this subject. Also on the menu, the gradual reopening of cultural venues, under cover for more than five months.
Restaurants, bars and sports halls are also waiting to know when they will be able to welcome the public indoors, while the entire population is experiencing new holidays in confinement, with a curfew at 7 p.m. and compulsory teleworking when possible.
On the COVID-19 front, the situation is slow to improve. But the psychiatric services for children, normally short of staff, are also overwhelmed, President Macron observed on Wednesday during a visit to a hospital in Reims (East).
He announced the introduction of a “psycho package”, which will allow 100% reimbursement of 10 psychologist sessions in town for 3-17 year olds.
Before the deadline of mid-May, another is looming on April 26, the return to school of children in primary school, after three weeks of closure.