France worried about alarming increase in COVID-19

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With nearly 25,000 new cases in three days, and deteriorating indicators, the COVID-19 epidemic is accelerating in France, which does not prevent the government from considering reducing the period of isolation patients and contact cases.

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After peaking at nearly 9,000 new cases on Friday, a record since the start of the epidemic and large-scale testing in France, around 8,500 cases were confirmed on Saturday, then just over 7,000 on Sunday, from after Public Health France.

The increase observed since the beginning of the summer therefore continues to accelerate, as the French are entering schools and businesses.

The evolution of other indicators remains worrying in France: 58 new sources of contamination (“clusters”) have been detected over the past 24 hours.

And the positivity rate (share of positive cases, out of all people tested over 7 days) continues to increase: it reached 4.9% on Sunday, against 4.3% in midweek and 3.9% end of August, continuing its slow but steady flood.

In total, 30,701 deaths linked to Covid-19 have been recorded since the start of the epidemic in France.

If the number of serious cases in intensive care, less than 500 according to the latest figures available, remains very far from the levels recorded in March-April, at the height of the health crisis (it had peaked at more than 7,000), the Minister of Health Olivier Véran warned that it would increase, mechanically, in the wake of the increase in contaminations.

Warning messages

“What I can tell you right now is that the hospitalization and admission to intensive care is only a reflection of the epidemic situation of two weeks ago and therefore it is obvious that in the next fortnight, there will be an increase, not massive, but an increase all the same, in the number of serious cases ”, declared the minister Saturday on the channel BFMTV.

“Today we have a 30% growth in the number of cases per week, 15% in the number of hospitalizations. If we continue with this same pace, we will arrive at a critical situation in December in several regions of France, ”warned epidemiologist Antoine Fontanet on Sunday.

In Marseille (south), several doctors have also stepped up to alert on the rising tension in hospitals, like Doctor Hervé Chambost, medical director of crisis, who ensures that “people at risk present again severe forms and are currently in intensive care ”.

France turns red

At the same time, the government placed seven new departments on Sunday in the “red zone”, which now covers more than a quarter of the departments, including four overseas.

Despite this worrying context, the government plans to relax one of the measures applied in the fight against the coronavirus: the “fortnight”, this period of two weeks of isolation recommended for patients and “contact cases” (likely to ‘have been contaminated), to limit the transmission of Covid-19, could be shortened.

The Minister of Health indicated on Saturday that he had asked “the scientific authorities to give an opinion on whether we can not reduce” the period of isolation for contact cases, considering that “this famous fortnight (… ) is probably too long ”.

Access to tests is a growing concern, with increasingly long queues and delays to obtain results reducing the effectiveness of the response to Covid-19. But according to Mr. Véran, it should improve within “two, three weeks at the latest”.

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