No “reopening” in territories where there are more than 400 Covid infections per 100,000 inhabitants. This figure, the famous "incidence rate" is the condition set a few days ago by Emmanuel Macron in our columns to initiate the exit from confinement. Gradually this week, the presidential wish was granted. That's it, in France, all the departments - including the last recalcitrant Ile-de-Oise, Val-de-Marne and Seine-Saint-Denis - have passed under the fateful threshold. "The indicators show a clear improvement in the health situation", even welcomed this Wednesday the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, on leaving the Defense Council. The return of terraces, places of culture and sport on May 19 seems within reach.
With a falling incidence (it is 223 across the whole of the country), Pascal Crépey does not shy away from the news. "It is rather reassuring and a good thing, it is a sign of the decline of the epidemic," notes the researcher at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health. But from there to rejoice, there is a step that the curve specialist is not ready to take. “Out of context, this rate doesn't mean much. Above all, it is very high, and absolutely cannot be considered a health objective. To think that it means the virus is behind us would be a total mistake, ”he clarified.
As a reminder, the initial alert threshold is 50… or eight times less than 400! “This is hogwash, don't mince words, epidemiologist Catherine Hill. Of all the indicators, the incidence rate is the worst because it is highly dependent on the testing policy, ”she believes while the number of screening has fallen in recent weeks, or the May 1 bank holiday. . “The good ones are hospital admissions, intensive care units and deaths. Certainly, we see an improvement but they remain extremely high, insists the bio statistician. When we deconfined the first time, there were less than 200 deaths per day. Today, there are nearly 260 of them. ”According to the Institut Pasteur, which published its new projections this Tuesday,the drop in hospital admissions "nationally and in all metropolitan regions" should however increase over the next two weeks.
"With the reopening of schools, a rise cannot be ruled out"
Phew, because the resuscitation beds are still occupied by more than 5,500 patients most strongly affected by the virus.
“It's frighteningly high.
During the other two deconfinements, there were less than 3,000, compares Benjamin Davido, infectious disease specialist at the Raymond-Poincaré hospital in Garches (Hauts-de-Seine) where he is the Covid referent.
Whether the incidence is set at 400, 380, 350, who cares a little ... what matters is the dynamics of the epidemic and on that, the hospital is not lying.
Whether there have been many or few tests, rain or shine, whether the politicians are happy or not, it does not change the situation: either the patients are there or they are not.
So, for Doctor Davido, there is no doubt: "We should not focus on the figures but rather on the range of means to
the virus": increased surveillance of the epidemic, a better incentive for vaccination. "The QR code (Editor's note: first step of the health pass) which has given our vaccination status since Monday is a good thing which must be accentuated and harmonized at European level, pleads the doctor. It must also integrate people already immunized by the disease. "
Clearly, save time in the face of the virus. Because is the decline that has started lasting? “Not necessarily,” answers Catherine Hill. With the reopening of schools, a rise cannot be ruled out. We take our foot on the brake at the wrong time, the risk is to see hospitals re-encumbered ”. “We can still hope that it continues, tempers Pascal Crépey. The protocols in the schools have been strengthened, the self-tests are coming to the colleges and high schools. The vaccine progress and there and there can be a climate effect. Even if, on this side, the yo-yo weather seems as full of springs as the coronavirus.