INTERVIEW – Nine metropolises or regions of France are entering curfew this weekend, a measure intended to last “until December 1” according to Emmanuel Macron. But for the epidemiologist Martin Blachier, its duration “does not rest on very strong scientific bases”.
2020-10-15T13: 07: 23.705 + 02: 00 – Idèr Nabili
As of Saturday, around 20 million French people will be affected by the curfew. This measure, intended to lower the tension in hospitals, is triggered until mid-November. “The government is in a position to decide it for four weeks”, more “we will go to Parliament to try to extend it until December 1”, indicated Wednesday evening the President of the Republic. Or six weeks, “the time it seems useful” according to Emmanuel Macron.
How was this duration calculated? Can we really hope to have only between 3,000 and 5,000 cases per day by this deadline, as the Head of State wished? LCI asked these questions to Martin Blachier, doctor and epidemiologist.
LCI: will six weeks of curfew be effective in bringing down the epidemic?
Martin Blachier: It all depends on what we call bringing down the epidemic, since the virus is not going to go away with the curfew. On the other hand, this will effectively make it possible to reduce the flow of patients in intensive care. According to our calculations, this flow will soon stabilize. With the curfew, within two or three weeks, the momentum will be broken. So I don’t even know whether it will be necessary to keep this measure for that long.
How was this duration calculated?
It’s totally wet finger, we must not believe that it is based on very strong scientific bases or on a complex calculation. Even the curfew itself is a wet finger. In Guyana (example on which the government relies, editor’s note), it started at 5 p.m. and was valid all weekend, this inevitably had a major role in the fight against the epidemic. In addition, the measure had been taken very early. So it’s not comparable.
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“We must succeed in coming back to 3,000 or 5,000 cases per day against 20,000 today”, wished Emmanuel Macron. Is it possible ?
Yes why not. From the moment the epidemic subsides, the basic rhythm must be at this level. Rather, the idea is to go back to the number of contaminations we recorded in June, and I think it was even below that. This objective of 3,000 to 5,000 daily cases is therefore totally realistic.
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