Hold on. Respect the “stay at home” rule enacted four weeks ago. Resist the call of the sun, the need for fresh air, the irresistible urge to forget the Covid. Overcome the boredom of child squawks, spousal blows, telecommuting, confinement. Are the few French people caught this weekend in the act of leaving (in Nice, for example) or on the holiday road – zone C -, are they a sign of the beginning of relaxation? Will the possibility since Monday of filling out digital exit authorizations encourage breakaways? The fear of seeing the economy unscrew (according to INSEE, a month of confinement would cost France about three points of GDP over a year, and two months some six points) could it be right for health precautions?
Here and there, begins to (inevitably) begin the temptation to loosen the vice of confinement. It was formulated, then corrected, by the Prime Minister himself when he spoke on TF1 on April 2 the word “Deconfinement” (by age group, or territory) without giving a date. Overall however, the time still seems to discipline. If Martin Hirsch, director general of the AP-HP, launched a kind of alert on Twitter on Sunday (“Too many people on the streets, too many strollers”), the government was delighted with a fairly well-respected confinement, given the weather and the start of the school holidays. “There was no big movement” of population, summarized Sunday evening the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, to the television news of France 2: “The French have respected the rule even if in places, signs of relaxation have been noted, with joggers in the midst of families on the banks of the Ourcq canal in Paris or children playing in groups in building courtyards . “
Recall that this weekend, more than 160,000 police and gendarmes were mobilized, and nearly 1.4 million checks carried out. And in total, since March 17, there have been nearly 480,000 tickets issued on 8.2 million checks, according to the Interior Minister.
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The abuses are marginal. But the caregivers are always on edge. “It’s not walking around the street that’s a problem: people generally respect safe distances, recognizes the Pr Rémi Salomon, president of the establishment medical committee of the AP-HP. The real risk is touching what others have touched: the door handle, the elevator button, the supermarket checkout, etc. The virus is very resistant, for up to several hours, on inert surfaces. However, by reflex, we put our hands in the face twenty times an hour. And there you can get infected, infect others, and reactivate the circulation of the virus. ”
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Hospitalists want to avoid this scenario at all costs, as they begin to see the benefits of confinement for the first time in four weeks: the daily rate of death in hospital, such as the care of Covid patients in intensive care have ebbed this weekend. And there were at the end of the day Monday “only” 94 more patients in intensive care compared to the previous day (for a total of 7072). A slowdown in the rise which appears encouraging.
But this trend does not extend to the number of deaths recorded on this same day on Monday: the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, indicated in the evening that 8,911 people had died since the start of the epidemic, that is to say 833 more in twenty-four hours, including 605 in hospitals and 228 in nursing homes.
In addition, resuscitation services are still on the razor’s edge in Ile-de-France as in the Grand Est. And the backlash, always possible. “If the containment is relaxed, it is certain that the hospital structures, today saturated, will be again congested”, predict the Dr Charles Cerf, head of the resuscitation service at Foch Hospital in Paris: “In Ile-de-France, we have doubled the number of critical care beds at the cost of an organization worthy of disaster medicine, in both material and human terms. Patient care is degraded compared to usual, even if acceptable in the context. Despite the tiny breath of fresh air of the past few days, the Ile-de-France health system is saturated. Reactivation of the epidemic too quickly would worsen management problems. “ Hospital troops could then find it difficult to follow. “Caregivers are not machines! warn the Pr Antoine Pelissolo, head of psychiatry service at the Henri-Mondor University Hospital in Créteil (Val-de-Marne). They can last a month or two in forceps, endure endless days by motivation. But for them, this crisis is emotionally very trying. Many caregivers, doctors and nurses have joined resuscitation services to help, but are not used to it. For young people with little experience, being in direct contact with multiple and repeated deaths, and the despair of families, is a major test. I had to stop some of them in overwhelmed stress, in such a state of amazement that their professional skills were impaired. “ To avoid the worst, only one instruction: keep.
Nathalie Raulin Photos Frédéric Stucin