What if we stop being outraged about the people outside?

Parisians enjoying the greenery and the sun in the Jardin du Luxembourg before the curfew, illustration – JEANNE ACCORSINI / SIPA

  • The return of good weather and sun also marks the return of controversies over the number of people finding themselves outside in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic.
  • Over-attention on the outside, which can be counterproductive in the fight against the virus.
  • What if instead of counting people in parks, we tried to tackle closed-space clusters?

This weekend was adorned with its most beautiful rays of soleil and a beautiful blue sky over most of the country. As was the case previously, no doubt there will be many people outside. Outings that
like always will arouse indignant comments and dependent articles on these alleged unconscious people preferring to stroll in the park or at the water’s edge rather than follow the famous instructions
” stay home “.

Why so much hatred? Robert Zuili, clinical psychologist specializing in emotions, explains these skin reactions in two ways. Either by the fear of a rebound in the epidemic of coronavirus, or by the anger to see other people allow themselves what one does not dare to agree: “There is then a feeling of injustice …” Why they take advantage of the outside when I force myself to stay home ?” “. The psychologist even manages to explain the strange phenomenon of people themselves outside criticizing the number of people outside: “We will pay attention to details, find that in a group we stand too close to each other, that one person wears his mask badly, or that people go out for the wrong reasons… We always find more levity in others than in us, which explains this resentment ”. And there again, this idea of ​​injustice: “Why could they be more frivolous with the barrier measures than us?” “.

Typing next

But do these repeated outrages really make sense? Doctor Yvon le Flohic notes that all scientific studies tend to show that the overwhelming majority of clusters are done in closed places: “The virus does not develop outdoors, but in closed and poorly ventilated places”. Prohibiting access to forests or beaches, as we see more and more in the departments with high incidence, or being outraged by people outside on weekends, would therefore not really make sense.

When it wouldn’t be a question of typing next to it. “While we prohibit the beaches or force the wearing of masks outdoors, we do not attack indoor clusters: meals in closed places, schools, hospitals, nursing homes”, notes Yvon le Flohic . For him, it is anything but a coincidence that the most effective measures concerned closed places: the closure of restaurants, bars, sports halls and any place without a mask indoors. But now “wanting to tighten the screw by prohibiting access to the outside to fight against the coronavirus will not bring new gains, or so extremely marginal”, pleads the doctor, supporter of a strategy “to do more where the virus circulates actively, to do less where it does not circulate. “

Measures for measures

Make no mistake, the risks of inter-individual contamination are not zero on the outside. “But it is limited to just that, contamination between two individuals, and not in clusters as one can observe them in closed places”, indicates Yvon le Flohic. In MedRxiv pre-publicationOf October 2020 covering 25,000 cases, 6% of cases were linked to environments with an external component. But these took place in very specific contexts, such as sports, parties or concerts, where physical distancing is not respected, where people stay side by side for a very long time and where they are more likely to speak loudly or to speak out. sing – so many accelerators of contamination. For the doctor, “to think that one risks being contaminated by walking ten meters away from each other on a beach, that does not make sense”.

How then can we explain that most of the new measures concern the outdoors exclusively? Two hypotheses dominate. Firstly, a poor understanding of the disease, which is still sometimes seen as being transmitted through direct physical contact rather than through the respiratory tract and droplets. Second, “because it is easier to ban a beach or a park than to identify the clusters and take the necessary measures. It’s more about communication to have the illusion of moving forward, ”Yvon le Flohic is a little desperate.

Psychic confinement

All of this is not without consequences. In addition to creating a diversion, this over-attention to the outside world “scrambles communication on the importance of ventilating enclosed spaces, such as classrooms », Supports the doctor. It is difficult to both plead in favor of a renewal of the air coming from the outside while at the same time presenting the outside as a zone of high transmission of the virus.

Not to mention the consequences on the morale of the French. Yvon le Flohic continues: “This over-attention to the outside world also poses a societal problem: we have reached a year of epidemic and as much try not to deprive the French of leisure which would not be dangerous” For Robert Zulli, “it is important even in times of health crisis, to indulge in pleasures – provided of course that it is not dangerous for oneself or for others. Walking outside, leaving your home, getting some fresh air, it can do a lot of psychic good for people. Just enough to breathe a little.

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