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are epidemiologists wrong in their models, as Emmanuel Macron insinuates?

I have no mea culpa to do, no remorse, no acknowledgment of failure. ” Thursday evening, President of the Republic was inflexible in the face of criticism of the management of the health crisis, during a surprise press conference. “Should we have confined the country on January 29, as some were saying, as models showed we were going to blaze in February?” asked Emmanuel Macron. For him, no: “We were right not to reconfine France because there was not the explosion that was expected by all the models.” However, the models carried out then rather warned against an epidemic resurgence in mid-March, and this revival did indeed take place.

Return at the end of January 2021, when the epidemic situation in France is not as alarming as it is today. The daily figures then draw an ascending plateau, but the concern is elsewhere: several variants have been identified and their progression worries the French authorities. The variant B.1.1.7, which appeared in England, seems more contagious, and raises fears of a rapid deterioration of the epidemic situation.

L’equipped with modeling of infectious diseases Inserm then looked into the question and published on January 16 udo study (PDF, in English). The researchers estimate, thanks to their models, that the variant would become dominant in France between the end of February and mid-March “, inducing an increase in hospital pressure: “New weekly hospitalizations should reach the level of the peak of the first wave (around 25,000 hospitalizations) between mid-February and early April, in the absence of interventions”, write the researchers.

For its part, the Scientific Council, which issues opinions to guide the decisions of the executive, proposes confinement at the end of January to prevent the explosion of cases in March. Il thus writes a lighting note (in PDF) dated January 29, in which he exposes an alarmist scenario: “The emergence of a variant of the virus will make controlling the epidemic in France even more difficult in the months to come”. The authors continue: “SIf we do not succeed in stemming the progression of the virus with strong measures, we risk being confronted with epidemic peaks similar to those observed in March-April and November 2020, or even higher “.

Even if the immediate situation at the end of January is not critical, the Scientific Council then pleads for the implementation of more restrictive measures.. “Early containment saves time at a critical moment”, underlines the report. Confining from February 1 or February 8 would delay the resumption of epidemic circulation at a time when “vaccination and new treatments will be more available.” The Council warns, however, that such measures will not allow “to avoid a resumption of the circulation of the virus beforeEC le vary VOC [identifié au Royaume-Uni] in the month of March “.

Despite the president’s words, the models carried out in January made scientists fear an epidemic resurgence in March, which was indeed the case. The proposal to establish containment from the beginning of February was intended to limit the scale of this new wave. A preventive health measure that was not chosen by the executive, who preferred to play the political gamble card.

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Source site www.francetvinfo.fr

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