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“At the point where we are”, epidemiologist Dominique Costagliola “does not see how to avoid total containment”

“In the coming days and week, we will have new measures to take, all together” against the Covid-19 epidemic, Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday, during a press briefing at the end of the first day of the European Council. “At the point where we are, I do not see how we can not go towards total containment”, reacted on Friday March 26 on franceinfo Professor Dominique Costagliola, epidemiologist, director of research at Inserm.

>> Follow our live on the Covid-19 epidemic.

franceinfo: Emmanuel Macron felt he was right not to reconfine France. What do you think of this statement?

Dominique Costagliola: The role of early containment would have been to slow the spread of the English variant, since it is not possible to stop it completely. We can clearly see on the curves that things have started to rise again in most regions since the beginning of March. The goal would have been to limit this circulation so that an explosion a month later, when we had more dose, would have avoided the situation we see in the hospital now. What has also delayed the increase in hospital cases is the vaccination of the most vulnerable people. With the English variant there is a change in the proportion of people between hospital and intensive care. We had more young people. This complicated the interpretation of the data.

The government wants to wait and see the effectiveness of the measures taken in the 16 departments under strain before taking other measures. Is this a good thing?

When we see the situation at the hospital in certain regions, especially in Île-de-France, we know that they cannot wait. If it doesn’t work it’s going to be terrible. The difference between what happened in October and now is that in October it was the old variant, the one that made most of the epidemic. There we have a variant that is both more transmissible and more serious. So we need more severe measures.

“Everyone agrees that the measures that have been taken are not that severe. So the probability that it will work after 10 days seems quite modest to me.”

Dominique Costagliola, epidemiologist, research director at Inserm

to franceinfo

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What steps do you need to take?

At the point where we are, I do not see how we can not go towards total containment. I do not see how we are going to succeed in the schools where the situation is worsening. Incidences in the 10 to 19 age group are extremely high in Île-de-France and this has almost doubled in two weeks. In schools, all indicators have doubled in one week.

Are we just pushing back the deadline for strict confinement?

In some areas, hospitals are in dire straits. In Île-de-France we are at the maximum deprogramming, we use the blocks to install resuscitation services. I don’t do any more operations at all. For the moment we do not see the trend stopping. There is a fairly long delay between the moment when one acts on the incidence of the virus and the moment when it acts on the hospital. We already know that the next 10 days will continue on the current trend.

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Would the French accept a 3rd confinement?

I think the situation will impose it anyway. If you look at the incidence in France, there are two different regions: PACA where it is stable but high and Corsica where it is low and where it is falling. In all the other regions it has increased incredibly since the beginning of March.

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