Covid: the government under pressure on the return of the wearing of the mask

Posted 6 Dec. 2022 at 19:03Updated 6 Dec. 2022 at 20:47

The image illustrates the difficulty of the presidential majority to be heard in its fight against the Covid. This Tuesday, on the first benches of the National Assembly to answer questions to the government, all the ministers wore a mask, but behind them, most of the deputies did not wear one.

“In all places where there is promiscuity, I invite the French to wear the mask systematically to protect themselves and be in solidarity with caregivers”, however insisted the Minister of Health, François Braun, questioned on the triple epidemic – of Covid, flu and bronchiolitis – which hits the French health system, already weakened before the return of the winter viruses by staff shortages.

The Covid epidemic is starting again

Taken aback by the Assembly’s speaking time rules, François Braun did not have the time to clarify the notion of promiscuity or to respond specifically to the majority deputy who asked him whether it was necessary to make it compulsory to wear masks in transport, shopping centers or even at work.

The return of the obligation to wear a mask is in everyone’s mind as the Covid-19 epidemic starts up again, raising expectations of a ninth wave. The number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants (incidence rate) has increased by 40% in recent days, underlined François Braun in the hemicycle. At 1er December, the number of hospitalizations over the last seven days exceeded 6,000, up more than 15%.

The situation seems all the more threatening as the peak of the bronchiolitis epidemic has not yet been reached. But it is already panicking pediatricians, who had not been confronted with an epidemic of such violence for ten years. In addition, the arrival of the flu is confirmed. More than half of France is in the “pre-epidemic” phase.

Faced with this conjunction of respiratory infections, the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, launched last week “a solemn appeal” to respect barrier gestures and to wear a mask in the presence of “fragile people” or in “promiscuous areas”. like public transport.

“Vaccination remains our weapon of mass protection”

The pressure to go further is strong. Sunday, the immunologist, Brigitte Autran, president of the Committee for monitoring and anticipating health risks (Covars), called in the “JDD” to “reinforce the wearing of a mask as much as possible in closed places”. To simply call the French to responsibility on the subject is “a bet”.

Seized by the government, the Covars must render “a complete opinion” on the epidemic situation in the coming days. “If we continue to increase contamination, my arm will not tremble if it is necessary to decide on the obligation of the mask, including in all circumstances”, assured Sunday François Braun.

After nearly three years of health crisis, on the eve of the end of year celebrations and against a backdrop of the energy crisis and inflation, the government does not seem to be in a hurry to further constrain the French. Especially since he ended the state of health emergency this summer. The executive continues to bet on vaccination to avoid aggravating the difficulties.

“Vaccination remains our weapon of massive protection against viruses,” insisted François Braun on Tuesday. Here again, however, calls are struggling to be heard. “It is far below what we have done in previous campaigns”, admitted the former emergency doctor about the recall campaign against the Covid. “As for vaccination against influenza, it is also lower than last year. »

No vaccine is yet available against bronchiolitis, insisted on Tuesday, the president of Covars, Brigitte Autran, before the deputies of the Social Affairs Committee, recalling the importance of wearing a mask.

VIDEO. Covid-19: the key figures of the epidemic in France

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