Most of the new “restrictive measures” which will apply from this Saturday evening to all of France have already been in force for nearly two weeks in the Alpes-Maritimes. In light of the figures available on the Covid-19 epidemic, their effect is not obvious.
An analysis of the situation that is not unanimous among scientists … and which does not manifest itself indisputably in the public data on the monitoring of the Covid-19 epidemic.
While the first containment in spring 2020 had reversed all the curves in a few weeks, the measures taken this year do not significantly change the statistics.
The incidence rate is climbing … less quickly
In the Alpes-Maritimes, the incidence rate has fallen sharply since the implementation of the confinement of coastal municipalities from the weekend of February 26. But this decline began on February 25 … It is therefore impossible to say that this decline is linked solely to this political decision.
From March 20, the Alpes-Maritimes were placed under the regime of “additional restrictions” (limitation of travel to 10km and closure of certain shops). Since this “3rd confinement”, the incidence rate has started to rise again, going from 408 to 473 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
All the other departments of the Paca region are also experiencing an increase in the incidence rate … and it is in the Alpes-Maritimes that it is the least strong.
Between March 20 and March 28, the incidence rate increased by:
No clear difference in hospitalizations
If we observe the number of patients with Covid-19 hospitalized, it has fallen by 7% since February 26, date of the “coastal confinement on weekends”. But at the same time, the number of patients admitted to intensive care and other so-called “critical care” services increased by 24%, despite several transfers of patients to other regions.
In the Bouches-du-Rhône, the trend is similar with -8% of hospitalized Covid patients and + 13% in “critical care”. The same applies to the entire Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region with -2% in hospitalization and + 13% in “critical care”.
The evolution over the last seven days can give a first idea of the effect of the “3rd containment” in force since March 20. Here again, the confined Alpes-Maritimes are not really better off than the other departments in the region.
The number of people hospitalized is up slightly there (+ 4%) as in Bouches-du-Rhône (+ 2%), while it is falling in the other departments … with the notable exception of Vaucluse where the increase is strong (20%).
Same observation if we look at the new admissions of Covid patients to the hospital. Over the last seven days, the increase is greater in the Alpes-Maritimes (+ 11%) than in Bouches-du-Rhône (+ 8%) and Hautes-Alpes (+ 5%). Admissions are down in the Var (-7%). They explode in the Vaucluse (+ 56%).
Is the situation in Paca an exception?
Not really. If we compare the evolution of the incidence rate in the “confined” departments since March 20 to that of the whole country, the curves follow almost identical trajectories, with an increase followed by a slowdown since two days.
The same goes for the evolution of the positivity rate. Only the curves for new hospital and intensive care admissions are flatter in “confined” departments.
Will closing schools be a game-changer?
This is the novelty announced Wednesday evening by the Head of State: schools will no longer welcome students from this Friday evening. But are schools places of contamination?
The question divides the experts. Do children become infected at school before transmitting the virus to their parents, or on the contrary are they mostly infected at home by their parents, without however transmitting the virus much at school?
While the teachers’ unions regret “a huge mess”, the figures do not really allow this question to be resolved. In the Alpes-Maritimes, those “under 19” are the age group with the lowest incidence rate (along with that of octogenarians, most of whom have already been vaccinated).
“The virus did not circulate much in schools”
The results of saliva tests carried out in primary schools reveal extremely few positive cases: 7 cases out of 5,600 tests during the week of March 22 to 26 in the Alpes-Maritimes, 5 out of 1,300 in the Var, according to figures communicated by the rectorate from Nice.
“We carried out tests and we saw that the virus did not circulate a lot in schools, confirms Véronique Mondain, infectious disease specialist at the University Hospital of Nice. We must not put everything on the backs of young people. When we look closely, the only ones places where we get infected are the workplace, family, restaurants and transport “.
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