French President Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron commemorating armistice day 2020
AFP via Getty Images
As the WHO announced that one person was dying from Covid-19 every 17 seconds in Europe, France hit some of its own discouraging statistics this week—it became the first country in Europe to reach 2 million confirmed and reported cases of Covid-19.
The country’s infectious diseases director Jérôme Salomon said on Tuesday, that “this second wave, which we are all facing, is massive, deadly and is straining all of our caregivers and our health system as a whole.”
However, it has also had some encouraging news in that the rate of infections is slowing and the number of new cases in the past week has declined, showing signs that the nationwide lockdown is having an impact on the spread of covid-19 through the population.
Salomon said that public adherence to national coronavirus restrictions is now “beginning to bear fruit” in France. Health Minister Olivier Véran told journalists on Monday that “the peak has passed”.
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As reported by The Local, the R rate (the number of new cases each Covid-19 positive person will cause on average) is less than one—a positive sign. The positivity rate for Covid-19 tests has also dropped and hospital patient numbers are flattening out.
The health minister added that whilst the signs were encouraging, the virus was still at such a dangerously high level that it could easily go back up again if people didn’t keep paying attention to social distancing and keep mostly at home, as they are being asked to do.