IN NUMBERS: Covid-19 deaths, cases and hospital patients in France

IN NUMBERS: Covid-19 deaths, cases and hospital patients in France
Medical workers push a gurney carrying a patient outside the Scroff Hospital on November 4th in Lorient, western France. Photo: AFP
Nearly one week into France's second nationwide lockdown, what is the coronavirus status in the country like?

In this article we have picked some of the key numbers and put them into context to give you a better understanding of how the virus is developing in France.

Some of the numbers included came out on November 4th in public health agency Santé Publique France's daily update, while others came out in their latest weekly report, which analyses the development of the virus in detail, both on a national and local level.

The most recent report, which was published on October 29th, collected data until October 27th.

Here is a look at the latest key numbers.

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See also on The Local:

385 – the number of deaths in hospitals caused by Covid-19 in the last 24 hours on Tuesday, November 4th. This number should be carefully interpreted due to occasional lags in hospitals reporting deaths. It tends to drop over the weekend and then spike in the beginning of the week. 

On November 3rd, health authorities reported 854 Covid deaths, but half of these were delayed care home deaths spread over several days. After problems with daily data collection, France now reports hospital deaths daily and deaths in the country's Ehpad nursing homes weekly.


However the current death toll is much higher than it was one month ago. In early October the weekly average was around 55 deaths per day in hospitals. Currently the number has exceeded 300.


During the worst period this spring in early April, France recorded around 600 deaths per day. Hospitals worry the numbers will be higher this time around as the peak of the pandemic has yet to arrive.

READ ALSO ANALYSIS: How long will France’s second lockdown last?

27,511 –  the total number of Covid-19 hospital patients on November 4th (full data here). One month ago, on October 5th, the number was 7,276. 

France’s hospital numbers now resemble those registered just before the height of the pandemic in mid April. Last time, the peak came on April 4th (32,131 patients), when France had been in an even stricter lockdown than the current one since March 17th, so nearly three weeks. The current lockdown has lasted nearly one week, and hospitals warn that the peak of new patients will not arrive until one to two weeks from now.

4,080 – the total number of patients receiving intensive care treatment per November 4th, up from 1,335 one month ago, on October 4th, and 467 on September 4th.

France has 5,800 long-term intensive care beds and can, according to the health minister, increase the total capacity to 7,700 within 15 days “without major organisational effort”.

The government has stepped up transfers of patients between regions and has also sent some patients to Germany for treatment.

Hospitals want to avoid having to dedicate all their resources to Covid-19, which they did during the first wave of the virus, at the expense of other treatments. However, most have begun to reschedule and postpone other treatments.

READ ALSO How France's second wave of Covid-19 is very different to the first


43,438 – the number of new Covid-19 cases recorded in the last 24 hours on November 4th. One month ago the number was 5,084.

For months, the clear trend has been a steep rise in case numbers which cannot be explained by France's increased testing rates alone.

392 – the “incidence rate”. On a national level, France registered 392 new positives per 100,000 inhabitants on average in the seven days preceding October 27th. The incidence rate has nearly quadrupled in one month, it was 104 in the last week of September.

MAP: How France's Covid-19 second wave exploded in just one month

The map below shows the incidence rate in each commune in France, dark blue signifying a rate above 250 (which is very high).

Source: Santé Publique France

2,118,792 – the total number of tests done in the seven days preceding November 4th, up from around 1 million in September. France has radically increased its testing capacities since this spring, and recently incorporated antigen nasal swab tests which give results in 15-30 minutes into its strategy in order to reduce waiting times and delays in getting results back.

READ MORE: Will new Covid-19 antigen tests solve France's testing headache?

75 and over – the age group seeing the highest increase of its incidence rate the week preceding October 27th (by 21 percent). That meant the virus was spreading the fastest among France's elderly population who are extra vulnerable to the virus. All age groups did however see a spike in their incidence rate; by 18.5 percent among those aged  between 15 and 44; 19.8 percent for those aged between 45 and 64; 19.5 percent for those aged between 65 and 74.

18.6% – the percentage of total tests that brought back a positive result, referred to as “positivity rate”, as of October 27th. The positivity rate has been rising steadily over the past months – it was 8.6 percent on October 5th and 1.8 percent in early August.

63% –  more than half the people who tested positive in the seven days leading up to October 27th presented symptoms. The rate of positive asymptomatic cases dropped after French authorities earlier this fall advised people against getting tested for Covid-19 unless they were an identified contact case or presented symptoms.

3,042 –  the number of clusters currently being investigated by health authorities per November 4th, 912 of which were in elderly nursing homes (EHPAD). These numbers, both the number of total clusters and those in EHPAD have been rapidly rising the past couple of months. Identifying clusters remains a crucial part of France's strategy of testing, tracing and isolating. Health authorities worry that the steep rise in the number of clusters in EHPAD will lead to more fatalities, like they did this spring.

READ ALSO How coronavirus tore through France's elderly nursing homes during the first wave of infections



Member comments

  1. All the Covidiots who think masking is unnecessary, there’s no “real” pandemic, the government is conspiring, etc. Should be sent to an island and sprayed with the Coronavirus. Seeing their reactions would be most entertaining, as would seeing their chaotic total failure to cooperate for any kind of common good .

  2. Yes David, excellent! I live in New Zealand, currently under socialist rule. Our media has been bought and is totally biased. Kiwis were frightened into compliance at the start of the pandemic when we had one or two cases. We were told 80,000 could die out of a population of 5 million!! 25 have died, 5 of whom were not tested for Covid. Most of these were very elderly dementia patients who were seperate days and moved from their rest home to isolation care. Old people die when you do that. It did for my grandfather and SIXTEEN others within a year when his home closed. Fear is used to control and still is. We will be an isolated country until there is a vaccination. Thank your lucky stars France, you still have freedom. Kiwis shut out who finally manage to get into locked quarantine have to pay 3100$ for the pleasure plus invasive testing. These numbers were ridiculous for our minuscule population but the public think we have been saved by a massiah. The people that control the narrative have the power.

  3. RCS: There appears to be a false dichotomy in your argument between individuals and the state. In reality, they are intricately linked reciprocally. I agree that individuals need to take action, but it is also the duty of the state to correctly inform, protect, and guide the people so that they can take proper action. Most countries have initially failed to do so, by lifting travel restrictions, not providing enough testing, not stocking enough mask, and the list goes on.

    The comparison to WW2 is unfruitful, as the conditions we face today are entirely different. The reason people could endure 6 years of war (or 100 years of war between France and England etc…) has very little to do with individual perseverance and responsibility. Japanese kamikaze attack, for example, did not reflect the Japanese soldier’s sacrificial dedication to their country but rather the manipulation and normalization by the Imperial Japanese government. The parents who cheered for their sons when they were selected as kamikaze pilots would later regret and question how they could be so brainwashed. All this is a testament to how much the state shapes our behavior and thinking, and this is still true today.

  4. RCS You are obviously an idiot and read the Daily Mail. One only has to look where the current outbreaks are to realise travel restrictions were lifted far too early and what’s the bloody war got to do with it? The war was over 80 years ago and is not relevant in today’s society. Next you’ll be singing the praises of Brexit.

  5. Surprising how wide the gap is between those who (somehow, in the face of all evidence to the contrary) believe the epidemic is over (because they are tired of it) and those who think the government lifted travel restrictions too early and are therefore, inexperienced and naive and thus, the villain in the story (because it is never down to the individual to act responsibly). As was stated by another reader and has also been my point throughout – ww2 lasted 6 miserable years. No idea how long it would last and no idea of the outcome… but they carried on. Wearing a simple face mask and controlling your distance while going about most of your normal life really isn’t a great sacrifice. The fact that the numbers are rising is due to individual choice of selfishness overwhelming all other emotions. Adults are supposed to be more emotionally evolved than petulant teenagers. It is exactly as the other writer stated, get on with it and get rid of it. I would add, grow up.

  6. Trigger? Not the Trigger from Only Fools And Horses? He wasn’t the brightest pencil in the box either. It’s attitudes like his that cause the virus to keep spreading. Why can’t people just toe the line and help get rid of this menace it’s hard to understand. Six years the second world war lasted and people had all kinds of hardships to put up with and absolutely no idea how long it would last. Get on with it and get rid of it!

  7. Trigger, you’re channeling Trump, do you seriously want France to be in the same mess as the US? No-one wants to have COVID-19, sure you may recover but could also be left with permanent organ damage, even if you were healthy to begin with.

  8. Trigger, you’re channeling Trump, do you seriously want France to be in the same mess as the US? No-one wants to have COVID-19, sure you may recover but could also be left with permanent organ damage, even if you were healthy to begin with.

  9. Trigger, you’re channeling Trump, do you seriously want France to be in the same mess as the US? No-one wants to have COVID-19, sure you may recover but could also be left with permanent organ damage, even if you were healthy to begin with.

  10. Trigger, you’re channeling Trump, do you seriously want France to be in the same mess as the US? No-one wants to have COVID-19, sure you may recover but could also be left with permanent organ damage, even if you were healthy to begin with.

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