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IN NUMBERS: Is the Covid situation in France really ‘under control’?

IN NUMBERS: Is the Covid situation in France really 'under control'?
Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP
Cautious confidence is mounting among medical experts that France may at long last have the Covid-19 situation under control, but there are still reasons to be wary.

“France is on the right track,” epidemiologist and member of the Scientific Council, Arnaud Fontanet, told RTL.

“We are happy to see how quickly the number of cases is decreasing. The few efforts that we continue to make are paying off a lot.”

 

Two weeks after the country reopened its café, bar and restaurant terraces numbers are still falling quickly and vaccination take-up has been impressive in a country well known for its vaccine scepticism.

But before we get too carried away there are still reasons to be cautious, among them fear of the newly named Delta variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in India and is spreading fast in the UK, and concern that the country is about to hit a vaccination plateau

So let’s take a look at the numbers to see how France is doing as of June 1st.

26,176,709 

The number of people in France who have had at least one injection of vaccine, according to the French Health Ministry. That’s 39.1 percent of the total population, and 49.8 percent of the adult population – the 50 percent barrier could be broken on Wednesday night.

11,220,050

The number of people in France who have had two doses of the vaccine – in percentage terms that’s 16.7 percent of the total population and 21.4 percent of adults.

The below graphics from French health journalist Nicolas Berrod show the percentages of people fully and partially vaccinated in each age group.

2,825

The number of patients in intensive care with Covid-19 on June 1st – down 120 on the previous day or 18 percent on the week, and dropping below the government’s 3,000 target for the first time since January.

Over the past seven days, an average of 126 patients a day were admitted into intensive care, 12.7 percent down on the previous week. 

137

There were 137 deaths in French hospitals on June 1st and seven more reported in nursing homes over the past four days.

The current average is 111.8 a day, down from 119.8, 157 and 221 in the three preceding weeks weeks.

9,848

The number of positive tests recorded in France on Tuesday.

Daily testing numbers in France tend to fluctuate over weekends and the presence of four public holiday in May mean that daily data has seen artificial peaks and troughs, but the overall trend remains a steep fall.

The above graph from French data scientist Guillaume Rozer, the man behind the Covidtracker and Vite ma Dose sites, shows the daily rates recorded in blue, with corrections in red over public holidays.

16,088

The total number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 – a fall of 508 on the previous day, and down from a peak of 34,000 in the autumn, but still higher than last summer’s base of 5,000.

61,200

The total number of new cases recorded over the past seven days

90

The French departments with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people. Two departments – Cote d’Or and Loire – have more than 150 cases/100,000; another 11 are below 50.

 

 

91

The current average Covid-19 incidence rate in France per 100,000 people, a rate that has more than halved in four weeks.

Six weeks ago eight départements of France had an incidence rate of over 400 and a month ago the national incidence rate was 224.

Although cases are falling, France is one of only a few countries in Europe with a 7-day incidence close to 100 – mainly due to the country having to recover from a higher third coronavirus wave. For comparison, Germany’s seven-day incidence rate is 37, although France does generally perform more tests.

0.83

The Reproduction rate – aka the R-Rate. Below 1 indicates that the virus is in decline.

 

46

Clusters of the newly named Delta variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in India. However France does not do as much genetic sequencing of its tests as the UK, the real numbers could be higher.

Fear of this variant has lead to France putting in strict travel controls on a number of countries including India and the UK – where this variant now makes up more than 50 percent of new cases. Travel from the UK is only allowed for essential reasons.


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  1. It’s clear from the British experience that 75% of the adult population need to be vaccinated ( with min 50% 2nd dose ) to see daily deaths in single figures. France has a way to go to achieve that and I hope they’re not going to open up too soon or too widely. We’ll see.

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