‘Nothing threatens the summer’: How France’s medical experts reacted to the reopening

As France moves into the third phase of reopening from health restrictions, case numbers are still falling sharply. Experts are optimistic about the summer but say keeping a close look at variants and getting people vaccinated remain key. 

'Nothing threatens the summer': How France's medical experts reacted to the reopening
Head of France's Scientific Council Jean-Francois Delfraissy. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Previously stages of reopening in France have often been met with gloomy warnings from experts that it was too soon – this time however, the French medical establishment seems markedly optimistic, mostly due to the increasingly successful Covid vaccination programme.

“I am not worried as long as French people stay reasonable in the new phase of the reopening,” said Jean-François Delfraissy, head of France’s Scientific Council which advises the government on Covid measures.

“We should, with this rhythm of vaccination, have a summer that should go on pretty well,” Delfraissy said on RTL radio

There is, however, still caution over the maintaining of health measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing. 

“Nothing is threatening summer at a national level, unless there is a huge slackening with a complete abandonment of health measures,” senior lecturer in epidemiology and the evolution of infectious diseases at the university of Montpellier Mircea T. Sofonea told Le Parisien.

Adding there was “no high risk of a fourth wave this summer.”

The high number of vaccinations – 30 million people should have received at least one dose by June 15th, well over half of the adult population – and the weather forecast have played a role in the overall optimism. 

“The number of hospitalisations should remain very low, in accordance with weather conditions which are not favourable to the circulation of the virus,” president of Predict, a company which works on the connection between the weather forecast and Covid-19, Alix Roumagnac told Le Parisien. 

This optimism comes as a surprise as Institut Pasteur experts had warned of a possible fourth wave in July when the government started to ease France’s strict lockdown back in May.

How did the experts go from a quite pessimistic to a very favourable outlook for this summer?

“Overall health measures had a much stronger impact on the virus circulation than what we had expected based on the previous waves,” according to T. Sofonea. 

“The closing of the schools had a very high impact, and the epidemic kept dropping when they reopened, as well as when the terraces reopened,” she said. 

Daily case numbers continue to fall in the country, even in some départments of the south west where the spread of the Delta variant has been worrying the authorities.

While the incidence rate had increased in parts of the south west, it is now dropping again. 

However, experts say a close eye must be kept on variants, which could provoke a fourth wave in September. 

“The epidemic could spread again in September or October, but this fourth wave will be really different from the others,” Delfraissy said on RTL radio, adding that the virus will be faced with “a highly vaccinated population which will be protected from variants.”

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French vocab and prices: Your guide to visiting the dentist in France

From finding a dentist to treatment costs, plus the crucial bits of French vocab, here's everything you need to know about visiting the dentist in France.

French vocab and prices: Your guide to visiting the dentist in France

The dentist – as unjustly dreaded in France as they are anywhere else in the world.

But, while few, if any, of us enjoy visiting our friendly, neighbourhood chirurgien-dentiste, we all know that it’s important to care for our teeth and gums, so here’s what you need to know.

How to make an appointment

A simple web search for a dentiste or chirurgien-dentiste will bring up the contact details of local professionals. Then it’s a case of ringing up to make an appointment. There is no need to be registered with a dentist, you can visit anyone who has a free appointment, although you may prefer to keep your appointments with the same person if you are  having ongoing treatment.

Alternatively, sites such as Doctolib may allow you to book a slot online.

If you’re worried about remembering your French verb conjugation while you have a mouth full of blood, Doctolib also lets you know which languages your dentist speaks.

READ ALSO How to use the French medical website Doctolib

How much it costs

The government-set going rate for a dental check-up is €23 for dentists working in the public health system – which most do. As a result, 70 percent of that fee, paid at the time of the consultation, will be reimbursed for anyone who holds a carte vitale.

Check-ups last as long as the dentist needs to examine your teeth. If no additional work is required, it’s just a few minutes in the chair.

If you require additional work, then how much you pay goes up – along with the time it takes. A basic filling, for example, costs €26.97, of which €18.88 is reimbursed. Descaling adds €28.92 to the initial bill, but is again partially reimbursed.

The upfront cost of root canal work on a molar, meanwhile, is €81.94, while extraction of a permanent tooth costs €33.44. 

The full price list is available on the Ameli website.

For any procedure that costs more than €70, your dentist will provide you with a written estimate, along with a number of options. 

Remember, these prices are for dentists operating in the state sector. Fees at private practices are higher.

What about crowns, implants or dentures?

Your dentist might offer you the option of a crown or implant instead of the basic treatments of fillings and extractions, but these are expensive and are usually not covered on the carte vitale, so here whether or not you have a mutuelle is important.

The top-up health cover known as a mutuelle – find more details here – will generally offer dental cover, but exactly what is covered depends on your policy.

If you require special treatment, make sure to consult the price list, as you will often have to pay up front before you can claim anything back. 

Dental hygienist/teeth-cleaning

If you like to visit the dentist regularly for a scale and polish you will need to check whether your dentist’s cabinet employs a hygiéniste dentaire (dental hygienist).

Most practices do but not all. If you’re going to a new practice it’s generally better to make an appointment first with the dentist for a check-up, and then ask for regular hygienist appointments.

Useful vocabulary

Dental surgery – un cabinet dentaire

Emergency dentist – un dentiste de service

I would like to make an appointment – je voudrais prendre un rendez-vous

I would like a check-up – je voudrais une visite de contrôle

It is an emergency – c’est une urgence

A tooth – une dent

Wisdom teeth – les dents de sagesse

A filling – une plombage or un pansement

une dévitalisation – root canal

I have broken a tooth – je me suis cassé une dent

I have a toothache – j’ai mal aux dents

My gums are bleeding – Mes gencives saignent

I have a cavity – J’ai une carie

My gums hurt – J’ai mal aux gencives

This one hurts – Celle-là me fait mal

These ones hurt – Celles-là me font mal

An abscess – Percer un abcès

Nerve – le nerf

An extraction – une extraction

Injection – une injection/une piqûre

Local anaesthetic – une anesthésie locale

Denture/s – les dentier/s or une prothèse dentaire/les prothèses dentaires

A crown – une couronne

A bridge – un bridge

ARRRRRRGH – AIIIIIIIIE (hopefully you won’t need this one)