MAP: Where are the worst hit Covid regions in France?

The famous arc of Ardèche - the French  département with the highest Covid incident rate.
The famous arc of Ardèche - the French département with the highest Covid incident rate. (Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP)
Despite a high vaccine coverage, the number of Covid cases reported in France is accelerating as are deaths and hospitalisations. But there are significant regional disparities.

Covid 19 cases continue to soar in France.

On Tuesday, health minister Olivier Véran announced that there had been 47,000 new cases detected in the previous 24 hours. Case numbers are often high on Mondays and Tuesdays due to a lag in reporting from the weekend, but the weekly average – considered a more reliable way to measure the data – also shows an increase of 60 from the previous week.

The daily average of cases is now 29,428. 

Between November 21st-27th, there were 307 Covid cases per 100,000 people. In Paris, this figure climbs to 435 per 100,000. The official data points to significant regional differences in this incidence rate. 

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Weekly cases per 100,000 people in France. Purple indicates the worst hit regions. Map: Covidtracker.fr

Worst affected

  • Ardèche has an incidence rate of 598 per 100,000 people – the highest of any département in France. 
  • The Hautes-Pyrénées, a mountainous department in the southeast of France has an incidence rate of 499 per 100,000 people, 
  • The incidence rate in Jura, eastern France, is also much higher than the national average, reaching 488 per 100,000. 

It is worth noting that many of the départements with higher than average incidence rates cover vast rural areas. The small population sizes means that a single case of Covid detected has a greater impact on the départemental percentage. 

Least affected 

Officially, the French overseas territories of Mayotte (22 cases per 100,000 people) and Guyane (89 per 100,000) have the lowest infection rates. It is possible that the relatively youthful populations of these places, the climate and a lack of testing are behind these low figures. 

  • In Lozère, a landlocked département in southern France has the lowest incidence rate on the mainland with 125 cases per 100,000. Lozère is one of the most sparesely-populated départements in France.
  • Deux-Sèvres in western France has an incidence rate of 141 per 100,000 people. 
  • Calvados in northern France has an incidence rate of 145 per 100,000. 

Hospital pressure

Although France’s high vaccination rate is protecting many people, rates of hospitalisation and deaths are also climbing.

The daily average of Covid-related admissions to intensive care is now 160, up 40 percent on the previous week, while deaths stand at 70 per day, an increase of 28 percent on the previous week. In total 38 percent of intensive care beds are now occupied by Covid patients. 

How is the government doing? 

The French government recently revised its policy on booster shots, the health pass, masks and testing – you can find a full breakdown of the new rules here.

A representative poll of more than 1,000 people, conducted by Ifop-Fiducial and released on Tuesday, found that 43 percent of the population approved of French President Emmanuel Macron’s handling of the pandemic.


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