After Lille, Nice and even Toulouse, it is now the turn of Paris to join the growing list of municipalities making it compulsory to wear a mask in certain streets and neighborhoods. The Paris police headquarters announced on Tuesday, August 4 that it was working with the town hall on a precise list of places where this obligation will be applied. In the capital, the epidemic is not yet worrying, but vigilance is called for, as the number of new daily cases has almost doubled in the last week.
Since July 31 and the announcement by the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, to leave the prefectures the possibility “To extend the obligation to wear a mask to open public places, (…) depending on the evolution of the epidemic in each territory”, so several hundred municipalities have decided to follow this recommendation. After the rather peaceful months of June and July on the epidemic plan, the daily data communicated by the General Directorate of Health put an end to a certain recklessness. It is now accepted that the virus is still circulating and that France remains at the mercy of a rebound.
So, so as not to have to confine, and then, probably also a little, to show that we do not sit idly by, wearing a mask, although deemed unnecessary a few months ago, becomes the ideal recourse. From a purely factual standpoint, the circulation of the virus is indeed on an upward slope. The number of daily cases continues to rise in the country and has now exceeded a thousand for almost two weeks. Newly, since the start of the week, there have been more intensive care admissions than discharges (a first since the peak in April).
In its eighth opinion, published on Tuesday, the Scientific Council warns against a decrease in vigilance, while considering that we still have the situation in hand. “It is up to us to avoid another rapid outbreak by respecting barrier gestures and social distancing, explained its president, Jean-François Delfraissy, in Le Figaro (5 August). If the epidemic progresses again, we are not at the same level as in March. “The situation remains very fragile ”, recognizes the Pr Delfraissy. But she’s not out of control yet. We do a lot of testing, and the percentage of positivity is very low. The number of outbreaks is multiplying, but we remain on small chains of contamination. ”
After several weeks of concern, the situation in Mayenne seems to be improving. On Tuesday August 4, the seven-day smoothed Covid-19 incidence rate fell back to around 50, after peaking at more than 150 between July 18 and July 24. This success can be attributed to a local and coordinated approach of the various actors, according to the President of the Scientific Council, who advocates decentralization of decision-making.
Wearing a mask is a good example. “In some city centers, the level of density makes social distancing impossible, including outside, judge Jean-François Delfraissy. You have to trust local institutions. ”
Remember that scientific work shows us that the risks of transmission outdoors are much lower than indoors. Open air promotes the spread of airborne particles, which greatly reduces the risk. However, not all exterior situations are the same. “If you move around and pass people briefly, the risk is lowe, explains Antoine Flahault, professor of public health and epidemiology at the University of Geneva. Wearing a mask is therefore not useful. On the other hand, on a crowded terrace or during a very dense festive gathering, wearing a mask is recommended. By recreating conditions of promiscuity, even outdoors, droplet transmission becomes a high risk again. ”
Making it compulsory to wear a mask in certain outdoor locations is undoubtedly more a precautionary principle than a scientific requirement. Perhaps such a step will allow a collective awareness, which could be enough to end the summer quiet.