December lockdown is necessary in France “to save Christmas”

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Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, 2019 Nobel Laureates in Economics, suggest the idea in an open letter published in The world newspaper on September 26.The married professors write that there will likely be a peak in the epidemic in winter due to lower temperatures and an increase in social and family events as Christmas approaches, and that the imposition of a second national lockdown in early December would allow families. to get together safely on Christmas Day.

They explain: “In the United States, the long weekends of Memorial Day at the end of May and of July 4 – Independence Day – were followed by peaks of contamination.”

The letter continues: “Responsible citizens will soon be faced with difficult dilemmas between their different tasks, and it is unreasonable not to guide them in these choices.

Family reunions, with their long moments of socializing around a table (not to mention singing), are unfortunately conducive to contamination.

They recommend, “Put in a nationwide lockdown for Advent, say December 1-20, asking families to stay home and not prepare for the holidays by going to see grandparents.”

The duo add that the last two weeks of the school term “could be done online”, and admit that “while the economic cost could be high, it would be less so than having to cancel Christmas”.

Still, the duo say stores should remain open to allow people to start shopping from November and allow people to order gifts for a December arrival.
The government is expected to prepare a “mass testing campaign” at the end of a lockdown after December 20, to allow families to continue with Christmas Day plans, the letter continued.

The duo concluded: “It’s a solution that, for once, works ahead of the virus; clear, uniform, transparent. It could also be seen as a price to pay for an immediate reward, a collective effort to save Christmas.

Health system already “exhausted and traumatized”

The recommendation comes as Dr Patrick Bouet, president of the medical body of the National Council of the Order of Physicians, warned that the health services could again be overwhelmed by an increase in cases in winter, while they had already been overwhelmed, “exhausted and traumatized” by the spring epidemic.

In an interview with journal the Sunday Newspaper today (September 27) he said: “The second wave is coming faster than we thought. If nothing changes [France will see] a generalized epidemic [and the health system] will be unable to respond to all requests made to it.

He added: ” [Health Minister] Olivier Véran was honest, but he didn’t go far enough. He did not say that, if nothing changes, in three or four weeks, France will have to face – for several long months in autumn and winter – a generalized epidemic throughout the country.

“But our health professionals, who performed a miracle in the spring, will not be able to fill the structural gaps again. Many are exhausted and traumatized. ”

He said he was disappointed that the first wave of the virus was not properly studied to “prepare for this” second wave. He said: “It was obvious people were going to let things go over the holidays, and that summer contaminations in seaside areas would fuel Covid infections in cities in September.”

Dr Bouet also called for the creation of a “practical committee” which would help support the governmental advisory body, the Scientific Council, which would “focus on the organization, logistics, practicality” of the different needs in each department. . This would prevent the whole organization from falling into hospitals, he said.

Covid-19 in France: latest updates

In the most recent figures from the health body Public Health France, as of Saturday, September 26, there were 14,412 more confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, and 39 deaths.

This represents a drop in cases and deaths from the previous 48 hours, but the level of test positivity continues to rise, and was at 7.2% yesterday from 6.9% on Friday.

In the past seven days, there have been 4,102 new hospitalizations, of which 763 severe cases have been admitted to intensive care, a slight decrease from the 747 recorded on Friday.

There are now 1,183 cluster outbreaks under active investigation – 58 more than the previous day.

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