- AFP and AP, Paris and Albany, New York
France would face a months-long COVID-19 epidemic that would overwhelm its health system if something didn’t change, one of the country’s top medical experts warned yesterday.
“The second wave is coming faster than we thought,” said Patrick Bouet, head of the National Council of the Order of Physicians, to the weekly Journal du Dimanche.
New restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the disease in the worst affected areas of the country, including the Mediterranean city of Marseille and the Paris region, have met local resistance.
Bouet told the newspaper that the warnings issued last week by French Health Minister Olivier Veran did not go far enough.
“He did not say that in three to four weeks, if nothing changes, France will face a generalized epidemic throughout its territory, for several long months of autumn and winter,” Bouet said.
There would be no medical personnel available to provide reinforcements and the French health system would not be able to meet all the demands placed on it, he said.
The health workers responsible for the spring “miracle” could not fill these gaps, he added. “A lot of them are exhausted, traumatized.”
The French health service recorded 14,412 new cases on Saturday in the past 24 hours – slightly less than the record of 16,000 recorded on Thursday and Friday.
However, in the past seven days, 4,102 people have been hospitalized, of which 763 are being treated in intensive care.
On Saturday, the owners of Marseille bars and restaurants demonstrated in front of the city’s commercial courthouse against the forced closings which are expected to begin in the evening.
Separately on Saturday, more than 1,000 New Yorkers tested positive for COVID-19 in a single day, marking the first time since June 5 that the state has seen such a high daily count.
The number of positive tests reported daily in the state has been steadily increasing in recent weeks, a trend perhaps linked to the reopening of the growing number of businesses and college campuses and to children returning to l ‘school.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday that there were 1,005 positive cases the day before, out of 99,953 tests, for a rate of 1% positive.
From late July to early this month, the state was seeing an average of around 660 people testing positive per day.
In the seven-day period that ended on Friday, the state averaged 817 positive tests per day.
Cuomo’s assistant Gareth Rhodes said on Saturday that the new number of positive cases came from nearly 100,000 tests, up from around 60,000 daily tests in June.
“Is there any cause for concern? As long as COVID is there, yes, ”Rhodes wrote on Twitter, noting that some zip codes in Brooklyn and the Lower Hudson Valley have seen an increase in new cases and hospital admissions.
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