Emmanuel Macron is an example of European leaders.
- Doctors warn of shortage of hospital beds in Paris as COVID-19 patients clog intensive care wards
- President Macron introduced a 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew in Paris and other metropolitan areas
- Other European countries such as Spain and the UK are experiencing similar peaks
All are struggling with a virus that reappears as the second wave crosses the continent.
The French president was determined not to institute a second lockdown and to further harm the French economy.
He held on, but the virus has now forced his hand.
This week, he instituted a state of emergency and imposed a strict curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. in Paris and eight other metropolitan areas.
“The virus is everywhere in France,” he said.
Mr Macron had no choice but to act, and he may still need to go much further as the French hospital system is on the verge of being overwhelmed.
‘The situation is critical’
Professor Djillali Annane, head of the intensive care unit at Raymond Poncaire hospital in Paris, gave the ABC a chilling account of what’s to come.
“We are really close to being saturated in the ICU, we are very close to the missing beds to admit new patients,” said Professor Annane.
Europe is engulfed by a second wave of COVID-19 and there is a very real and frightening possibility that it could be worse than the first.
Professor Annane predicts that in two months, the daily death toll will return to levels seen at the height of the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.
Then the numbers have systematically exceeded a thousand deaths per day.
He warned that doctors will soon have to decide which patients most deserve ICU care.
Professor Annane said that in his large public hospital in the French capital, up to 70% of beds are now occupied by patients with COVID-19, making it difficult to manage those admitted with others. conditions and diseases.
“We are also entering the flu season,” he warned.
“So basically COVID-19 is going to merge with the flu season so we won’t see blue skies until next spring. “
Growing viruses across Europe
The virus’s summer reprieve, when the number of cases dropped dramatically, is now over.
There is a further increase in the number of coronavirus cases in almost every country in Europe.
This is not surprising given that governments have been warned that the rapid lifting of restrictions to allow people to take advantage of the summer months and restart economies would lead to a resumption of the virus.
In France, as in Spain and the UK, the government has clearly lost control, but Mr Macron does not want another national lockdown.
In the UK, too, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is determined not to inflict the “misery” of a second national lockdown on the people.
London is the latest city to have improved England’s three-tier warning system.
The capital is now at level two, or “high” alert, which means households can no longer mix inside.
The Spanish government has ordered a 15-day state of emergency in the capital Madrid and the number of cases in the Netherlands has doubled in a week.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also announced a series of new restrictions as Germany, the leader in the fight against COVID-19, entered a new phase of “exponential growth”.
Obstacles to French social life
Mr Macron’s new severe curfew will still allow the French to go to work and children to go to school, but will put shackles on their social life.
They will have to leave the street at 9 p.m. unless they have a very good reason not to be.
Doctor François Braun, head of a French union of emergency services, believes that hospitals are better prepared this time around, in particular thanks to improved treatment.
“We’re not facing a tornado like in March for example, it’s more of a rising tide, so we think we have time to prepare for the next few weeks,” he told ABC.
But Dr Braun said saturation of hospital beds remains a real concern.
“We have 40 percent of the beds occupied by patients with COVID-19, but the other beds, of course, are not empty too, with patients who have had surgery and other medical issues,” he said. .
Some French experts have warned that 90% of survival beds could be occupied by the end of the month.
Professor Annane fears that there are not enough medical staff to cope with the influx and that those in the wards are already tired.
“We are indeed exhausted and we fear we will not be able to stand up next month, and it is because we are very close to burnout.”
The UK is believed to be around two to three weeks behind its European neighbors in terms of the spread of the virus, although the number of cases already daily is around 20,000.
Boris Johnson, like Emmanuel Macron, is determined to hold on before introducing tougher restrictions nationwide.
But they are both in the hands of the virus and they have a duty to ensure that their health systems are not overwhelmed in the second wave.
For now, the French leader is hoping the strict curfew measure will start to make a difference, although there are no guarantees.
The daily infection rate peaked at 27,000 over the weekend, so it will be difficult to stop the exponential rise in case rates.
COVID-19 has already killed 33,000 in France and for now its capital, the City of Light, will darken a little earlier in the hope that the count will no longer be equaled.