France’s population could still be under threat of second wave of Covid as too low a percentage has been exposed to the virus
LESS than 10 per cent of the French population has been exposed to the coronavirus in the Paris region and the east of France, two key areas affected by Covid-19, according to a new study.
Although President Emmanuel Macron has said the easing of lockdown is “on the right track,” researchers are warning of a second wave.
At the end of April, France’s Institut Pasteur in Paris published an estimation of infection levels of the population. It said around 5.7 per cent would have been infected by the virus, or around 3.7 million people by May 11, when lockdown measures were lifted.
The institute has revised its initial figure to around 4.4 per cent, or 2.8 million people, according to a new study.
Researchers estimate that 9.9 per cent of residents in the Ile-de-France region (including Paris) would have been contaminated by May 11, and 9.1 per cent in the Grand Est region, the two areas where the death toll has been the highest.
The low level of infections recorded is due to the effect of lockdown, which brought the transmission rate down from an average of 2.9 per person at the beginning of confinement to 0.67 at the end.
Simon Cauchemez, one of the authors of the study, says that as lockdown measures are gradually being lifted, it will not be surprising to see a resurgence of the virus.
They have already recommended that confinement measures should be extended until sufficient control measures are in place.
The group of researchers involved in the study said that the level of group immunity is not high enough to avoid a second wave without vaccinations.
Cauchemez said blood test results would provide them with an extra data to fine-tune their estimations.
Fatalities from Covid-19 in France has now reached over 27,000, with several new groups of infection forming in areas previously thought to be out of danger.
Although the numbers of people dying per day have dropped significantly, as with the number of patients in intensive care, health experts warn that the country must not let its guard down.