The French will soon have to deal with an additional rule to fight the Covid-19 epidemic. Emmanuel Macron confirmed, Wednesday, October 14, that anot curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. would apply from Saturday, October 17, in Ile-de-France and in eight metropolises (Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Montpellier, Rouen, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse). The latter will last at least “four weeks”, but could be extended to six weeks with the agreement of parliamentarians.
How is this measure justified scientifically? Has it proven its effectiveness in breaking the chains of contamination? Here are some answers.
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Little data is available on the effectiveness of the curfew in controlling an epidemic. Before the Covid-19 crisis, this measure had never been introduced for health reasons, recalls the historian Patrick Zylberman, quoted by The Parisian (paid item). However “what is called the curfew is a measure which is relevant”, assured Emmanuel Macron Wednesday evening, because it allows “the slowing down of social contacts”.
To justify the implementation of such a measure, the president notably used the example of Guyana, where the curfew was tested. according to variable modalities since spring. According to a study pre-published Monday, to which the Institut Pasteur contributed, and that Release relayed, it has reduced the rate of transmission of the virus by 36%. “Due to the curfew, we have benefited from a halving of the peak of intensive care hospitalizations”, Clara de Bort, director of the Guyana Regional Health Agency, also explained to franceinfo.
“Since deconfinement, we can clearly see that all the precautionary measures, such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, encouraging teleworking and banning large gatherings, are not obstacles but brakes to ‘epidemic”, add in Release Mircea Sofonea, lecturer in epidemiology of infectious diseases at the University of Montpellier (Hérault). “The R0 is currently between 1 and 1.3. We still need about half a point of decline to get the situation under control. “, she adds to justify the implementation of such a measure.
“Of course, in small towns this does not help and does not change anything, but there is no denying a certain nightlife in Paris, Madrid or Berlin”, also falls for 20 minutes Michaël Rochoy, general practitioner and head of clinic at the University of Lille (North). And the expert to indicate that“we know that we are twice as likely to be contaminated in restaurants or bars than elsewhere”.
Other specialists are more divided. “The problem is that we cannot establish a certain correlation [entre couvre-feu et réduction des contaminations] since the curfew was not the only measure imposed in Guyana to contain the virus “, underlines Michèle Legeas, teacher at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health, specialist in the analysis and management of health risk situations, in 20 minutes.
Otherwise, “we do not really know when and how the transmission of the coronavirus takes place”, even if “we see today [qu’il] circulates a lot in France in the 15-45 age group“and that we “suppose this age group comes out at night”, she says.
Finally, if it makes it possible to limit the economic consequences on companies, the curfew does not replace the closure of the places which constitute the main clusters, underline experts. “It’s a lot in business, in universities and schools”, notes Nathan Peiffer-Smadja, infectious disease specialist at CHU Bichat, in Paris, on franceinfo.
Lcompanies outside healthcare establishments (25%), the school environment and university (21%) the extended family environment and public / private events temporarily bringing together people (17%) are thus the main foci of transmission outside nursing homes, underlines Public Health France, in its last weekly update of October 8. It would therefore have been necessary to insist more on “teleworking which is important because we see a lot of clusters in business”, valued Nathan Peiffer-Smadja.