Strictly speaking, are we in a “second wave” of the epidemic?
Yes, because there is a rapid and worrying increase in the number of cases, which is not exponential as in March, but regular and constant. Except that people who become infected today are likely to develop serious forms in two to four weeks, and then occupy the intensive care unit. We must therefore anticipate, despite the uncertainty. Our resuscitation services are 30% to 40% full depending on the location: the big difference with spring is that this time we have to continue to treat everyone, rather than devoting 100% of our beds to Covid-19. It should therefore be understood that the rate of filling intensive care units is becoming a real cause for concern, even if they are not yet saturated.
So the curfew decreed by the President of the Republic seems necessary to you?
Unfortunately yes. The President of the Republic did well to make this difficult decision and I applaud him. Those who think we could get away with it without respecting it are betting. Governing is not betting.
Wouldn’t it have been enough to ban gatherings and private parties, rather than all evening activities?
We do not have the right to take risks, because any mistakes today can pay dearly in a few weeks, if we find ourselves in a situation where we can no longer treat everyone. I myself have long defended the reopening of restaurants and theaters, but when we still had leeway. But since then the wave has continued to rise and we have no more.
Yet had we prepared for the risk of a second wave?
No. The whole deconfinement was a failure. We couldn’t know for sure that there would be a second wave, but we had to be prepared in case it did occur. However, we are still one step behind the virus. It took several long weeks to get the mask accepted. The testing policy has been chaotic; the policy of isolating patients was non-existent. Remember: we were talking about requisitioning hotels, this was not done. The “tracing” policy with the StopCovid app did not work. As for resuscitation beds, we had 5,000 in March, we still have 5,000. We can certainly open additional beds, but by sacrificing conventional hospital beds. And then, to open beds is one thing, but it is also necessary for us to have equipment and personnel. However, the 10,000 respirators ordered by the President of the Republic seem almost all designed for the transport of patients, very few only for long-term ventilation. And the staff, we had in March thanks to the national health reserve, which worked because some professionals were not busy in their region, but it will not be this time. We are told that training additional staff does not happen in six months. Normally, this is true. But in an extraordinary situation, extraordinary solutions. It would have been necessary to identify all the professionals capable of carrying out resuscitation at European level, by creating a European health reserve, or quickly training health auxiliaries to free caregivers from as many unskilled tasks as possible. When it comes to war, think outside the box and be agile!
We have a peacetime administration that has neither prepared nor waged war. For years, I had warned against a crackdown in the health system in the face of a major event. We are there, with all its health consequences but also economic, social, educational and cultural. Today, unfortunately, the only national strategy that is put in place weighs only on the French, who are asked to respect the curfew and the wearing of masks. The authorities did not play their part in preparing for the second wave. I regret that it has come to this, but it is now necessary to comply with it because we have no other choice.
The question that arises in the future is therefore this: when are we going to finally pay for national life insurance, by creating health resources to match the risks of this magnitude, and which are not only epidemic? ? For fifty years, we have invested massively in a nuclear deterrent force which guarantees us peace. We need to make the same health care effort today, to be sure that in the future no epidemic will ever bring our country to a halt as it did. I am surprised that the stimulus package does not take this into account enough. We both lack funds (with a billion more GDP than us, the Germans spend more on health per capita than we do). And we manage poorly: the money does not go to care. Let me remind you of this raw data: in French public hospitals, there are as many full-time administrative equivalents as full-time equivalents of doctors. Hyper-administration disrupts and ruins us.