Cradle of the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Grand-Est has so far resisted better than other regions to the resurgence of the epidemic. Caregivers attribute this finding to better respect for barrier gestures, while fearing a new epidemic peak.
Strasbourg, Reims, Metz, Nancy or even Mulhouse, where an army field hospital had been deployed in the spring: none of these cities appears on the list of agglomerations placed under curfew.
The Nancy Jazz Pulsation festival is even one of the rare cultural events in France to continue, until Saturday evening, to welcome the public, and the Meinau stadium should receive up to 5,000 supporters on Sunday for the Strasbourg poster. Lyon, when other meetings will take place behind closed doors.
With a weekly incidence rate (week 42) of 113.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the region, against 205.2 nationally, the Grand-Est is currently much less confronted than its neighbors in the second wave of the epidemic.
A controlled situation that can be observed in the moderate number of patients with Covid-19 treated in hospital: they were 376 Friday in the conventional sector, and 67 in intensive care, all establishments combined, far from the peaks reached in the spring, with 4993 patients and 971 people in intensive care.
Compliance with sanitary measures
In an attempt to explain this lesser circulation of the virus compared to the rest of the national territory, health professionals are putting forward several hypotheses.
The most widely shared is that of better respect for barrier gestures and the wearing of a mask, favored by “a more acute awareness of the damage caused by serious forms of Covid-19” after the first wave, indicates to the AFP Julien Pottecher, head of the intensive care unit at Strasbourg University Hospital.
In the region, “everyone reports the case of a relative, a friend or a neighbor who died of Covid-19, was hospitalized for a long time or has not yet fully recovered”, notes t -he.
The data posted on the Géodes platform of Public Health France tend to support this thesis: the hygiene measures recommended by the health authorities have been observed more in the Grand-Est region than elsewhere in France. Thus, at the end of August (latest data available), wearing a mask had been adopted by 72% of the regional population, against 61% in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur and 68.6% in France.
No collective immunity
Sometimes mentioned, the track of a stronger collective immunity does not hold, according to Yves Hansmann, head of the infectious diseases department at the Strasbourg University Hospital. “The figures we have are around 10 to 15% of the population who would have immunity”, after a first contamination. “However, it is estimated that it is necessary to go up to about 70% to prevent the circulation of the virus, we are very far from it”.
The president of the national union of biologists, François Blanchecotte, emphasizes the success of the test policy in Grand-Est. “In this region, the laboratories invested a lot to provide the results in 24 hours. The conditions were more difficult elsewhere”.
The regional health authorities nevertheless refrain from any triumphalism. In the greater Strasbourg area, the heightened alert threshold has just been exceeded, with 173.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the week of October 7 to 13, according to Géodes.
“There was a rapid deterioration this week”, concedes Michel Vernay, epidemiologist and head of the Grand-Est intervention unit for Public Health France. “We have the same route as the other regions, but with a four to six week lag in time.”
The acceleration of viral circulation worries healthcare teams. “We have few Covid patients, but that is already a problem for us because the hospital is full,” warns Professor Christian Rabaud, president of the Nancy CHRU establishment medical commission.
“In March we had everything deprogrammed, but there the operations (except Covid-19) are maximum, in particular because of the accumulated delay. We will have double work, while the problem in terms of human resources has not been at all solved “.