Covid-19. Without a mask or health restrictions, can the presidential election relaunch the epidemic?

 Covid-19.  Without a mask or health restrictions, can the presidential election relaunch the epidemic?

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If you are sick this weekend, you will still be forced into solitary confinement on Monday. But you will have every right to vote on Sunday. And this even without a mask, which is only “recommended”…

Hydroalcoholic gel, but no mask required

Such are the rules laid down by the government for the holding of the presidential election on April 10 and 24 : no obligation, only recommendations. Namely, wear a mask for the most fragile, ventilate, avoid too high a concentration of people in the office… and use hydroalcoholic gel – now recognized as useless in the face of Covid-19.

There was obviously no question of limiting access to polling stations for the sick, fragile, or others, voting being a right guaranteed by article 3 of the constitution:

The vote […] is always universal, equal and secret. are voters […] all adult French nationals of both sexes, enjoying their civil and political rights

Article 3 of the constitution

This is why there was never any question of imposing the health pass during the 2020 and 2021 elections.

750,000 voters contaminated at the very least

But between the prohibition of access and the implementation of a few simple rules, there is a chasm, as many caregivers point out, with regard to the epidemic situation: with an incidence rate, on the rise, almost of 1500, approximately 1.5% of the population is contaminated each week.

That is, out of 48.7 million registered voters, nearly 750,000 people. At the very least: these are only cases confirmed by an antigenic test or PCR. However, it is commonly accepted that the real number of people infected – and therefore contagious – is 2 to 3 times higher, given the large number of asymptomatic people and patients confirmed by self-testing.

What makes say to the writer and doctor Christian Lehmann, author of “Holding the line, diary of an epidemic”that a thirteenth candidate will be at 2% on Sunday in the polling stations, in the first and second rounds: Sars-Cov-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19.

A high incidence rate everywhere

Voters will not all be in the same boat: depending on their place of voting, the incidence rate varies from simple to double, with 800 to 1100 overseas, around 1000 in New Aquitaine, and more than 2000 for southern Corsica.

Either an incidence rate at least double the level one time brandished by the government to lift the restrictions: Olivier Véran previously considered that it was unwise to lift them above 400 or 500.

According to Christian Lehmann, it is not a question of “locking people up” but of taking simple measures: at least wearing an FFP2 mask to vote. If only to protect the assessors and town hall employees, who will sometimes spend ten hours in the polling stations:

The problem is that, when a month before, in a completely random way, you decided to drop the barrier measures, including the mask in an enclosed place, you can hardly say that it is essential at the polling station , but not in the supermarket or bakery

Christian Lehmann

Undercounting and weakly immunizing virus

There is an under-counting of contaminations: the number of tests is decreasing, but we can clearly see that the positivity rate is increasing.

In fact, more than a third of the tests carried out in recent weeks are positive.

Dr. Lehmann denounces the “bet of the government” to have wanted to let “spin” the Omicron variant, on the grounds that it is less dangerous. Except that with ten times more contamination, he recalls, we obtain mathematically at least as many serious forms.

And to point out another aspect, still unknown, with Omicron: it is very little immunizing compared to the previous variants:

You have people who had the Covid in November, December, January… and who were reinfected in the following weeks. Before Omicron, with Alpha, Delta… it was anecdotal, but it isn’t anymore

Christian Lehmann

“If I know it, Véran knows it”

In other words, no immunity, but no counting either: a patient reinfected within two months is only counted once – which reduces the actual number of contaminations by the same amount.

Additionally, a newly infected person may feel “safe” and think they are only suffering from a cold or flu right now, not a new infection with Omicron. At the risk of not taking precautions vis-à-vis those around him.

Faced with the absence of strong sanitary measures in the polling stations, Christian Lehmann deplores this “bet on people”:

“If I know it, Véran knows it, asserts the doctor. So this man is knowingly lying. I’m not saying we’re all going to die with Omicron! But the concern is that between the minister’s speech and the reality, we are infecting everyone, but for nothing! Since there is no stable immunity. And that, in the batch, there will be long covids, people who will have sequelae, children who will make a Pims, deaths, etc. »

More than a hundred deaths a day

Given the lifting of restrictions four weeks earlier, which he deplores, the doctor does not anticipate any particular explosion of contamination just “because of the election”: the situation will not be very different at the polling station. or at the supermarket.

But he regrets that the virus is being let slip away, if only to the detriment of the most fragile: even less dangerous, the Omicron variant is wreaking havoc. “But if the hospital is holding up, everything is fine,” they say today.

Every day, more than a hundred people die of Covid in hospital, or “one death every twelve minutes”, recalls Christian Lehmann. And since January 1, twenty children aged 0-9 and thirteen children aged 10-19 have died: more than during the previous two years.

About Sunday’s election, with the collective “On the side of science”, Christian Lehmann insists: “We just want to tell you, “you are going to be in danger, so just wear a mask!” »

The collective also sent a press release to the Association of Mayors of France, to request the application of simple measures, in the face of the “carelessness” of the government. Like the incentive to wear a mask, but also the installation of CO2 detectors to measure the ventilation of the premises. AMF’s response, in essence: “Public health is the responsibility of the State”.

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