french people out and about on sunny day

image: French out and about on a sunny day

|| 17 March 2020 — updated

France and COVID-19

Insights Into French Character In Their Response to Coronavirus Emergency — and a disturbing French statistic.

Despite the 6633 confirmed coronavirus cases, despite the 148 deaths, despite the number of cases doubling every few days, despite the 300+ in intensive care and the prospect that the medical facilities will soon be overwhelmed — the French still are refusing to stay home.

Strong measures have become necessary. The following is excerpted from the NY Times Coronavirus Coverage 17 March 2020.

“We are at war,’’ Mr. Macron said in an address to the nation Monday night. “The enemy is invisible and it requires our general mobilization.”

Adopting martial language, President Emmanuel Macron ordered the French to stay at home for at least the next 15 days, as France put in place some of the most severe measures in Europe to try to curb the raging coronavirus.

The movement of French citizens will be tightly restricted, starting from midday on Tuesday and lasting through at least the end of the month, with people expected to stay home, leaving only for essential activities like food shopping. Anyone violating the order faces punishment.

France had already closed schools, cafes, restaurants and nonfood shops, as well as Paris parks. But the French government was taken aback by the casualness with which the French, and particularly Parisians, greeted the earlier restrictions on Sunday. The parks were full and there were crowds along the embankments and at the outdoor markets and pushing into bakeries and small food shops.

“There was something shocking about it,” Hervé Berville, a legislator who is close to Mr. Macron, said in a telephone interview Monday. “The French are not respecting the security warnings,” he said. “People are not following social distancing.” He said that it was “shocking’’ that people were ignoring health professionals and “the advice coming from the highest levels of government.’’

“We are seeing that the number of cases is doubling every three days,” Mr. Salomon [the French director-general for health] said. “There are hundreds of serious cases this morning in France’s intensive care units,” he said, adding that authorities were worried that the speed of the epidemic could provoke a “saturation of the French hospital system, which we absolutely want to avoid.”

According to an earlier NY Times report, 100,000 French police have been mobilized to enforce the stay at home order.

Bonne chance !

From the French reaction to the crisis so far, it appears that it will be as difficult to corral the French as it is to “herd cats.”

|| 16 March 2020

France and COVID-19

Insights Into French Character In Their Response to Coronavirus Emergency — and a disturbing French statistic.

The French, true to character, are responding to the Coronavirus as they do most other crises: they have taken to the streets. Unfortunately.

Despite the closing of all bars and restaurants, despite orders from the government to remain at home except for food or other necessities, despite having (as of this writing) 5,437 confirmed coronavirus cases and some 300 of those cases in critical condition, the French refuse to stay at home.

Of course, they may be a little confused about the order for remaining at home. Municipal elections were held Sunday despite the coronavirus.

Disturbing is the French statistic that half of the 300 in critical condition are UNDER age 60. Previously it was believed that those under 60 would only suffer mild cases of the virus.

Unfortunately I cannot find any breakdown of exactly what the ages of those 150 patients under 60. Nor were they healthy? Have serious health conditions before catching the virus? Were they smokers?

So much about this virus we still do not know. But if you are under 60, do not assume you do not need to be careful.

You can read more about coronavirus in France in this Business Insider article.

And on Reuters: French voters shun elections, enjoy sunshine despite coronavirus restrictions

Remember: hospital gowns are not chic.

be chic, stay slim, stay safe / soyez prudents — Anne Barone