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Canada Coronavirus in Lille: Why the metropolis is one of the most affected in France

20:40  29 october  2020
20:40  29 october  2020 Source:   20minutes.fr

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The European metropolis of Lille (MEL) is, after Saint-Etienne, the territory in which the incidence rate is the highest in France

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The recipe for sad success. On October 24, the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL) had an incidence rate of 921 people positive for Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants. A figure that places the MEL in second position of the metropolises most affected by the coronavirus epidemic, just behind Saint-Etienne. A worrying but not surprising finding for the specialists interviewed by 20 Minutes.

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Because it is a large metropolis, the MEL ticks all the boxes that make it a suitable territory for the spread of an epidemic. The National Federation of Health Observatories (Fnors) has established profiles of territories to help decision-makers in the context of the coronavirus crisis. In this document, the MEL belongs to class "D", that of metropolitan areas grouping together the most factors favoring the circulation of the virus. “There is no scientific explanation and certainly not a single reason. It is the conjunction of several factors that makes us where we are today, "said Professor Daniel Camus, infectious disease specialist at the Institut Pasteur de Lille .

Elements "extrinsic" to the Covid crisis

For Professor Camus, there are constant causes that we find: "the quality of housing, overcrowding, lack of ventilation", lists the scientist. "If you put too many people in a small apartment, viral transmission occurs very quickly," he continues. This overcrowding of housing, particularly true in Roubaix and Tourcoing, "exposes residents more to contagion and can limit, or even prevent, the isolation of people in the event of contamination", explains Fnors.

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But this is not the only socio-economic factor to take into account. "We know that people in precarious situations are part of the categories of vulnerable people," says Sylvie Haeghebaert, epidemiologist at Public Health France . "There is really a very social aspect which translates into lower incidence rates in the richer municipalities of the MEL and vice versa", adds Prof Camus.

Youth, a double-edged sword

According to INSEE, in 2017, more than 40% of the MEL population was under 30 years old. Without wanting to throw stones at young people, however, we note that the development of incidence rates in the metropolis notably "accelerated at the beginning of September with the start of the school year and university", remarks Sylvie Haeghebaert. Let us remember the famous cluster in Touquet at the origin of the closure of two metropolitan schools. "The highest incidence rates were initially found in young adults between the ages of 15 and 34," insists the epidemiologist.

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The behavior of the youngest in the face of this crisis also worries the infectious disease specialist from Pasteur Lille. He went to question many of them: "There is the question of the perceived seriousness of the disease. For many young people, it is just a bad cold. They don't understand the constraints they face for something that affects older people more, ”says Prof Camus.

A high density that does not help

In the MEL, on average, there are 1,765 inhabitants / km2. The municipalities of Lille, Roubaix, Tourcoing and Villeneuve d´Ascq alone account for 43% of metropolitan residents. "The population concentration can be considered as an aggravating vector of contagion by promoting the circulation of viruses within the population", advances Fnors.

"The density of populations is indeed a factor of multiplication of risky contacts", adds the epidemiologist of Public Health France. But she adds that it is above all "the mixing of populations and insufficient adherence to recommendations and cautious behavior [which] led to a rapid and uncontrollable deterioration of the epidemiological situation from the beginning of October. "

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So it should be noted that MEL is not particularly a bad student. It suffers from what Sylvie Haeghebaert calls the “metropolis factor”. "This is a well-known phenomenon and observed every year during seasonal epidemics," she insists. The whole thing being to know why this "metropolis factor" impacts much less Bordeaux , whose incidence rate is currently only 157 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

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