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Weekend Reads Covid-19: why Emmanuel Macron has made a turnaround in his strategy

03:25  27 september  2020
03:25  27 september  2020 Source:   lejdd.fr

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D'alarmantes projections ont incité Emmanuel Macron, qui veut © Reuters

Alarming projections have prompted Emmanuel Macron, who wants to "avoid re-containment", to locally toughen the rules to contain the pandemic.

"Everything must be done to avoid total re-containment." This is the priority principle that Emmanuel Macron enacted, Wednesday morning, by opening the health defense council. This prerequisite, the Head of State then asked the participants to deliver a precise picture of the circulation of the virus on the territory, "the speed of projection and the hospital capacity to cash in the wave that is coming", indicates a participant. An hour later, the council ended with a severe turn of the screw, announced in the afternoon by the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran. In particular, the closure this weekend of bars and restaurants in the Marseille metropolis - which aroused the anger of elected officials and local restaurateurs - and in Guadeloupe.

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A turnaround in two weeks

Two weeks ago, during a previous council, Véran had proposed the same measure. But the hypothesis had been dismissed by the President. So much so that on Friday September 11, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, announced a minimum device: a limitation of the period of isolation from fourteen to seven days ...

What happened between the two, so that the government, in terms of firmness, seems to be radically changing? Answer: "It was not necessary two weeks ago, it has become today", we explain to Matignon. And this on the basis of alarming projections. As during the defense council of March 12, which had brandished a forecast of hundreds of thousands of deaths, and during which the decision of general containment had been taken. A major difference, however: this scenario is now completely ruled out.

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Figures as worrying as in March

The figures are just as worrying as at the time: the hospital "alert threshold", that of the deprogramming of operations, had been reached that Wednesday in Marseille. And the projections emanating in particular from the scientific council, raised just before the defense council, are even more so. Three weeks ago, 5% of resuscitation beds were occupied by Covid patients. Two weeks ago, 12%. And last Wednesday, 19%. "In six weeks, we will be almost at 100% capacity for resuscitation beds, indicates a source familiar with the matter. The 5,000 resuscitation beds will be entirely occupied by Covid patients, with the interregional transfers that this implies."

A novelty compared to March: the "wave" concerned three Regions, Grand-Est, then Paris and Hauts-de-France. "There, it's multiterritorial, indicates a close friend of Macron. The virus circulates locally at very different speeds, so having a national approach is very complicated."

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The impression of a permanent zigzag

This evolution - or this change in strategy of the executive - is not the first. After the controversy of the spring on the masks, then that of the return to the tests, the fact of deciding from Paris after leaving the initiative to local decision-makers, but also of toughening the rule shortly after having seemed more fluid confuses a little more opinion. And gives the feeling of a permanent zigzag. "On the recovery plan, we project people into the future, but on health, we navigate by sight," concedes a pillar of the majority.

It is true that the equation is particularly complex, as the Elysee reminds us: "The political decision, that of living with the virus, implies doing everything to avoid a re-containment, not to destroy the social, economic and cultural, but also to take into account the acceptability levels of the measures on the one hand, the psychological or economic consequences on the other hand ... "Enough to wear down public opinion in depth. "Since the start of the school year, there has been a rise in anxiety among the French, deciphers political scientist Chloé Morin. With, much more than before, the awareness that we will have to live sustainably with this virus and that we do not know where's the end of the tunnel. " Jérôme Fourquet, director of the opinions division of Ifop, confirms: "It is the additional effort of constraint requested from the French that is starting to cringe. The capacity to cash is less."

The permanent trade-off between health risks and saving the economy, which is destined to last, should therefore not calm people's minds anytime soon. On the contrary. “The messages are very difficult to get across, sighs a minister. In public opinion, we have gone from unconsciousness to panic. It's complicated to find the right position between 'it's serious' and' we don't not want to freak everyone out '… "One of his colleagues shares this gloomy observation:" It's worrying. We go a little from Charybdis to Scylla, but we have no other choice. "

Emmanuel Macron concludes his visit to Lithuania at the Rukla military base .
© REUTERS / Ints Kalnins Emmanuel Macron visits French troops from the NATO Reinforced Forward Presence Battle Group in Rukla, Lithuania, September 29, 2020 Emmanuel Macron ended his visit to Lithuania at the Rukla military base. There he met the 300 French soldiers who have served since the summer and for 6 months in the multinational NATO battalion present in Lithuania since 2017. Military cooperation between the two countries is sustained.

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