Covid-19: where do we get infected the most in France?

The questionnaire, that Le Figaro relay, will seek to identify the most common places of infection.

Shops open but restaurants, theaters or sports halls closed, Christmas Eve authorized but New Year at home imposed, churches put under gauge but museums kept closed … The measures taken to fight against the coronavirus follow one another, and the general public like all those who see their activity hampered sometimes find it difficult to understand its logic … which the authorities themselves are often hard pressed to justify!

And for good reason: we now know which elements make one situation more at risk of contamination than another (closed and poorly ventilated place, prolonged physical proximity, activity leading to the emission of droplets of saliva, non-compliance with the port mask…). But no one knows, in practice, where we get infected in France. “After nine months, it is high time to ask the question!”, throw the Pr Fabrice Denis, oncologist at the Jean-Bernard Cancer Institute, in Le Mans, and professor of e-health at the Paris Center Faculty of Medicine.

“In France, outside the clusters, it is not possible to identify the place of infection of cases, for lack of available data”, noted the Scientific Council in an opinion of September 22. However, if Public Health France follows the clusters very closely, the picture of the epidemic that emerges is only very partial: “The number of cases linked to clusters (outside a restricted family environment) would represent less than 10% of diagnosed cases”, thus warned SPF in mid-October.

In fact, notes Fabrice Denis, “The only data we have come from either American studies or very general studies.” Work carried out across the Atlantic has shown that restaurants are potential hotbeds. But what is the relationship between a small French family establishment and a huge American “diner” with 500 seats? What is the link between a close Parisian boutique where wearing a mask is compulsory, and the immense mall of an American state that does not impose it? As for modeling studies, they are interesting but their ability to grasp reality is by definition limited.

For “Better understand the modalities of the spread of the epidemic”, the team led by Fabrice Denis developed the site, which offers a questionnaire for people who have had a Covid (proven by a test, or the presence of anosmia), with or without symptoms. They (themselves or their relatives) will be able to testify, anonymously, on how they think they have been infected. About twenty questions developed in partnership with epidemiologists from the Institut Pasteur will allow us to know when the respondent was infected (“We will compare the dates of contamination and onset of symptoms, to verify that the data are of good quality”, notes Fabrice Denis); by whom (a member of the family, a friend, a colleague, a stranger…); where (at home, in a company canteen, at the office, on public transport, in a business, at the hospital, etc.); and finally, under what circumstances (during a meal, a party, etc.).

“Results before Christmas”

“This will allow us to map risks, over time and across space.” Project partner, Le Figaro integrated the questionnaire on its website to bring audience to the research team: “With 5000 responses, we can already establish precise statistics, explains Fabrice Denis. We hope to have results before Christmas. ” The team also aims to “Show what has changed during the different epidemic waves, during the different confinements and according to the measures put in place”. The idea is to “Target measures according to risks and regions, and to be a little more precise on the different ways of protecting yourself.”

Already at the origin of an application now supported by Social Security, which allows earlier detection of recurrences in patients who have been treated for lung cancer, the team led by Fabrice Denis is not one. her first attempt at Covid: in mid-March, she had developed the site which, at a time when diagnostic tests were only available in hospitals, was helping users to sort through their symptoms and referred them medically. “With 13 million users, we have divided by eight the number of unnecessary calls to 15.”, rejoices the doctor.

SEE ALSO – Covid-19: Macron calls on the French to “redouble their vigilance” at Christmas

Application developed with the support of the Digital Alliance against Covid-19 by Kelindi, Docaposte, Dernier Cri, De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés and Adobis, as well as several other partners.


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