Wearing a mask still necessary?

Take off the masks? Over most of the country, France is experiencing an epidemic lull, which is reflected in a drop in incidence, hospitalizations and deaths. Added to the increase in the vaccination rate of the population, this improvement has led to the relaxation of certain health restrictions and in particular one of the most symbolic: the wearing of a mask (under certain conditions and certain territories).

Today, the question of its maintenance, while the accessory has been compulsory in public places closed since July 20, 2020, is at the heart of the debate. Indispensable or liberticide, the mask divides.

Weight reduction studied closely

Since Monday, primary school students from 47 departments, those where the virus circulates the least, have been able to come to their establishments without a mask. Note that school staff and college students must keep it. The same day, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran confirmed that the reduction of the health pass would be on the menu of the Defense Council which is being held today. After consulting the scientific council, the government wishes to study closely the possibility of loosening the stranglehold on the restrictions. Among them, the mask ranks high and municipalities did not wait for the decisions of the Elysee Palace before lifting the obligation to wear a mask outdoors, including in the markets.

Others, like the one in Bordeaux since October 1, no longer make it compulsory in bars. Measures hailed by Antoine Flahault, professor of public health and director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva (Switzerland): “In regions where the virus circulates little, there is not much interest additional protection or risk reduction so in effect it can be removed ”. If the epidemic continues to decrease, the issue of wearing a mask indoors could quickly come to the office. The French seem to hope so. In a survey carried out by Ispos-Sopra, and published on Monday, 74% of those questioned confided in their wish to no longer wear it within their company.

Caution

Despite everything, “the situation is not that good,” warns Catherine Hill, epidemiologist at the Gustave Roussy Institute (Villejuif). Indeed, there are still 44 deaths on average each day and vaccination is stagnating, especially among those 80 and over where there are 14% of unvaccinated. For her, it is necessary to keep the restrictions in order to “encourage people to go to be vaccinated” and “to continue this pressure”. For the biostastician, lifting the wearing of the mask in some cities is not wise because “people circulate, and the virus with them. There is no border between towns and departments ”.

If he is not also reluctant to the idea of ​​lifting the wearing of the mask, Antoine Flahault would rather have withdrawn this protection last in the primaries because they are “the most vulnerable in society, the only segment not at all vaccinated. “. Finally, the approach of winter, and its groupings indoors, also raises fears. They are “justified” for Antoine Flahault, who however prefers to focus on current health criteria. It remains to be seen whether the government will do the same.

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