Closing schools, is this the right solution to put a stop to contamination?
Professor Amouyel : we do not know for the moment. Most studies show that school closures have reduced transmissions in some countries and in others not. When we are at traffic levels as we currently know in France, we can imagine that this is a possible solution but we must weigh the psychological risk of this closure of schools and perhaps take advantage of the holidays to do so.
Apart from this hypothesis of the closure of schools, what are, according to you, the solutions to stop the epidemic?
There is one element that we missed, and that is anticipation. Restrictive measures should now be taken elsewhere in France, in departments where we have not yet reached 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The goal is not to push the system to the limit and see how far it can resist. We must “territorialize” the measures and strengthen them, for example in regions like ours (Hauts-de-France).
“A hole in the racket”
Philippe Amouyel : There is a hole in the racket in private meetings on weekends. We have to empower people as we did during the Christmas holidays. We were expecting a “Thanksgiving” effect and we didn’t get it. We owe it only to the seriousness and responsibility of the French who paid attention and who were tested. These are the best tools to bring down the epidemic wave.
Do you regret the delay in distributing the self-tests?
Yes, deeply because in fact, when you get tested, you empower yourself. If you are positive, you are not going to have a family reunion and if you are negative, you continue to respect barrier gestures. There was the possibility of doing it on demand. Today, we do tests mainly to make diagnoses. What it would take today to lower the threshold is to systematically test en masse to identify asymptomatic subjects that we never see in these tests. The English consider that there is an asymptomatic for a symptomatic approximately.
The question of collective immunity
When do you see an end to the crisis?
It will depend on several factors: the supply of vaccines because it remains the weak point at present, the ability to set up effective vaccinodromes and to vaccinate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I remind you that we have an English variant that is much more transmissible and the objectives of 60 to 70% that we had set (for collective immunity) have increased to 70 to 80%. So, we will certainly improve during the summer, but to come out of the pandemic completely, we will have to vaccinate more people and perhaps minors, young people aged 15 to 18. Several countries are thinking about it.