As the end-of-year holidays approach, three respiratory epidemics – Covid-19, influenza and bronchiolitis – are hitting the country head-on. In this tense context, the opinion of the Covars experts was eagerly awaited, Monday, December 19. With this nagging question: was the scientific body responsible for advising the health authorities going to recommend the obligation to wear a mask?
The answer is no. “We are entering a new history of infectious diseases, explained Brigitte Autran, who chairs the Covars. Every year there will be a triple winter epidemic, or even perhaps other epidemics, which will require the same barrier gestures. However, wearing a mask in closed environments is, along with vaccination, the main shield against the spread of these epidemics. » Since then“it is a little difficult to envisage recourse to the obligation [du port du masque] every year “believes this immunologist.
The Covars made a series of arguments for or against the bond. On the one hand, an obligation would have a rapid impact on respect for wearing a mask in places at risk, for the entire population. On the other hand, the population would perceive it as a limitation of their individual freedoms.
The exercise, it is true, is a balancing act. Because, at the same time, the Covars emphasizes the “very low level of wearing a mask in public transport and other closed places”. Which leads him to admit “the low effectiveness of the recommendation messages maintained, but at a minimum, in public transport in the last six months, despite more recent calls, in particular from political figures”.
However, the Covars highlights the fact that the triple epidemic of respiratory viruses, by being part of an annual seasonal rhythm, should “to encourage an active search for the adhesion of individuals and communities to wearing a mask at each epidemic resumption”. Covars considers it necessary “a specific information effort on the part of the authorities”.
“In an epidemic situation that will last, it is necessary to integrate these barrier gestures into our daily life”, insisted virologist Bruno Lina, member of Covars. Wearing a mask should become “a civic gesture, a gesture of solidarity” vis-à-vis the most fragile but also society as a whole, added Brigitte Autran, since it also helps to protect the hospital. An argument followed by the Minister of Health, François Braun, who has so far decided not to make the mask compulsory, like most European countries – only Germany and Spain have maintained this obligation in public transport. commmon. The Covars, moreover, recommends strengthening the accessibility of masks, in particular by extending their freeness – they are already free for the most fragile.
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