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France returns to lockdown

 Poster: A snowHead
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In Europe,France now has the highest number of people in intensive care units since the start of December. The country is not under national lockdown, but infection rates have stayed stubbornly high despite an overnight curfew and other curbs.
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I don't understand why they haven't had another lockdown in France as the infection rate has been static for months and now well above the UK, Switzerland etc - I desperately want to go to France this summer, but it won't happen unless that 7day average falls significantly
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iainm wrote:
I don't understand why they haven't had another lockdown in France as the infection rate has been static for months and now well above the UK, Switzerland etc - I desperately want to go to France this summer, but it won't happen unless that 7day average falls significantly


It was a political decision. Pres. Macron believed that another lockdown at the time of the winter holiday break would not be accepted and there was also the cost factor.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Tue 23-02-21 12:28; edited 1 time in total
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France is worried about a new infection hotspot – the northern port city of Dunkirk. The infection rate there is more than 900 per 100,000 inhabitants, so a local lockdown is now being considered. On Monday the focus was on Nice, a southern resort city, where the rate is above 700. A weekend lockdown has been imposed there and in nearby areas. These surges have been blamed on the highly contagious English variant. France is trying to avoid a third national lockdown
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To be honest France looked reasonably good - until comparison with the UK was no longer in their favour. Both had an autumn second wave and had to apply measures to bring it down: France then graded their restrictions to hold cases steady while our UK government essentially took off the brakes and let cases go up fourfold in a month and necessitate a third lockdown.

However with our current lockdown now taking cases well below France's, and vaccination now delivering measurable benefit, anyone this side of the Channel has to be concerned about France. Unless they sort out their vaccination system quickly (and it didn't help shooting themselves in the foot over AZ) they will still be in difficulty in the summer.

We're still hoping summer visits will be on the agenda, but one can't be at all confident about early summer.
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stefoy4me wrote:
In Europe,France now has the highest number of people in intensive care units since the start of December. The country is not under national lockdown, but infection rates have stayed stubbornly high despite an overnight curfew and other curbs.


Rather worryingly the ICU occupancy rate in PACA where we are is 101.5%.............
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...



And scenarios like this from Val d’Isere are not helping.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@muppet, Outside and wearing masks...?.
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@snowhound, Masks are legally required even outside in Val d’Isere for everybody aged 6 and above. Also no more than 4 people are allowed to be grouped together while enjoying a takeaway drink/snack.
This rule was brought in at the start of the month when the covid cases in Val d’Isere rapidly increased.
Sorry if the photo quality is poor but when you zoom in on photos on the Radio Val d’Isere website a large amount of people are not wearing the legally required masks, possible they are wearing the new fashion accessory of a chin diaper aka mask round the neck.
The police in town have received a large amount of abuse from the holidaymakers over the last few weeks despite handing out fines.
I fear more lockdowns are on the horizon.
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Final line....quite possible but all the evidence is that transmission risk outside is very low indeed, even without masks. I’m not a fan of this COvid shaming of people being out and about in fresh air. More likely the risk comes from more people being in local supermarkets etc.I
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snowhound wrote:
Final line....quite possible but all the evidence is that transmission risk outside is very low indeed, even without masks. I’m not a fan of this COvid shaming of people being out and about in fresh air. More likely the risk comes from more people being in local supermarkets etc.I


According to the "experts" the main transmission vectors currently in France are work, schools, university and hospitals.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I'm not too OTT with the restrictions but that picture alarms me, even if it is outside. That's a lot of people in each others' space and crossing paths, touching the same things etc. Being outside does help, as does hands, face, space etc, but the more people brought into a small area, the higher the aggregate transmission. Maybe I'm just bitter that they're in the mountains..!

I watched a YouTube video of some people skinning up in Courch and then supping some vin at the top. I think it was Chenus, not that it matters, but there were several groups there, all sat around picnic benches, not wearing masks.

So from looking at the picture above and that video, I draw the conclusion that they're more relaxed about transmission over there, which does not bode well. Add in the supposed higher reluctance to take the vaccines and I do fear for them (and to a lesser extent my ability to get over there).

Hopefully the Spring and Summer will save them.
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I think the problem with that picture is many of those folk will be living cheek by jowl in small apartments on multi generational family holidays and using small unventilated lifts etc.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@chocksaway, You're absolutely right.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Ryunis wrote:
I watched a YouTube video of some people skinning up in Courch and then supping some vin at the top. I think it was Chenus, not that it matters, but there were several groups there, all sat around picnic benches, not wearing masks.

The thing about mountain tops, is that they tend to be windy. They are also about as outside as you can get. There is no evidence that people skiing/picnicing on a mountain/walking through towns are spreaders of disease. Touching stuff is also low risk. Better to concentrate on the high spread areas (care homes, offices, transport etc.) and leave the low risk areas alone.
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@Scarlet, Is there no evidence? Or have you just not seen it? I have a friend who used the same sentence when discussing transmission in gyms. Even though it's obvious that several people touching the same equipment and breathing heavily will raise the chance of transmission, he said there was no evidence to support that, and therefore they should remain open..

Whilst skiing itself may be low risk, the associated activities certainly raise the prospect of transmission; travelling to and from resort; travelling around resort-both of which tend to involve a lot of passenger dense environments; accommodation, which again tends to be denser than other walks of life; queues. At an aggregate level this affects hospital admissions and then what we are allowed/not allowed to do.

It's because of all of this that the WHO issued specific guidance for ski resorts and this was borne from the fact that it is known that ski resorts (unluckily) played a significant role in seeding the pandemic across Europe.

It looks to me like France might be on a different trajectory to the UK and that could lead to the scenario where the UK is back up and running but a trip across the channel won't be possible for a while. IMO what's happening in ski resorts right now will not help this situation.

As I said, hopefully Summer weather will have a dramatic impact Very Happy
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Quote:

it is known that ski resorts (unluckily) played a significant role in seeding the pandemic across Europe

Indeed. But it is improbable that people sitting around a bench at the top of a mountain contributed much to that.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Has anyone figured out why cases stayed low all summer after the first lockdown, despite open bars and restaurants and quite extensive travel, at least in the EU?

- is it because the baseline of cases by the end of the first lockdown was so low that it took 3 months for a significant % of the population to get the virus? (seems unlikely to me but logically it's a possibility)
- is it because the virus is less infectious in higher temperatures?
...or it is because most activities involving lots of people took place outside where transmission is dramatically lower?

I respect the rules on wearing a mask outdoors. That said, if I had to put my own money on a guess, I'd say that virus transmission outdoors is a couple of degrees of magnitude less likely than indoors.

Of course, getting to an outdoors space in a resort may involve travel on public transport, and cramped accommodation may increase transmission. But these were also factors last summer...
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Ryunis wrote:
@Scarlet, Is there no evidence? Or have you just not seen it? I have a friend who used the same sentence when discussing transmission in gyms. Even though it's obvious that several people touching the same equipment and breathing heavily will raise the chance of transmission, he said there was no evidence to support that, and therefore they should remain open..

Whilst skiing itself may be low risk, the associated activities certainly raise the prospect of transmission; travelling to and from resort; travelling around resort-both of which tend to involve a lot of passenger dense environments; accommodation, which again tends to be denser than other walks of life; queues. At an aggregate level this affects hospital admissions and then what we are allowed/not allowed to do.

It's because of all of this that the WHO issued specific guidance for ski resorts and this was borne from the fact that it is known that ski resorts (unluckily) played a significant role in seeding the pandemic across Europe.

It looks to me like France might be on a different trajectory to the UK and that could lead to the scenario where the UK is back up and running but a trip across the channel won't be possible for a while. IMO what's happening in ski resorts right now will not help this situation.

As I said, hopefully Summer weather will have a dramatic impact Very Happy


Academic research published recently showed that there were no examples of outbreaks stemming from Britain's crowded beaches last summer. Outdoors really is very safe. The issue with crowds outdoors is how they get there and where they are going next, particularly if the weather turns...
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
jedster wrote:


Academic research published recently showed that there were no examples of outbreaks stemming from Britain's crowded beaches last summer. Outdoors really is very safe. The issue with crowds outdoors is how they get there and where they are going next, particularly if the weather turns...


I also read an article that said that despite virus being detectable on surfaces there’s only been one recorded case of fomite transmission anywhere in the world - presumably helped by better hand hygiene etc, but the vast, vast majority of transmission appears to be airborne transmission in poorly venitilated indoor settings. But they’re not visible, so people get aeriated about busy beaches and parks (exacerbated by the use of long lenses to make people look closer together than they really are).
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Ryunis wrote:
Is there no evidence? Or have you just not seen it?

The reason ski resorts were allowed to open in Austria, is because there has been found to be very little transmission outside at all, including in ski resorts. You can be damn sure that if there was any transmission, federal govt would have shut them down, as they have been threatening all winter.

Quote:
It's because of all of this that the WHO issued specific guidance for ski resorts and this was borne from the fact that it is known that ski resorts (unluckily) played a significant role in seeding the pandemic across Europe.

If it hadn't been ski resorts, it would have been clubbing in Ibiza. Transmission was due to crowding large numbers of people together in bars, hotels and buses, things that are just not happening this year, and have little to do with a few people enjoying a buttie on a mountain top.
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horizon wrote:
Has anyone figured out why cases stayed low all summer after the first lockdown, despite open bars and restaurants and quite extensive travel, at least in the EU?

- is it because the baseline of cases by the end of the first lockdown was so low that it took 3 months for a significant % of the population to get the virus? (seems unlikely to me but logically it's a possibility)
- is it because the virus is less infectious in higher temperatures?

In some areas, infections were significantly lower than in the Autumn, so it never got too bad. I don't think temperatures have been proven to have any significance, with regard to the virus itself.

Quote:
...or it is because most activities involving lots of people took place outside where transmission is dramatically lower?

Boom, baby! In October, there was a significant drop in temperature across Europe. Everyone had been told that washing your hands and staying 2m apart was “covid secure”, so they closed all the windows and stayed indoors all day. Europeans don't seem to like working from home, either, and there is little push from governments to do so. It's not really a surprise that the ball was dropped.
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Quote:

But they’re not visible, so people get aeriated about busy beaches and parks (exacerbated by the use of long lenses to make people look closer together than they really are).

True. It's all about "the other" who everybody likes to blame. Mask are not required outside in the UK but I read some highly judgemental posts on social media about people without masks. And people talk of going for walks and making critical comments about "crowds" oblivious of the fact that they were part of the crowd. It gets up my nose (easily, as I don't wear a mask outdoors...).

It's likely that most people have caught Covid from someone they know quite well. Just easier to blame a jogger or somebody who passed on a bike.
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horizon wrote:
Has anyone figured out why cases stayed low all summer after the first lockdown, despite open bars and restaurants and quite extensive travel, at least in the EU?

- is it because the baseline of cases by the end of the first lockdown was so low that it took 3 months for a significant % of the population to get the virus? (seems unlikely to me but logically it's a possibility)
- is it because the virus is less infectious in higher temperatures?
...or it is because most activities involving lots of people took place outside where transmission is dramatically lower?

I respect the rules on wearing a mask outdoors. That said, if I had to put my own money on a guess, I'd say that virus transmission outdoors is a couple of degrees of magnitude less likely than indoors.

Of course, getting to an outdoors space in a resort may involve travel on public transport, and cramped accommodation may increase transmission. But these were also factors last summer...


Observation from Switzerland this year: basically no restrictions all summer. Hardly any COVID cases either. I spent a fair bit of time out and about both here in Basel and in the mountains. There was little in the way of social distancing outside, hundreds of people lining the Rhine on an evening and we even had a music festival in the city. No spike in cases. But I was always outside, and as far as I saw, so was everyone else. I didn’t eat inside a restaurant all summer for example, only on terraces. I took gondolas, but it was quiet, so I didn’t share them with anyone outside my household. On the 25th September, temperatures dropped 10-15 degrees across the country and stayed low. People, used to hardly any restrictions and hardly any COVID, went back inside. From 1st October, cases shot up dramatically and we had a significant second wave.

I also noticed that back in the UK, none of the fuss about thousands of people on beaches or on protests translated into an increase in case numbers.

Summary: I think your third point is the big driver. Transmission outside is really minimal risk. Inside is a big problem, even with masks.

I’m a bit conflicted about skiing. I’ve only been on one trip this year so far. I see the skiing itself as low risk, but I found being in small gondolas with other random people and being in cable cars at 2/3 capacity felt really close and risky after nearly a year of not traveling on any kind of public transport. Plus, resort buses are not capacity restricted and neither are the trains which thousands of people use to get to the Swiss resorts. Having the resorts open does encourage a lot of travel across Switzerland. There are so many day trippers and local skiers that it may be difficult to attribute a case of COVID to any particular resort or area, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t catching it on the overcrowded Sunday afternoon trains home.
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31,500 cases in France, seems they are definitely on upward trajectory, this time with B117 variant.
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