Curfew: “Bienvenue en Absurdie”, Mélenchon judge contradicted by Véran


“Welcome to Absurdity”. Jean-Luc Mélenchon reacted strongly to the interview with Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday evening, almost to the minute when TF1 and France 2 returned the air. The leader of rebellious France estimated, on Twitter, that “60% of contaminations take place at work or at school or at the university between 8 am and 7 pm”. He thus criticizes the Head of State for having, as his main announcement, decided to “ban outings to the bar and restaurant between 8 pm and 6 am”. The member for Marseille refers to the curfew in Île-de-France and in eight metropolises, from Saturday (but at 9 p.m., in reality).

Olivier Véran immediately retorted that he “confused clusters and diagnoses”. “Too bad to argue at a time when we want to preserve education, safeguard jobs, and fight effectively against this epidemic in the interest of the French”, the Minister of Health was carried away. So who’s telling the truth?

As a reminder, a “cluster” means that “at least three confirmed or probable cases, in a period of seven days” have been identified in a place or within a gathering, according to the definition given by Public Health France in its “Guide for the identification and investigation of situations of grouped cases of Covid-19”.

34,767 cases out of nearly 640,000

The leader of rebellious France seems to rely on a table appearing in the epidemiological point of Public Health France of October 8. We discover that 55.3% of the 1,070 clusters “under investigation” as of October 5 are located in schools or universities and in private or public companies (setting aside health establishments). Which seems to correspond to the “60%” put forward by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Except that these outbreaks of infection only cover a small part of the cases of Covid-19 in France. The 3,207 clusters identified since May 9, two days before the start of deconfinement, represent 34,767 cases, according to Public Health France. Over the same period, around 640,000 new cases were identified across the country. The health agency also notes, as it had already done the previous week, that “the number of clusters identified is probably greatly underestimated” because of “the increase in viral circulation”.

Number of clusters, as of October 5./Screenshot

In addition, the chains of transmission in transport and in private environments are probably more difficult to identify and trace for investigators from the famous “health brigades”. “The categories in this table are the situations which are most easily identifiable during a tracing”, clocked in on Wednesday evening Maxime Gignon, head of the prevention, risks, medical information and epidemiology division at the Amiens-Picardie CHU.

Unclear categories

We can, moreover, note that the table of Public Health France is not very precise, insofar as it does not distinguish the different types of schools and universities nor of public and private companies (which include in particular slaughterhouses, restaurants, offices of large corporations, etc.).

For all these reasons, we cannot therefore say that “60% of contamination takes place at work or at school or at the university between 8 am and 7 pm”, as Jean-Luc Mélenchon argues.

LREM deputy Aurore Bergé did not hesitate to accuse her of “fake news”. According to her, “the main vectors of contamination are gatherings in the friendly and family sphere”, echoing what many doctors say. However, it is also impossible to say so, for lack of figures.

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