Covid: 90% of symptomatic cases non detected past the first lockdown, the INSERM says

Published by Alexandre G. · Published on 23 December 2020 at 17h45 · Updated on 24 December 2020 at 15h35
According to a study released this Tuesday December 22, 2020 the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research notices that after the first lockdown-exit episode, the French health services have been able to report only one asymptomatic case in two, and that 90% of the symptomatic cases have not been detected.

The “testing, tracking, isolating” strategy takes time to show its effectiveness. This is what says the result of a study led by the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), released on Monday December 21, 2020, in Nature.

After the first lockdown exit, searchers from the INSERM notice that 90% of the symptomatic cases have not been detected by the French health services. Reached by France Info, INSERM research director Vittoria Colizza considers that “it was the very beginning (of the strategy), there were limits”. The main reason given by the study: only a third of Covid-19 symptomatic cases have consulted a doctor. At the time of the first lockdown exit, it was necessary to have a prescription to get tested. And antigenic tests were still not available in France.

An incomplete testing strategy

Another assessment made by INSERM scientists: today, they think the French health services are “able to find one asymptomatic case in two”. According to the scientist, “during the first lockdown, we had not enough tests, no strategy, nor associated logistic” she explained to France Info.

From now on, she wishes the State can “draw lessons” from the mistakes of the first lockdown exit. She says, “the number of tests itself and the positivity rate are no reliable indicators as to our ability to detect cases” of Covid-19. The solution? Quickly improving the test strategy on a nationwide basis, in order to curb the possible third wave of the epidemic.

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