The Eastern part of France particularly hit by the second wave of Covid? This is the unfortunate assessment made by many scientists struggling to understand the situation as the vaccine campaign has started in France. An area where the incidence rate is far higher than in the rest of the country, especially in Ardennes, Alpes-Maritimes and Meurthe-et-Moselle.
A difference noticeable in test results: as recalled by LCI “from December 18 to 24, there were 30.9 positive tests for 100,000 inhabitants in Côtes-d’Armor (Brittany), 51.2 in Dordogne, 69.6 in Loire-Atlantique, or 105 in Calvados. In Eastern France, there were 337 in Ardennes, 241.7 in Ardèche, 215.6 in Yonne or 340 in Alpes-Maritimes”.
But why is Eastern France more hit? Several hypotheses have been shared by epidemiologists: first of all, weather conditions more favorable to the virus development. “These departments enjoy a harder winter than in the western departments. We know the cold furthers the spread of the virus” professor Yves Buisson told TF1. Same assessment by Ecole des hautes études en santé publique (EHESP) teacher-searcher and epidemiologist Pascal Crépey: “the cold enables the virus to survive longer. And studies show that the spread of the virus is made easier at a certain level of humidity in the air” he told Ouest France.
Another reason: a greater mix of populations in this frontier area, unlike the west, that has none. “Belgium, Germany, Italy are the countries the most hit by the epidemic over the past few weeks. The flows of people on each side of France can also help spread the virus” Buisson says.
Please also note that not complying with health guidelines could also be the cause, these regions being the most severely hit during the first wave, and feeling “more immune” during the second wave as LCI says, “it could generate a wrong feeling of safety, which could make inhabitants less careful. In these regions, some of them are tempted to say: we’ve experienced the epidemic before, many people are immune, we don’t need to be as careful. We heard this type of argument a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, they are not valid” Crépey says.
An area that will have to be monitored closely in the next couple of days to prevent the epidemic from spreading even more.