France is struggling to end the second wave. After a new nationwide lockdown and a peak in mid-November, the coronavirus epidemic has been progressively decreasing, but not enough. As the December 15, 2020’s lockdown exit was around the corner, before the Holidays, the 5,000-case-a-day goal has not been met. As a consequence: the lockdown exit conditions have been made harder.
Yet, at the dawn of this festive season filled with gatherings, the stakes are high. After stagnating by the end of lockdown, the evolution of the epidemic surged by 10% in the week from December 7 to 13, 2020 according to data from Santé Publique France. But, this Tuesday December 22, 2020 Health Minister Olivier Véran told TF1: "There is no new epidemic outbreak".
Yet, the increase could be explained by the secondment of quick antigenic tests delivering results in 15 minutes. Many French people have decided to get tested before meeting with their families for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. According to data from Santé Publique France, there is a link between the rise in the test toll and the rise in the case toll.
However, the virus is still spreading actively all across the country. Even though the hospital pressure has decreased in several regions, as of December 18, 2020, 100 departments are still highly vulnerable because of the strong incidence rate. According to some hypotheses, past the Holidays, a third wave is likely to follow the second one very quickly.
Among the regions the virus spreads the most, four departments show an incidence rate above the domestic average set at 139 over the past 7 days: Grand Est, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur. Displaying a 223 incidence rate for the December 12-18, 2020 week, the Grand Est region seems to be the one with the highest incidence rate in France.
As for the ICU occupancy, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur are still in red as of December 21, 2020 and respectively display a rate of 84.3%; 81.4%; and 62.6%. In comparison with this indicator, the Grand Est region has been orange listed with a 58.3% occupancy rate.