Can the return of the mask in transport curb the Covid?



This is not an obligation, but a strong exhortation. “I ask the French to put the mask back on transport” but also in “all closed places with high promiscuity”launched the Minister of Health Brigitte Bourguignon, Monday, June 27, on RTL.

While nearly 50,000 new cases of Covid are detected every day, can the return of the mask in public transport dampen the wave that is looming in France and threatens to upset the summer? No doubt for Antoine Flahault, epidemiologist and director of the Institute of Global Health in Geneva. “These are closed places, sometimes crowded and often poorly ventilated, therefore at risk, especially for trips that last a long time. »

According to the latest part of the Comcor study, conducted by the Institut Pasteur between May 23 and August 13, 2021, public transport is indeed “associated with an increased risk of infection”, nevertheless qualified as ” moderate “. If the bus, tram and carpooling do not lead to excess contamination, the metro and the train represent an additional risk of 30%, the taxi of 50%, and the plane of 70%.

More transmissible variants but similar modes of contamination

Figures undoubtedly underestimated according to Michèle Legeas, honorary professor at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health (EHESP). “These data were collected last summer, when the Omicron subvariants were not yet circulating, but these are more transmissible”. For this specialist in health risk management, the recommendation to wear a mask should apply to all closed or high-density spaces., “especially bars and restaurants, which remain the places where we are most contaminated. »

“Studies have shown that the mask reduces the infectious viral dose and, in fact, the risk of serious forms and long Covid in the event of infection, completes Antoine Flahault. As long as you don’t wear it as a bib, under your nose or even worse, under your chin! »

The booster vaccine to protect against serious forms

Even correctly worn, the mask would not be enough on its own to bend the curve of infections or to preserve hospitals. Because we must not forget that it is the saturation of hospitals and emergencies that is at the origin of the health crisis.raises Philippe Amouyel, professor of public health at the Lille University Hospital. Beyond the mask, the best way to reduce the impact of the epidemic recovery is to get vaccinated. Admittedly, the new variants have the ability to circumvent vaccines, but they continue to protect against serious forms, especially if they are up to date. »

“So you have to do your third dose, and for those who are eligible, the fourth,” hammers the doctor, who pleads for the establishment of a large-scale communication campaign recalling the importance of the recall to protect oneself and others. “We must send the message to the French, not by making them feel guilty or by forcing them, but in a positive way. Being up to date with your vaccinations means putting the odds on your side for a peaceful holiday. »

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