Covid-19: the number of screening tests reaches a new record


Driven by the fifth wave, demand for direct debits exceeded its peak in mid-August, according to Drees. The dynamic does not weaken, with the approach of the holidays.

Will the test rush last until Christmas? After having passed the five million mark at the beginning of the month, the number of samples taken between December 6 and 12 has returned to the record level of the summer, according to the latest data from the Directorate of Research, Studies, evaluation and statistics (DREES), attached to the Ministry of Health.

In detail, more than 5.86 million tests were validated last week, more than the peak in mid-August (about 5.8 million). In addition, “between December 8 and 14, 2021, the record for the total number of tests carried out over 7 rolling days was reached with 6.05 million tests validated», Underlines the Drees. The fifth wave therefore brought the withdrawals to a level never reached before.

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This exceptional demand, up 10.7% in one week, is notably driven by the numerous withdrawals affecting minors aged 0 to 15, which have never been so numerous. Likewise, there is a sharp increase for people under the age of 65. Over a month, the number of tests more than doubled, as the fifth wave extended its grip on France.

A very large number of tests are carried out daily: four of the ten busiest days since June were recorded last week, with more than 945,000 tests in 24 hours from December 7 to 10 inclusive, and up to 999,600 on December 10. A level still lower than that, record, of mid-August, but much higher than that of last year at the same time.

A significant number of tests expected for Christmas

France is now approaching the 200 million test mark, and this enthusiasm should not weaken as the end of the year holidays approach. Many politicians are therefore calling for the re-establishment of free levies, to allow French people to spend Christmas with their families in the best possible sanitary conditions. A door closed so far by the executive.

Recently, the scientific council stressed the importance of getting tested before December 24, whether you are vaccinated or not. “Parties can take place, but you probably have to surround them“, By limiting the number of guests, by being tested before Christmas, or by doing a self-test”before going to lunch with the family“, Warned its president, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, in the Senate, last week. If they follow this recommendation, the French could well rush to laboratories and pharmacies by the end of the month. Enough to put these professionals under pressure, and bring demand to levels never seen before.

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