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Further COVID 19 Update

Since our last update on COVID 19 in France, president Emmanuel Macron at the end of last week announced yet another set of restrictions designed to throttle the resurgence of the virulent third wave of the virus. A national confinement to within 6 miles of place of residence for all citizens and the closure of non-essential businesses and most schools for a month, until the 3rd of May, are the main elements. At that time, we will see if any of the measures are relaxed or whether they will be further extended.

The pace of vaccinations has recently accelerated somewhat and there are now 9.25 million vaccines that have been administered in France. Assuming two vaccines per person, that is a long way from 2 x 67 million citizens, or the projected total of 134 million vaccines that are required for complete vaccination. Mostly health care workers and the elderly have so far been vaccinated. (My wife and I received our second vaccinations this last Saturday.) The pace of vaccine supplies and vaccinations is expected to accelerate through April.

Meanwhile, the rate of new infections in France has spiked to 67,000, which is still less than the 106,000 daily record that was set in February of 2020. As feared, the current surge is almost entirely due to the UK variant of the virus and everyone is waiting with bated breath to see if new records might be set and if new variants might appear. Simultaneously, the number of critically ill COVID 19 patients in hospital intensive care units is approaching previous records.

It is far too soon to try to discern a date by which travel restrictions in France might be relaxed enough to allow the resumption of tourism. Essentially, it is a race between the spread of the UK variant and the number of vaccines that can be administered. At some point, it can reasonably be hoped that the numbers vaccinated will cause the number of new infections to decline. The optimistic are hoping to see signs of such by June. Everyone will be looking to see what the government might announce at the end of the current one month lock-down, on May 3rd.

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