HeathcareIs the obligation to wear a mask lifted too...

Is the obligation to wear a mask lifted too early in public transport?


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It was the last major barrier measure against Covid-19 still in force in France. The obligation to wear a mask in public transport will be lifted on Monday. On BFMTV this Thursday, May 12, Olivier Véran defended this decision, announced the day before at the end of the last Council of Ministers.


“The situation is under control, explained the Minister of Health. We know the risks, we are collectively protected against this wave of Omicron variant that we have faced with a minimum of health damage. »

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“We put braking measures when necessary, and we gradually raise them as the contamination decreases,” he added. He still recommends wearing a mask “for all people who consider themselves threatened by the virus” and did not rule out the return of the latter in the event of a new wave.


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However, some scientists contacted by 20 minutes still strongly recommend continuing to wear a mask on public transport. Others believe, on the contrary, that the indicators are rather positive and that at least a temporary lifting can be envisaged.

For Benjamin Davido, crisis medical director and infectious disease specialist at the Raymond Poincaré hospital in Garches (Hauts-de-Seine), this decision is “more political than scientific”. It points to the end of the five-year term and a “desire to wipe the slate clean of the Covid-19 counters”.

“Keep the mask on at all ages”

However, he believes, “we risk making public transport a place at high risk of contamination”, especially during rush hour. “In the Paris region, there is an obvious promiscuity of less than 1 m, with a mixing of populations and a large number of people which make tracing surveys impossible”, he continues.

According to data from Public Health France, public transport is the source of 1.1% of Covid-19 contamination. The agency explains that the risk of transmission is very limited there, “since wearing a mask is compulsory and well respected”. In an interview with Franceinfo, Yvanie Caillé, founder of Renaloo, an association of patients with kidney disease, urges “all French people to keep the mask in transport” in solidarity with imino-depressed patients.

“It is still recommended to wear the mask at any age in public transport, not only for people who feel vulnerable, but also the others around, supports Judith Mueller, epidemiologist at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health (Ehesp ). It would be good to keep this habit in the next weeks, the next months. »

Indicators could have been set

The decision to lift the obligation to wear a mask, which comes a little early for Benjamin Davido, should have been based on indicators. “A symbolic figure could have been set, he specifies, as less than 10,000 cases per day” (against 40,000 daily cases currently) and it would have been necessary to wait until mid-June and the start of vacation departures to have transport. in common less crowded.

While it is true that the population is better protected following vaccinations or infections, this protection decreases over time. Both point to the risk of a rebound with the lifting of the obligation to wear a mask and are worried about the new BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants, detected in South Africa.

There is room for maneuver

On the contrary, Pascal Crepey, also an epidemiologist at Ehesp, believes that “the bulk of the wave has passed” and that with the vaccination of the population, a reproduction rate of less than 1, and a season less favorable to transmissions, the lifting of the obligation to wear a mask “should not change the situation in terms of incidence”. He explains, however, that the possible arrival of the subvariants in France could “potentially make it more difficult to control the epidemic”.

He also recommends wearing a mask for those who wish, but believes that, given the decreasing phase of the epidemic, there is room for maneuver “to release the pressure a little on the means of preventing infections”.


“All the indicators are going in the right direction, also supports William Dab, epidemiologist and head of health safety lessons at Cnam. Reducing the constraints is therefore logical. But we must remain vigilant and reverse course without delay if the situation changes. Scientists all agree on this point: the epidemic is not over and the final end of wearing masks is still a long way off.

Source: 20minutes

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Janice Thomas is a content editor at 24 News Recorder. She has 5 years of journalism experience and she he is a graduate of Wittenberg University and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.


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