A month after the phasing out of containment, necessary, but is costly on all fronts, we still do not know if the epidemic of coronavirus is behind us. The hypothesis of a second wave remains in the field of the possible and it would be dangerous on the health and economic to bet everything on the assumption that the virus will disappear. However, the policy is malthusian tests French suggests that this is the bet that authorities do. With the low number of tests conducted today, we may not be able to act quickly to prevent a resurgence of the virus in the coming weeks or in the fall. This is not the strategy chosen by countries such as Germany, Italy or the United Kingdom.
The figures show that the epidemic of Covid-19 back up. We have what we rejoice and breathe. Should, however, guard down ? Since the 11 may, it was recorded in France 233 new clusters (out families and long-term care Facility) that a policy of testing ambitious has been deployed. Indeed, unlike Italy who practice more than 50 000 tests per day, the United Kingdom, which in fact 77 000, France pale with its 28 000 tests per day. Since the beginning of the crisis, the lack of tests is obvious, and the rest even after the déconfinement. The screening is not always regarded as a priority as the laboratories of the city were put in order of battle to make the investments necessary to make 500,000 tests per week. However, these capabilities remain to this day largely unused.
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Some, like professor Didier Raoult, think that there's a good chance that there is no second wave. He has had the opportunity to see several times that other viruses have disappeared from one day to the next day, for reasons that we cannot explain well. In his book, ignorance and self-deception : for a science post-modern, it puts forward the idea that germs can spread many viruses that have sub-specialized by losing genes, those that ensure their regulation. This allows a rapid spread, but makes them very fragile, unable to adapt to any change of their ecosystem. He writes : "Thus, the specialization can provide an immediate benefit ("windfall effect") but to determine an inability to adapt to changes in the ecosystem. In microbes, we could show that some of the more specialized (and more dangerous) are virulent because "suradaptés", who have lost their regulatory capacity and their genes useless. This allows them greater speed and efficiency, but, having lost their ability to adapt to new environments, be they disappear in the event of a change of environment. "It is an assumption that it is comforting to know. It suggests that, in the case of the Covid-19, we could have good surprises.
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The luck counts a lot but does it only rely on it as the crisis that has already caused the death of nearly 30,000 persons would cost in 2020 of the order of 11 % of GDP, that is 4 000 euros per capita ? Is it not reasonable to adopt a humble attitude in the face of this virus whereas it was perhaps not said its last word and that, if this is the case, we run the risk again of doing the fee ? France has enshrined the precautionary principle in its Constitution, but it applies only to a naive and counter-productive. Indeed, this principle is brandished about well-known substances, such as chloroquine, bisphenol A, glyphosate, when the alternatives do not appear to be the best. We forget to use it in the case of the tests in the face of a new virus about which we continue to learn every day and for which there is as yet no vaccine or effective treatment universally recognized at this point.
The French policy in the area of testing gives the impression of not having learned some essential lessons of the last few months. After having promised to do 700 000 tests per week to the exit of the containment, we do, in fine, less than 200 000 per week. We continue to make the economy of a policy of prevention, which would be the best investment in health and economic to do so. This illustrates, once again, how the partitioning between the issues of health and economic issues is deleterious.
As wrote on the 20th April last, Patrick Lagadec, a specialist in risk management, " we hear a lot of opposing health and economy. Of course, in the fury of the first time, it was in the situation of a health emergency absolute. But that becomes the problem after weeks of confinement and anesthesia of the economic activity and of social life ? It means less stress that a collapse of the economy, finance and social activities also impacts the massive health – physical and mental, immediate and deferred. The speech, the experts are too often disjointed, each silo pleading with force from the requirements of its silo ". He adds : "How to pilot when the opposition health-economy has become the logic imposed and rabâchée of appreciation – as if a collapse of the economy, a dislocation societal had no health effect ? "
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Think of economy and health, it is particular to develop tests that are trusted intermediaries. They allow us to see the invisible for a very low cost and to isolate, monitor and treat sick people, while leaving others to continue their activities. The targeting in isolation or confinement facilitates the organization of care, in the short term as well as long-term. It avoids the congestion of the health system. In the longer term, it allows the good functioning of society as a whole, which allows you to maintain a well-functioning health system. In addition, the tests will reassure those who have fears, doubts related to the asymptomatic cases, characteristics of the spread of the Covid-19. When one wants to think of the proper functioning of the society as a whole in the face of the virus, one must use as a weapon preventive tests. Available thanks to investments made by the private laboratories of the city, they should be an ally of size in the current period.
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*Cécile Philippe, founder and director of the Institut économique Molinari