New year and new rule: from Monday January 3, children aged 6 and over will also have to wear a mask in transport, indicates a decree published in Official newspaper January 1st. The measure concerns trains, planes, boats, taxis and VTCs, as well as train stations, air terminals and public transport stations.
The lowering from 11 to 6 years of the threshold from which the wearing of a mask is required also applies in buildings open to the public: theaters or multipurpose halls, indoor or outdoor sports establishments, places of worship, museums , libraries and documentation centers, shops and shopping centers, covered markets, exhibition halls, administrations, banks as well as common areas in hotels, etc. As for adults, the obligation will also be necessary to move in bars and restaurants.
Regarding schools, this time, the protocol remains at level 3 in primary schools (1). This implies the wearing of the mask from the CP, both in the classes and in the playground. In other words, children aged 6 and over are now forced to live most of their days in masks, outside the family.
The number of cases soars among 6-10 year olds
The government justifies this strengthening of health rules by the great contagiousness of Omicron and its wide distribution among 6-10 year olds, with an incidence of 832 cases per 100,000 on December 30, 2021, or six times more than at the beginning of November. During this last weekly epidemiological point, the positivity rate reached 10.5% (+ 4.7 points in one week) in this age group.
If severe forms remain rare in children, the number of children aged 0 to 9 hospitalized has also climbed, from 0.7 per 100,000 at the beginning of November to 3 per 100,000 at the end of December. Over the same period, and for the same age group, the weekly number of new intensive care admissions has increased fivefold, with 0.5 cases per 100,000 people. A relatively low rate, certainly, but five times higher than that recorded among 10-19 year olds, many of whom are vaccinated.
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“Wearing a mask by 6-10 year olds will certainly reduce the speed of the virus spreading a little., anticipates epidemiologist Catherine Hill. But it will not significantly help control the outbreak. The real good strategy would be to test all the children twice a week. The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, had promised 600,000 saliva tests per week in primary schools, but their number has never exceeded 200,000… for 6 million students! “
The epidemiologist calls for the establishment of group tests, ” more economical and less time-consuming, as is widely done in Switzerland “ : “We immerse all the sticks soaked in saliva in the same liquid, which tells us if the virus is present in the classroom. If this is the case, then we practice individual tests. “
The Timid Beginnings of Childhood Immunization
For the time being, the executive does not take this lead. At the same time as extending the wearing of a mask to 6-10 year olds, it intends above all to speed up the vaccination of the youngest, from 5 years old. Opened in mid-December last, it has so far only benefited 100,000 children, specifies the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, in theJDDJanuary 2.
→ ANALYSIS. Vaccination of children, the doubts of some parents
“We have received 2 million doses of pediatric Pfizer and expect further deliveries in January and February., he specifies. The stake is the opening of vaccination slots reserved for children. I asked that there be at least three or four centers per department capable of vaccinating them. “
But logistics won’t do everything. In mid-December, an Elabe poll for The Express, BFMTV and SFR gave 68% of parents opposed to vaccinating their child against Covid.