Covid-19, flu … The Academy of Medicine believes that the mask “is becoming necessary again”

The academy notably warned against a risk of an increase in Covid-19 and flu co-infections among the French this winter.

In a press release published on Wednesday, the National Academy of Medicine recommends that all French people start wearing the surgical mask again in closed spaces open to the public, and in particular on public transport. “The mask becomes necessary again,” the document says.

A decision which is explained by several elements, and in particular the fear of seeing several epidemics, such as Covid-19 and the flu, combine during the winter season. A situation that would greatly destabilize French hospitals, already weakened by the bronchiolitis epidemic which strikes young children under 2 years old.

“While the eighth wave of Covid-19 seems to be stabilizing at a high level, the prospect of an early seasonal flu epidemic is becoming clearer in mainland France given the increasing incidence of flu-like illnesses and confirmed sporadic cases”, writes the Academy of Medicine.

According to the latest figures from CovidTracker, an average of 29,230 Covid-19 positive cases are currently sampled in France each day. Critical care hospitalizations also remain at a high level, with 71 daily admissions.

The fear of a resurgence of the flu

The Academy of Medicine is concerned to see an increase in Covid-19 / flu co-infections this winter. While the flu had almost disappeared during the 2020-2021 season due to successive confinements and strict respect for barrier gestures, it returned in 2021-2022.

“Many cases of ‘influenza + Covid-19’ co-infection have been reported worldwide (…). Thus, a prospective study carried out in the United Kingdom in 6965 Covid-19 patients detected a viral co-infection in 583 (8.4%) of them, these co-infections being significantly associated with an increased risk of death”, warns the academy of medicine.

“We appeal to popular common sense”

So many reasons which push the institute to issue recommendations, “although the health situation does not currently require a return to mandatory measures”.

Among the latter, the wearing of the FFP2 mask in enclosed public spaces is encouraged for the elderly or carriers of comorbidities. The surgical mask is recommended for everyone, in all enclosed public spaces, including public transport.

On the set of BFMTV this Thursday, Yves Buisson, epidemiologist and president of the Covid-19 cell of the national academy of medicine, recalled the importance of these recommendations in the current circumstances.

“We appeal to popular common sense, so that people are very careful, especially when they are old, vulnerable… That they (the French, editor’s note) take the precaution of wearing a mask in busy areas where they risk to be infected,” he said.

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