Do the French feel less concerned by Covid-19? This is what certain figures suggest from the latest CoviPrev study, carried out from September 11 to 18, 2023 and published by Public Health France (SpF) on November 8. As at each start of the winter season since 2020, the public health organization is interested in the evolution of the adoption of barrier gestures and the vaccination intentions of the population. And this year, the data shows a growing disinterest on the part of the French in Covid-19 screening tests and the application of barrier gestures.
The survey reveals that almost one in three French people questioned (31%) who have had symptoms of Covid-19 since January 2023 have not taken a screening test. These people detailed the reasons that led them not to get tested. First of all, 30% say they are not “worried” about whether they have Covid-19 or not. For 29%, “the test result would not have changed anything” because they claim to be in the habit of isolating themselves or wearing a mask as soon as symptoms appear. Finally, 18% of them believe that “the test is too restrictive (you have to travel, do a PCR or antigen test) and unpleasant”.
As a reminder, the Ministry of Health still strongly recommends “doing an antigenic screening test or PCR” in the event of the appearance of symptoms suggestive of Covid-19. If the result is positive, it is also advisable to “warn everyone” you come into contact with within seven days before the test. However, systematic isolation is no longer compulsory since February 1.
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Regarding the application of barrier gestures, some French people have not completely abandoned them. In September, 13% of study respondents said they still wore a mask in public often (9%) or systematically (4%). 81% said they washed their hands often or systematically, and 69% said they aired their room every hour for a few minutes.
The main reason which would push the French to continue these barrier gestures or to respect them more often is the return of the Covid-19 epidemic in the country. This is the case for 60% of those questioned. However, these same people would not be ready to respect them in the event of an epidemic of flu or other winter illnesses. “This shows the still strong correlation between barrier gestures and the recommendations associated since 2020 with Covid-19,” analyzes SpF.
The public health organization judges that adherence to these barrier gestures is still “insufficient”. In fact, 13% of those questioned declared that no reason would push them to continue or increase the adoption of barrier gestures. Compared to 12% in December 2022. These people recalcitrant to barrier gestures would mainly be people aged 25 to 34, from modest socio-professional categories, “who have a level of study below the baccalaureate, unfavorable to vaccination in general and not vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as people not at risk of severe form of Covid-19.
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The organization concludes that it is therefore “necessary to remember the importance of adopting barrier gestures to protect ourselves from all winter diseases. In particular, wearing a mask in the event of symptoms (cold, fever, sore throat or cough), in busy places and in the presence of vulnerable people.