David Fleyrat was about to free his intensive care ward from covid-19 patients in Marseille, France, when new cases are discharged during the summer. Now, the private health unit is filling up again and Fleyrat can barely hide his frustration. “It is not our work that tires us. What makes us tired is the arrival of a second wave because people do not respect social distance, ”the director general of the private clinic Bouchard-Elsan told Reuters.
The city of Marseille is at the epicenter of a rise in new cases of coronavirus that is spreading throughout France. The intensive care wards in public hospitals in the Mediterranean city are already full, increasing the pressure on private health institutions.
Some of the largest cities outside Paris, including Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux, have already imposed new restrictions in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus and decrease the number of people in intensive care. Official data show that about 638 patients with covid-19 have been admitted to intensive care units in the past seven days.
For Natalie Roche, a nurse at the covid-19 unit at the Marseille clinic, the lessons learned during the first wave of the pandemic bring some tranquility. There are no shortages of face masks or gloves, shortcomings that aggravated the stress during spring. “But of course, psychologically, it’s still an extra burden,” said Roche of the growing number of patients arriving at the clinic.
New cases of coronavirus are increasing not only in France, Spain, the United Kingdom, but across Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron is determined to avoid a second wave of confinement at the national level and says the country must learn to live with the virus.
But unsure about the development and timing of a vaccine, the Macron government is struggling to find the balance between allowing citizens to live their lives and containing the virus. This Tuesday, France recorded more than 10,000 new cases – for the sixth time in 12 days – and 78 deaths. Since the beginning of the pandemic, covid-19 has killed more than 31,000 people in the country.
“During the first wave, workers [do hospital] they were quite willing to venture into the unknown, ”intensive care physician Jean-Gabriel Castagnedoli told Reuters. “This time, the environment is not the same. People are less willing, they don’t want to relive everything again. ”