Day 22: « We’re not at the peak yet »

Tuesday, 7th April

On Day 22 of confinement, the peak of Covid-19 related deaths has still not been reached here in France, according to authorities. In the UK, there was somber news as it was announced Boris Johnson had gone into intensive care.

A somber mood in the UK

A friend of mine in Sussex tells me the mood in the UK is very dark. Not surprising considering a report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) today which predicts that the UK will be the worst affected country in Europe: according to their predictions, it’s estimated more than 60,000 people will die of the disease by early August. It has to be said the data is disputed by scientists, and there remain many unknown factors in this crisis.

Day-time jogging banned

People are growing weary of being locked up, and the gorgeous weather is not helping. This morning, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, announced she was banning jogging between 10am and 7pm, saying each trip outside that could be avoided contributed to fighting the epidemic. There have been a lot of jokes – and people getting very annoyed – on social media about the number of people suddenly taking up jogging since confinement began. That is because one of the boxes you can tick on your « attestation » to go out includes « individual sporting activities » – so running fits the bill perfectly.

When it comes to seeing the end of the tunnel –  « Il est certain qu’un retour à la vie d’avant n’est pas pour tout de suite » says France’s prime minister.

As I tell my friends jokingly, if this will mean I no longer have to « bise » people with smelly beards, unwashed hair, too much after-shave – or all three! – that’s fine by me. I do, however, miss hugging friends when I see them. Strange scenarios pop up in my head: will the post-Covid world be one where the first question people ask each other is no longer: « Ça va? » but « Tu l’as eu? » (« Have you had it? ») before they give each other the traditional kiss on the cheek?

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