Published 28 July 2020

Hide yourself, hide yourself, hide yourself!

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Hide yourself, hide yourself, hide yourself!

Press release from the National Academy of Medicine
July 28, 2020

As SARS-CoV-2 is never on vacation, there are consistent signals of a worrying resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic in France and in neighboring countries since the beginning of July. The trend towards relaxation in the observation of barrier measures, observed since the release of containment [1], rose with the summer season. The holiday period has increased the risks associated with people moving to tourist areas of the national territory: using crowded means of transport, frequenting markets and places of high traffic, family gatherings, weddings and festive evenings.
Epidemiological indicators clearly show that the Covid-19 epidemic, far from ending in early summer like SARS in 2003, is taking off again and spreading to areas that had been relatively spared until now.
Considering the threat of partial or widespread re-confinement, it becomes necessary and urgent to remove the ambiguities that have been maintained for too long in the prevention messages and to provide a clear information.
The WHO Director-General’s “test, test, test” doctrine issued on 16 March is a necessary but insufficient response to control the epidemic, since increased detection does not prevent the spread of the virus. It must be added to the injunction “hide yourself, hide yourself, hide youself”.
Regarding the wearing of the “mainstream” mask, the National Academy of Medicine:
– recalls that this is the most effective way to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from person to person as long as it is applied by all in the public space [2];
– calls for this major measure to be placed at the top of the barrier gestures in the multi-daily radio and television messages issued by Santé Publique France [3];
– recommends the use of washable and reusable fabric masks, in preference to the so-called “surgical” masks, which are single-use, and therefore more expensive and sources of environmental pollution;
– disapproves the principle of a free supply of masks by the State, except for the most vulnerable, contrary to the necessary assumption of responsibility of each citizen [2];
– encourages local, regional or municipal authorities to make it mandatory to wear masks in all open spaces welcoming the public where distance measures are not feasible.

1. Press Release from the Académie Nationale de Medicine “Wearing a Mask Against Covid-19: A Mandatory and Non-Random Act,” July 15, 2020
2. Press Release from the Académie Nationale de Medicine “To Masks Citizen!”, April 22, 2020
3. Press Release from the Académie Nationale de Medicine “Recommending wearing a mask without masking the truth,” May 7, 2020