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Covid-19: Fearing a second wave, the French government is relying on a local strategy

Issued on: 13/09/2020 – 14:08

As the coronavirus pandemic accelerates in France, Prime Minister Je..



Issued on: 13/09/2020 – 14:08

As the coronavirus pandemic accelerates in France, Prime Minister Jean Castex wants to rely on a regionalised approach. At a press conference on Friday, he said that "most of the measures should not be decided from Paris". This is a very different strategy to the one adopted in March when the whole of France was put under lockdown. Jan-Cédric Hansen, a doctor and member of the French Society of Disaster Medicine, explains it to FRANCE 24.

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During his speech on September 11, the French prime minister made a worrying assessment of the evolution of the Covid-19 health crisis. Castex noted there had been a "clear worsening" of the spread of the virus in France and that it has "not lowered in intensity" and "will still be with us for some months".

But, Castex stopped short of imposing any new national measures, saying France's aim is to "avoid a general lockdown" and succeed in living with the virus through social distancing, mask-wearing and ramped-up testing.

With 42 departments in the red zone indicating very high levels of infection, the government is banking instead on the autonomy of regional authorities to deal with a second wave of Covid-19, a strategy quite different from the one on March 17 when the government imposed a national lockdown.

For Castex, it is now up to "local health authorities and elected representatives to trigger additional risk reduction measures, notably on the wearing of masks, gatherings in public spaces, major events or the opening hours for certain shops".

Jan-Cédric Hansen, a doctor and member of the French Society for Disaster Medicine, believes this approach is necessary and can help bridge "a disconnect between [national] measures and the reality on the ground".

France 24: Can we talk about this change in the government's approach towards more localised management?

Jan-Cédric Hansen: Until now, the state's management of the crisis has been very top-down and there is now a willingness to tackle problems locally. It is clear that the government's priority is to continue to move the country forward and protect its citizens, but accepting that there is a greater risk for the weakest. Of course, the economic aspect is paramount, but it cannot be the only barometer of political decision-making, otherwise we run the risk of greater disaster, as we have seen in the United States.

At the same time, there has been a growing awareness of the harmful effects of lockdown. Even if it is the most effective method of fighting the virus, it has a heavy impact on the lives of citizens, whether in terms of social ties or even health. In nursing homes, some people have died from the consequences of lockdown. This is a serious issue that must be taken into account.

Are regions better able to assess and manage this health crisis?

Two very distinct aspects of this need to be differentiated. The health strategy must be national, decided by the government and passed on to local authorities throughout the country. On the other hand, its implementation must be done in consultation with local professionals in the field.

Until now, the approach has been very homogenous, regional health agencies followed the instructions and there was sometimes little room for discussion.

I witnessed this situation when the health authority asked a nursing home to test all residents in one day and then isolate the positive cases. There were two hundred residents who needed to have the importance of the procedure explained to them and their relatives and the implications it could have on their future. Some of them would have to be moved, though the bedroom in a nursing home is much more of a living space, unlike in a hospital room.

In the end, despite pressure from the health authority, the process took a week. This is a good example of the disconnection between official orders and the reality on the ground. The desire to give more decision-making power to the regions is a step in the right direction, even if in my opinion the scale is still too large. The department representative must be able to make strong, localised decisions based on the epidemiological analysis of the circulation of the virus.

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How does overeating affect the immune system?



Overeating is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. While it is widely understood that excessive eating leads to obesity and other health problems, many people are unaware of the impact that overeating has on the immune system. In this article, we will explore how overeating affects the immune system and what can be done to prevent or mitigate the damage.

The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism against harmful substances and infections. It is responsible for identifying and eliminating harmful pathogens and other invaders that may cause harm to the body. When the body is functioning normally, the immune system works efficiently to keep us healthy. However, when the body is subjected to chronic stress, such as from overeating, it can become weakened, making it less effective at protecting the body against illness and disease.

One of the ways in which overeating affects the immune system is by increasing inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can have a negative impact on the immune system. Chronic inflammation is associated with a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. When the body is constantly exposed to high levels of glucose and other harmful substances as a result of overeating, it can lead to chronic inflammation, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness.

Another way in which overeating affects the immune system is by altering the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and play a crucial role in maintaining good health. When the body is exposed to a high-fat diet, the balance of gut bacteria can become disrupted, leading to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and the suppression of beneficial bacteria. This can result in decreased gut function and reduced immune function, making it more difficult for the body to protect itself against harmful pathogens.

In addition, overeating can also lead to obesity, which is a major risk factor for a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Obesity is associated with a range of physiological changes, including insulin resistance and the release of cytokines, which are signaling molecules that play a crucial role in the immune response. When the body is constantly exposed to high levels of cytokines, it can lead to a state of chronic inflammation, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness.

Finally, overeating can also affect the immune system by causing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when the body is exposed to an excessive amount of free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can cause damage to cells and tissues. When the body is constantly exposed to high levels of glucose and other harmful substances as a result of overeating, it can lead to oxidative stress, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness.

In conclusion, overeating can have a profound impact on the immune system. By increasing inflammation, altering the gut microbiome, causing obesity, and inducing oxidative stress, overeating can weaken the body’s ability to protect itself against harmful pathogens and other invaders. To maintain a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, engage in regular exercise, and avoid overeating. By taking these simple steps, you can help protect your immune system and reduce your risk of illness and disease.

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Homelessness and mental illness are two intertwined issues that have a complex relationship. Homelessness can cause or worsen mental illness and, conversely, mental illness can contribute to homelessness. It is a vicious cycle that can be difficult to escape, and it is important to understand the ways in which these two issues are interconnected.

Homelessness can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. Living on the streets can be a traumatic experience, with a constant fear of violence, theft, and disease. Homeless individuals often face stigma, discrimination, and a lack of privacy, which can lead to feelings of shame, hopelessness, and isolation. The stress and unpredictability of homelessness can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Mental illness, on the other hand, can also contribute to homelessness. Mental illness can make it difficult for individuals to maintain employment, manage their finances, and maintain stable housing. Individuals with mental illness may struggle with accessing treatment and support, and the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness can also contribute to feelings of shame and isolation. These challenges can lead to a cycle of homelessness and mental illness, where each issue exacerbates the other.

There is a need for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness and mental illness. This includes providing safe and stable housing, access to mental health treatment and support, and addressing the underlying social determinants of health that contribute to homelessness, such as poverty, lack of education and job opportunities.

Housing First, a program that prioritizes providing permanent housing to homeless individuals before addressing any other issues, has been shown to be effective in reducing homelessness and improving mental health outcomes. This approach recognizes that stable housing is a critical foundation for addressing other issues, including mental health.

In conclusion, homelessness and mental illness are complex and interrelated issues that require a comprehensive and coordinated approach to address. Providing stable housing and access to mental health treatment and support is critical for breaking the cycle of homelessness and mental illness and improving outcomes for individuals experiencing these issues. It is important to continue to address the root causes of homelessness, including poverty and lack of access to education and employment opportunities, to reduce the prevalence of homelessness and improve outcomes for those experiencing it.

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Improving Reception For Children With Cancer – Basque Family Support Association



The association “Tous avec Agosti” wants 2023 to rhyme with new dynamics. For nine years now, the structure has been working to welcome families of hospitalized children in Bayonne. Since 2018, 47 families have been able to find some respite in an apartment in Anglet.

Apartment in Anglet

Since she has benefited from an apartment in Anglet, the association “Tous avec Agosti” has enabled nearly 50 families of patients hospitalized at the Center Hospitalier de la Côte Basque to stay close to their loved ones. This represents 600 overnight stays, 47 families from 23 departments and even from Belgium and Spain. At the beginning of 2023, the structure has just had its prefectural approval renewed and sees things big.

“We have been working in our area for years,” notes Frédéric de Arroyave, the association’s president, but “in 2023, we will show ourselves much more, on the markets for example, but also in acts. The apartment we have in Anglet is a haven of peace for families going through terrible times, but for some it is difficult to access”. The apartment is located on the alleys of the Jardins d’Arcadie, near Biarritz – Pays Basque airport. We want to get closer to the Bayonne hospital.

The association “Tous avec Agosti” was born in 2015. Agosti, 10 years old, is suffering from cancer and taken care of at Bordeaux hospital for 6 months. His father, Frédéric de Arroyave, living in Ahetze, has the possibility of integrating a parents’ house and can stay with his child. Such a structure did not exist in Bayonne, so he launched the project and the association which lives today thanks to donations from contributors and the dozen (very) active volunteers. Each year, approximately 4,000 children are hospitalized in Bayonne.

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