French hospitals will feel impact of accelerating infections in two weeks

PARIS (CNA) – French hospitals cannot avoid the impact of the rapidly spreading coronavirus epidemic, the health minister said on Saturday.

The spread of the virus in France has accelerated rapidly in recent weeks, with the total number of confirmed infections exceeding one million on Friday.

“The serious cases arriving in our hospitals today are the result of infections that happened 15 days ago,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said after visiting a hospital in Marseille.

“Taking into account the spread of the epidemic today, we know that whatever we do, in 15 days we will see the consequences of these infections,” he said.

Two weeks ago, France was registering about 20,000 new daily infections with about 20 people entering intensive care units per day. On Friday, 122 people were admitted to ICU.

Infection rates have increased since the summer, with the seven-day average of daily confirmed cases at over 10,000 at the end of September, compared with about 5,000 at the end of August.

By mid-October the seven-day average of daily cases was at 20,000 and is now almost 30,000.

France on Saturday reported 45,422 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, a new record, after reporting 42,032 on Friday.