- Each month, 20 Minutes, in partnership with Doctissimo, presents its YouGov Health Barometer on the knowledge and behavior of French people vis-à-vis the coronavirus.
- In January, the prospect of a third confinement is on everyone’s mind, despite weariness and criticism of the restrictions that continue for restaurants, culture and the mountains.
- If more French people want to be vaccinated, the number of opponents to vaccination is also increasing.
An extended curfew, the fear of a containment, a ski vacation that is receding, the vaccination that accelerates … After nine months of the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions, the horizon is still far from brightening . How do the French judge the latest government announcements? Have they changed their minds about vaccination?
Since November 2020, 20 Minutes publishes a monthly barometer on the health crisis, produced by
YouGov, in partnership with Doctissimo. The opportunity to follow changes in public opinion.
The French respect the curfew … but critical
Since last Saturday, the whole of France has gone to a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. According to our barometer *, 92% of French people say they respect this measure. If a few clandestine parties can give the impression that some overstep the constraints, this figure reminds us that the majority of French people have adapted to heavy and long measures. “People generally respect confinement or curfew, as can be seen from the mobility data, analyzes Pierre Parneix, public health and hospital hygiene doctor at the
Bordeaux University Hospital. On the other hand, many overestimate their application of barrier gestures. Hygiene has improved, but not enough. In all stores where gel is offered at the entrance, when it is controlled, the public disinfect their hands. Otherwise, three-quarters do not. “
More surprisingly, the extended curfew is justified for more than half of those polled. While 6 in 10 consider the continued closure of restaurants unjustified (58%), just like that of cultural establishments (56%) or even ski lifts in the mountains (59%). “International data show that the smaller the restaurants, the more people there are, the more transmission there is,” continues Pierre Parneix. How to enforce a rule unanimously? What people do not imagine is that reopening a restaurant, a cinema, is to reinstate risky situations around it. Go to the cinema with a mask and distances, why not? But ten people can gather in front of the cinema. “And smoke a cigarette in a circle or share a moment of conviviality …
The French therefore do not validate these decisions, but seem resigned. Indeed, 37% think that a third confinement is probable and represents the best solution … against 49% thinking that it is probable, but regret it. Unsurprisingly, the main concern at the moment concerns the new variants, in particular the one discovered in England, already present in France: 7 out of 10 French people say they are worried about their arrival. “People see the figures day by day, the high level of contamination,” continues the doctor. And they know that the situation escalated very quickly in England and Ireland. The period is rather pragmatism… ”
A pragmatism that can also be read when asked about the February holidays. The government has indeed decided: the holidays will not be synonymous with powder snow and mountains. But that should have little impact on the plans of the French. Indeed, two thirds had not planned to leave, 20% were waiting before planning something and 9% preferred to cancel.
The new protocols for the school reassure
The government also announced last Thursday a strengthening of protocol for canteens and a massive screening campaign at school. A good idea according to half of those questioned: 58% are reassured by the generalization of tests at school and 60% by the reinforced health protocol in canteens. “Maintaining the education of our young people is imperative,” says Pierre Parneix. Strengthening protocols, this draws attention to critical points to optimize the organization. But what matters is the effective variation and the ability to supervise. Of course, the classrooms need to be ventilated more, but who will have the CO2 sensors? “
Less vigilance but more opposition to vaccines
Another major subject: vaccination. While since Monday, French people over 75 and those suffering from a pathology that makes them vulnerable to viruses can be vaccinated, opinion seems to have changed slightly. In our first barometer, in November, 34% of respondents wanted to be vaccinated quickly. This time, 50% say that they will get vaccinated as soon as they are concerned, 12% that they do not know and 39% that they will not. For what reasons ? In detail, 40% mention the lack of perspective on the effectiveness of the vaccine (- 6 points since December), 27% fear side effects (- 4 points since December), but 21% say they are against vaccines (+ 6 points since December). Vigilance fades, while frank opposition grows stronger.
Encouraging results for a country championing vaccine mistrust, welcomes Pierre Parneix. “If we managed to vaccinate 50% of the French, with nearly 20% of the population that has been exposed to the coronavirus, we would not be far from having controlled the epidemic. Except with a new variant which would make vaccination ineffective… The French perceive that the situation is critical. The challenge is not to convince the recalcitrant, but to facilitate access to vaccination for volunteers. “
The announcement Tuesday of five deaths of people who had just been vaccinated is there a risk of overturning public opinion again? “Transparency is a good approach, insists the public health doctor. People need to be the best informed to form their opinion. With uncertainties, it will not be possible to know for a long time what the long-term effects of these vaccines are. But we must also put this figure of five deaths into perspective: we are almost 300 deaths per day from Covid-19 and we have not finished paying a heavy price … “
* YouGov health barometer for 20 Minutes, in partnership with Doctissimo, carried out with 1,023 people representing the French national population aged 18 and over. Survey conducted online, on the YouGov France proprietary panel, from January 15 to 18, 2021.