- While reconfinement measures on the coastal municipalities of the Alpes-Maritimes have just been decided, Dr Guillaume Barucq believes on the contrary that it is necessary to loosen the grip on the seaside.
- Contamination is generally done “in a closed environment”, he analyzes, and the beaches are not “at risk” environments. “
- He also believes that the curfew “in an area like ours is an aberration. “
He advocates the benefits of the great outdoors … While a weekend confinement has been decided in the coastal towns of the Alpes-Maritimes, and the resumption of the epidemic is under close surveillance in Dunkirk to curb the circulation of the virus which On the contrary, the general practitioner Guillaume Barucq in Biarritz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) advocates a relaxation of measures in coastal areas. After having been environmental assistant to the mayor of Biarritz Michel Veunac (MoDem), Guillaume Barucq came second in the last municipal elections (26.3%) under an “eco-centric” list. He is now a city councilor. He is also the author of SurfTherapy and Detoxseafication. He answered questions from 20 Minutes.
You speak a lot on social networks, in particular to denounce the containment measures on coastal areas, why?
Confining a coastal strip is nonsense. I am one of the rare doctors to still take an interest in what was the medicine of the past, in particular what made the origin of thalassotherapy in France. For decades, doctors have prescribed environments, climates where we knew that the conditions of wind, sunshine, were the best to prevent infections. And it seems that in 2021, we have wiped out this basic knowledge with a stroke of a pen. We are asked, when we are at home, to ventilate our rooms, and on the other hand, we cannot recognize that external places are not places of transmission, it is illogical.
However, in the Alpes-Maritimes, we can clearly see that the progression of the epidemic has started to rise again…
Yes, but the question you have to ask yourself is where did these people get infected? Not on the Promenade des Anglais or on the beaches, but like everywhere else in closed places, homes, care facilities. The beaches, even when there are people, are not a risk area, because the air is constantly renewed. So if people get contaminated inside, logic would dictate that we encourage them to be more outside. Let people enjoy it, they need it for their physical, respiratory, and psychological health …
Do you go further, and even say that wearing the mask in the open air is unnecessary?
There is no study to prove that there is benefit in wearing a mask outdoors. The open-air mask – beach, countryside and mountain – is useless. We can be free to wear it, why not, but I don’t understand why we continue to force something scientifically irrational. We could ask ourselves the question for some ultra-busy streets, even if I have never heard of a cluster rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux. We infect ourselves in a closed space where there is at least one infected person, and when we do not open the windows, then the viral load increases in the room. We must stop believing that we are contaminating ourselves by breathing a breath of air where there is a coronavirus in it. This is not enough to get infected. And it should be remembered that the sea air, rich in mineral salts, is beneficial because it promotes respiratory health. We must recommend the seaside!
If we listen to you, everyone will rush to the beaches tomorrow, and we will end up with crowded shorelines, which could create a risk, right?
Our seaside resorts were born at the time of tuberculosis. We had started by quarantining people, by locking them up, but we were not getting out of epidemics. When doctors realized that the sea air is beneficial, we sent hundreds of people to the seaside. On the Atlantic we still have beaches that stretch for tens of kilometers. We had a crazy crowd last summer, and there was no starting point for contamination. I recognize that in the Mediterranean certain situations, with sometimes large towns and small beaches, are more problematic.
In your opinion, the curfew at 6 p.m. should also be lifted, which would be counterproductive?
There is a Toulouse study which shows that it makes matters worse. The curfew in an area like ours is an aberration. In Biarritz, we are not in an epidemic situation, why do we encourage people to go and confine themselves at the end of the afternoon, when the weather is fine? It reassures me more to see young people organize an aperitif on the Côte des Basques, than to know that they are having parties in confined spaces. Why do epidemics collapse as soon as the good weather returns? There are environmental conditions, but it is also linked to our attitudes: as soon as the weather is nice, we are more outside, and the transmission chains break by themselves. To emerge sustainably from this epidemic, we must adopt a logic of ventilation of populations.
Especially since all of this also has psychological effects on the population, too?
The effects are calamitous. There is a lead over the population, which is gloomy. On our patient base, we observed an aggravation in patients who already had psy problems, and we saw new patients appear who had no psychiatric history and who lost their footing during this epidemic, for economic, social, or because of a lack of hope. Many people balance their lives through sporting or cultural activities, prohibiting all these outlets, increasing stress levels in populations. This is why it is time to loosen the grip, especially since the vaccination is coming and we now know well this virus and its modes of transmission.
However, we can estimate that the government hears these arguments, since only localized containment measures are being taken at present, while some scientists are calling for harder containment across the country?
Finally, do I want to say … But we have been a country that has confined more than the others. And the countries which confine today, whereas they had confined less than us until now, have additional mental resources in the population, I am thinking of Germany in particular. We have already undergone two lockdowns, and the second put a real blow behind people’s heads, a third would be the lockdown too many. The President of the Republic is aware of this, I admit, in the face of a few scientific personalities in the media, who are rarely field doctors. To get an idea of the crisis, you have to talk to your general practitioner, who has a very good idea of what is happening in the general population.
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