France is preparing to overcome the heavy toll of 100,000 dead since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, in the midst of the third wave which lasts and leaves open the questions on a reopening of the country from mid-May.

France will cross this symbolic bar probably this April 15 according to the daily count of Public Health France (SPF). The country will join in Europe Great Britain (127,000 dead) and Italy (115,000 dead), but other countries (Belgium, Portugal) have a higher mortality per inhabitant.

“All our forces are thrown into the battle against the epidemic (…) but will obviously come this moment of tribute and mourning for the Nation”, assured on April 14 the spokesman of the government Gabriel Attal.

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The majority of deaths since October

Despite the violence of the first wave (nearly 30,000 dead between mid-March and mid-May 2020), the vast majority of deaths have occurred since the end of October (around 65,000).

They were the consequence of a second wave that never ran aground, then of a new strong epidemic recovery during the winter because of the more contagious English variant. And even if the mass vaccination in nursing homes has borne fruit, nearly 300 deaths are still added every day in the hospital in April.

An underestimated figure

However, according to demographer and epidemiologist Jean-Marie Robine, this figure has already been exceeded for a long time. According to this research director at Inserm, “for the period from March 1 to December 31, 2020, there were already 75,732 certificates mentioning Covid as the initial or associated cause of death. “

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On December 31, Santé Publique France reported 64,632 deaths since the start of the epidemic. For the researcher, this difference can be explained by the method used by the health authority. SPF would not count deaths at home or deaths in long-term care units.

For its part, Inserm counts the deaths linked to Covid thanks to death certificates. The institute receives them either in electronic format for 25 to 30%, or several weeks later in paper format.