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Covid-19: An update on research, a year after the first lockdown in France

Covid-19: An update on research, a year after the first lockdown in France
17 Mar. 2021

un vaccin anti-covid-19

The month of March marked the anniversary of a nationwide lockdown in France, decided by the government to stem the pandemic of Covid-19, which, originated from China and spread to the world with a death toll of hundreds of thousands of people. Many questions are still unanswered and some feel that the disease will mark the beginning of a new era.

Polytechnique Insights, the free online review of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris (IP Paris), has widely reported on the work of researchers from the institution, from partner or associated research centers and from many other renowned researchers on the pandemic and its consequences. You will find below a summary of their publications and the links to access them.

Launched on February 5th, Polytechnique Insights offers two main editorial formats: researcher columns and extensive reports to help shed light on major contemporary issues, such as environment, health, natural resources, energy, finance or demography. These formats are accessible on its website, via social networks and through a bilingual newsletter (French-English) sent to subscribers twice a month.

Research papers on the pandemic have of course focused on public health issues and the impact on the health system. Thus, from the first issue of the Polytechnique Insights Newsletter, Arnaud Fontanet, Medical Epidemiologist, Professor at Institut Pasteur, and Lecturer at CNAM , warned that no return to normal life would be possible without massive vaccination. Julie Josse, Researcher in Statistics at Inria and Lecturer at the Institut Polytechnique de Paris, outlined the Intensive Care Unit Bed Availability Monitor (ICUBAM), an easy-to-use digital tool to track bed availability within the hospital system. Etienne Minvielle, CNRS Research Director at the Centre for Management Research of the Interdisciplinary Institute of Innovation (I³-CRG*) has called for hospitals to retain the agility acquired during the crisis.

In terms of impact of the pandemic on people, Hervé Le Bras, Research Director in Demographics at EHESS and Emeritus Research Director at Ined, has shown that demographic density was not a primary factor in the spread of Covid-19 but that location of clusters were key to contain the epidemic. Bruno Falissard, Child Psychiatrist and Professor of Public Health at Paris-Sud Faculty of Medicine, stressed that the 16–25 year olds were the most psychologically exposed to the consequences of the Covid-19 and the lockdown measures put in place to fight it. Nicolas Chopin, Professor of Data Science and Machine Learning at ENSAE Paris (IP Paris), was also quick to warn that Covid-19 mortality rates were likely underestimated.

Several other contributions examined the economic and environmental implications of the pandemic. Isabelle Méjean, Head of the Economics department at the Institut Polytechnique de Paris and Best Young French Economist 2020, discussed the prospects for relocation or regionalization of international supply chains that have been disrupted by the pandemic, which has also highlighted the dependence of certain countries on high-demand products needed to fight the disease. Cyril Crevoisier, CNRS Researcher in Atmospheric Radiation analysis at École Polytechnique (IP Paris), estimated that the pandemic and the slowdown or even cessation of certain economic activities resulted in a 7% reduction in CO2 emissions in 2020. Patrick Artus, Professor of Economics at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Head Economist at Natixis, estimated that a complete recovery from the economic shock caused by the pandemic will be possible in 2023, thanks notably to massive fiscal and monetary stimulus plans.

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