In Seine-Saint-Denis, poverty and population density favor the spread of the coronavirus

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In Seine-Saint-Denis, poverty and population density favor the spread of the coronavirus





© Ludovic MARIN / AFP
Since the start of the coronavirus epidemic, Seine-Saint-Denis has experienced particularly high mortality, in particular due to the high population density and the precariousness of a large part of the inhabitants. On the other hand, the authorities ensure that confinement is generally respected.


Faced with the coronavirus epidemic, Seine-Saint-Denis is paying a heavy price. As of Friday, April 3, the authorities reported an “exceptional excess of mortality” in the poorest department of metropolitan France, with a jump of 63% in mortality in the second half of March. Dramatic, this assessment is explained not by less respect for confinement, but in particular by the higher population density and the significant precariousness faced by the inhabitants.

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“There are more deaths in Seine-Saint-Denis simply because there are more patients”, confirms to the microphone of Europe 1 Frederic Adnet, who directs the emergencies of the Avicenne hospital, in Bobigny. “It is a very impoverished department with people all over each other. The promiscuity in the family scene promotes the spread of the virus. This is valid in all epidemics,” he adds.

“In Seine-Saint-Denis, teleworking is very little developed”

On the side of the prefecture as well as the police unions, we ensure that confinement is generally respected. The number of reports is also falling: 23,000 since the start of confinement, or a report every 5 checks. But this population, denser and more precarious, is also the one who must continue to work in trades such as home help or supermarket checkouts.

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“In Seine-Saint-Denis, teleworking is very little developed”, explains to Europe 1 the prefect of the department, Georges-Francois Leclerc. “A non-negligible part of the active population operates in trades which are often required as part of the continuity of the nation’s major public services. As a result, there is in some cases significant exposure to risk.”

In an attempt to limit the spread, the authorities have decided to advance the business closing hours to 8 p.m. each evening and 1 p.m. Sunday and Monday for the Easter weekend.

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