Covid-19: after a peak in early January, the number of tests continues to decline slowly

Last week, 10.65 million tests were validated, a figure down for the second week in a row. However, the current rate remains high.

Despite a continuous increase in Covid-19 cases in France, the number of tests is declining. Last week, according to the latest data published by the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (Drees), attached to the Ministry of Health, 10.65 million sample results were validated by a healthcare professional. A high figure, but falling for two weeks.

After a weekly peak of more than twelve million tests, at the start of the month, the number of tests fell by around 1.45 million. Antigenics form the lion’s share, more than two-thirds of the total. The decline is particularly marked among the youngest, aged under 25. On the contrary, the other age groups are more stable. The current trend can be explained in particular by the change in school protocols.

The drop in demand can also be seen in the daily figures: a peak was reached on January 10, with more than 2.2 million tests validated. Last week, for comparison, the busiest day was Monday, with 1.9 million tests, or 17% less. The current level, around 1.5 million tests per day, remains high, far from those observed at the beginning of the fall.

The rush to tests generated by the fifth wave therefore weakens, without stopping. Since November 2021, more than 77.5 million samples have been counted. Massive, the demand has a cost: in December, the tests cost “one billion euros“, according to Cnam, and in January, the government expects a global bill “a little over one and a half billion euros“.

Some players consider this policy to be exaggerated: this is the case, for example, of Doctor Gérald Kierzek and epidemiologist Martin Blachier. But experts disagree on this subject, pointing to the importance of screening, from a health point of view.

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