French Covid Deaths Rise by 854, Biggest Jump Since April 15

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France reported the biggest increase in coronavirus deaths since mid-April, with half coming in nursing homes, underscoring the urgency facing authorities to control the disease.

Deaths increased by 854 to a total of 38,289, partly boosted by the inclusion of several days of data from nursing homes. Confirmed infections increased by 36,330 on Tuesday to 1.5 million, French health authorities reported. The seven-day average of new cases, which smooths out fluctuations, rose to 43,438.

France started a second national lockdown on Friday, with restrictions on movement and closures of non-essential stores, in a bid to slow the wave of severely ill Covid patients overwhelming health services.

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“We’re witnessing a new buildup in hospital activity, and of resuscitation and intensive care capacities,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said on RTL radio on Tuesday. “Tension is very high in the hospitals.”

Hospitalizations linked to the coronavirus increased by 1,122 to 26,265, while the number of ICU patients rose by 148 to 3,878. During the first wave, French hospitals increased ICU capacity in response to the surge in Covid patients, with 10,700 occupied beds in mid-April, Veran said.

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