Published on March 17, 2020 | Updated on March 17, 2020

Coronavirus won’t be spread by me!

The weather is nice, you are no longer at university, and for most of you, you think you will not be exposed to serious risks if you get coronavirus-Covid 19.

Coronavirus won’t be spread by me!

"“The virus is not circulating in France, it is men and women who are spreading it ”" Jérôme Salomon - Director General of Health.

The weather is nice, you are no longer at university, and for most of you, you think you will not be exposed to serious risks if you get coronavirus-Covid 19. Therefore, this situation could encourage you to meet up with 2, 3, or 10 people to satisfy a legitimate need for social connection and make the most of this Spring period. The purpose of this short message, however, is to convince you of the urgent need to take action.

Some of us are "pauci-symptomatic" carriers of the virus who are nevertheless contagious, but we don’t know that we are infected. Indeed, it is likely that the number of carriers is underestimated due to clinical signs perceived as being benign, not requiring tests to be carried out to get a formal diagnosis. At these meetings and even outdoors, these people will unknowingly transmit the virus to others, contributing to its spread and facilitating the epidemic. Indirectly, by acting this way, we are posing a major risk to frail people (the elderly or people with other pathologies) for whom the risk of mortality associated with their infection is particularly high.

We can save lives through what we do. This is a race against time to avoid a health catastrophe.

First of all, read this very well explained scientific article (in French) that should convince you of the importance of applying the preventative measures you know about and avoiding as much contact as possible with other people.

Read it and transfer it to as many people you know as possible to cause a possible "electroshock". This document must be spread as much as the Covid-19 should not be spread. In France, we are not yet at the peak of the epidemic. We have the power to reverse its progress. It is our individual and collective responsibility – by immediately putting in place "preventative measures and gestures" to limit the transmission of the virus, respecting the principle of "social distancing".

In addition,this other document (in French) provides an update on the rate of transmission of the virus, showing us the number of new infections in France caused by a contagious person, who are unlikely to know if they are infected.

As the epidemic is growing exponentially in France, the number of patients and severe cases will increase proportionately, leading to – if the recommendations are not applied by everyone now – an excessively high mortality rate due to the saturation of hospital services. If we wait, it will be too late, and we will be individually and collectively responsible for this failure. If you feel a little ridiculous in front of your friends/contacts by applying or encouraging the application of preventative measures and behaviors – e.g., staying more than a meter away from anyone outside your family, not participating in festive gatherings or cultural activities, even perhaps advocating their cancellation, washing your hands – you have been helping to save lives.

The epidemic will stop either when everyone has been infected (and the mortality rate is likely to be high when health systems are saturated), or when the number of people infected per contagious person is less than 1.

We would like to ask you, university students, services and laboratories of ENS de Lyon, to respect your civic duty in this difficult situation. The right decisions were made by closing schools and universities (see right-hand map). We now appeal to your individual responsibility: everyone must play their part and by doing so, they will be all the more listened to, as they are aware of the most up-to-date scientific knowledge in this critical and unprecedented moment that we are going through.

The strategy to avoid saturation of hospitals depends on the policy of closing high-density institutions with a high-density of people (schools, universities, restaurants, etc.) but above all, it depends on our individual behavior. Let’s change what we do and help our loved ones change too and we can all save lives.

Some useful links to help you convince your family and friends

- Four short videos by Professor Franck Chauvin (in French), President of Public Health Council in France
- Very simple simulations are showing the impact of the social distancing measures 
- Academic links :


Reminder of preventative measures 

To avoid infection, there are some simple steps to preserve your health and that of those around you:
  • Washing your hands very regularly
  • Cough or sneeze in your elbow or in a handkerchief
  • Greeting without shaking hands, avoid kissing
  • Use single-use handkerchiefs and discard them
  • Avoid gatherings, limit travel and social contact