Report on France's virus response criticizes elderly care

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PARIS (AP) — A report made public Tuesday into France’s handling of the coronavirus criticized the government for not providing enough care for older adults living in retirement homes.

The report's authors concluded that people over age 85 were more heavily affected by COVID-19 in France than they were in the United Kingdom or the United States. But the report acknowledges that the situation in France was not as bad as it was in countries such as Spain and Poland.

France has Europe's third-largest pandemic death toll after the U.K., and Italy, and infections have continued to rage in recent weeks.

“With 1,332 deaths per million inhabitants, it is well above the European average (1,092 deaths per million),” the report said of France's COVID-19 mortality rate. The authors attributed the discrepancy mainly to the first wave of the pandemic, which was particularly strong in parts of eastern France.

To prepare the report, five experts heard from around 200 representatives from the French government, health care system and scientific community.

The report recommends “improving the care system for the elderly in institutions” in France, including by strengthening the medical facilities in care homes and coordinating them better with hospital support.

The Associated Press

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