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Since Oct 23 you can now find out the incidence rate range for a commune from Santé Publique France/Geodes.

This map only shows ranges, not actual values, and initially the uppermost range was 250+, which is a pretty broad category at this stage of the pandemic game.

Apparently the goal was “to not stigmatize” the heaviest-hit communes.

Over the weekend SPF seems to have realized that during a pandemic, ‘stigmatizing’ areas where the virus is most active is, in fact, what you want people to do. Temporarily, of course.

Accordingly, the map now includes higher ranges: 250-500, 500-1000, & 1000+.

To see only the communes in the 1000+ range, click the colorscale below the map.

After filtering to see only the 1000+ communes, here’s what stood out for me:

Cities tend to have younger populations, who are also more likely by asymptomatic if infected. Since testing priority is for those symptomatic, the incidence rates could simply be missing those younger asymptomatics.

Also, once you show the other ranges as well, it’s clear that the more urbanized an area, the darker the blue. (A notable exception: Bordeaux)

Again, keep in mind testing bias: when a cluster is found, avid contact tracing means case numbers (and therefore incidence rates) skyrocket. It’s not necessarily representative.

But it is a good reminder that it isn’t only cities being seriously hit by Covid.

However, at this stage ICU numbers give more concrete evidence of the virus’ impact and the urgent need to act. See them here