[Article updated on January 7 at 16:30]
A French doctor and medical consultant for television has said that France should stop carrying out so many Covid tests, arguing that their usefulness is limited in the face of Omicron and that the resulting case numbers simply cause people to panic.
Dr Gérald Kierzek, who is a medical expert for TF1, told La Dépêche: “We are testing too much and not enough at the same time.
“Too much in the sense that it is costing a huge amount of money which could be spent more wisely. Too much because tests are carried out on people who are not ill – and we should not confuse positive people with ill people – which is completely useless from a medical perspective.
“And finally we are testing too much because this new epidemic is generating few sick people and is sending very few people to hospital. In this context, it becomes less strategically useful to test on such a massive scale."
This comes as retrospective figures reveal that more than 400,000 people tested positive for Covid in France on Monday (January 3) in France, a record number. Santé publique France had initially reported less than 70,000 cases.
“At the end of the day, the more we test, the more we find and the more we panic," Dr Kierzek continued. "We therefore find ourselves in a horrible vicious circle which does not correspond at all with the reality of Omicron.
“The current situation provokes a major stress among the population. I am talking especially about children. We are in the process of creating a generation of hypochondriacs. It is shameful!
Dr Kierzek added that France is also not carrying out enough Covid tests because “we know very well that the number of people infected is much larger than the number of positive tests. So, none of it really makes sense…”
He argued that the ‘Tester, tracer, isoler’ (Test, trace, isolate) advice is now outdated, as it “corresponded to a moment in history,” where the population was not equipped with the vaccines we have today.
Dr Kierzek recommended that, amid this Omicron-related Covid wave, people should appeal to their “common sense.”
“When you have symptoms, stay at home and self-isolate. When you do not have symptoms, make use of barrier gestures like washing your hands and wearing a mask.”