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New virus tracking tool estimates Covid contact risks in France

The online tool is developed by Covid data service CovidTracker which is government approved

Going to a restaurant in France at the current national rate of incidence carries an 85% risk of being later identified as a Covid contact case, figures show Pic: Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock

People who sit indoors in a restaurant in France, if a Covid-positive person is also present, currently have an 85% risk of becoming a Covid contact case, a virus tracking tool has found.

The tool, developed by Covid data service CovidTracker, has estimated that at the current rate of incidence in France (the number of cases per 100,000 people), a gathering of 50 people is almost certain to have at least one Covid-positive person present. 

This means that if you go to a restaurant (or other indoor space), and the room contains at least 30 people, you have an 85% risk of being considered a positive Covid contact case as a result.

For an event or room with 50 people present, the risk rises to 96%. In a room of 83 people or more, the risk rises to 100%.

The true risk is likely even higher than this, said the creator of CovidTracker – digital engineer Guillaume Rozier – as France is likely not recording all positive cases currently circulating in the country.

The level of incidence has skyrocketed in recent weeks with the arrival of Omicron. As of January 15, health body Sante publique France said it was at 3,063 positive cases for every 100,000 people. 

When taking into account the fact that as many as 50% of current Covid cases are not being officially recorded, the “real” level of incidence is estimated to be at 6,126 per 100,000.

A contact case is defined in France as “having shared an indoor space (office or meeting room, personal vehicle, restaurant room...) for at least 15 consecutive or cumulative minutes over 24 hours with the positive (or probably positive) person, or having been face-to-face with him/her during several episodes of coughing or sneezing”.

The risk also differs by department, depending on the incidence rate of Covid. In Allier, the risk is 68% for a room with 30 people or more; in Seine-et-Marne, it is 91%.

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