By Cindi Cook
PARIS (AA) - Even after the biggest one-day jump in COVID-19 cases since records began, France’s true numbers are probably twice the official figure, hitting as high as 100,000, a key adviser in national efforts to fight the pandemic said Monday.
Despite Sunday’s leap in daily cases to over 52,000, France’s Scientific Council believes "we are rather around 100,000 cases per day. Between the diagnosed cases, those which are not diagnosed, and the asymptomatic forms, we are around this number," Dr. Jean-Francois Delfraissy, the council’s head, told RTL Radio.
"We are in a very difficult, even critical situation. We are ourselves surprised by the brutality of what has been happening for 10 to 15 days," said Delfraissy, a specialist in immunology.
Daily coronavirus infections have topped the one million mark in France since Friday. Cases recorded over the last 24 hours are the highest yet, the Health Ministry said Sunday night, with total cases now standing at nearly 1.14 million.
With 116 more fatalities, the death toll to date rose 34,761. Hospitalizations stand at 12,176, with 1,816 of those patients in intensive care.
ICU beds are nearing capacity, Aurelien Rousseau, head of the Ile-de-France Regional Health Agency, told franceinfo radio on Sunday.
"As I speak we are at 67% of intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients," said Rousseau, adding that from Wednesday through the weekend, average ICU bed occupancy had around doubled.
He also said that the positivity rate for the virus is rising daily, with areas outside of the Paris region seeing rates as high as 20%, or one out of every five persons testing positive.
With the state of emergency extended last week, 54 of France’s 94 departments are currently under a nightly curfew from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. for the next three weeks.