The effect of the curfew is uncertain
Advocates of curfews usually use rational arguments to predict the effectiveness of the measure. If people stay at home and do not come into contact with people outside their homes, they greatly reduce the chances of contracting or spreading the disease.
Jordan and France are among the countries that have implemented curfews. Jordan implemented a nationwide curfew in March 2020 with the aim of enhancing social distancing, as well as allowing epidemiological investigation teams to track and isolate contacts of patients. The timing of Jordan’s response has been identified as a key component of its success. However, Quebec bet on a curfew nearly nine months after the virus hit its territory.
France has also implemented a curfew to control the transmission of Covid-19 after the holiday season. On the other hand, this curfew was implemented at the same time as other measures, which does not make it possible to establish a causal relationship regarding the effectiveness of this measure. In addition, this measure did not stop the transmission, but it mainly slowed acceleration.
The researchers’ main hypothesis is that the curfew has limited youth interaction in bars and restaurants. However, bars and restaurants in Quebec did indeed have to comply with numerous procedures that alternated between early lockdown times and dining room closures depending on the color of the area.
Failure in Ile-de-France
The French curfew is a very interesting case. The authors report that curfews have slowed the acceleration of transmission by more than 60 years. For the youngest residents under the age of 19, curfews don’t seem to dampen progress. In this age group, confinement that limits certain activities as well as movement throughout the day appears to be more effective than curfews, at home, restricted to only a certain period of the day.
A French data modeling study indicates that the curfew had the opposite effect in the Toulouse region, which had a higher than expected case rate. This study indicates that some health measures may be inappropriate for local situations. On March 18, Le Monde newspaper reported that the curfew had failed to contain transmission of the virus in the Ile-de-France (Paris region).
Currently, we lack data on how curfews work as a single metric. Curfews could potentially help limit transmission of the infectious disease, but it could have very limited effects in a multi-intervention context (or the type of Swiss cheese) as found in Quebec (wearing a mask, confinement, reduced opening hours for stores and restaurants, physical distancing. , Work from home, measures for travelers).
Tested to lift the curfew?
According to some experts, the government’s decision to postpone the curfew time, even in the red, so in the Montreal area, indicates that we want to test the effect of the anticipated lifting of this measure.
On the one hand, this will happen around the same time of spring, good weather, a sense of security that vaccination efforts can bring, and population exhaustion in the face of restrictions.
It would therefore be difficult to determine the cause and effect between the withdrawal of the curfew and the potential increase in cases. In the context of severe confinement, which is already leading to negative health effects, including lack of physical activity, malnutrition and deteriorating mental health of the population, it is important to assess the relationship between the risks and benefits of an additional component of the measure, whose efficacy is mixed.
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