A doctor specializing in skin cancer, Michèle Delaunay, 73, was Member of Parliament (PS) for the Gironde from 2007 to 2012, then Minister Delegate of François Hollande, in charge of the elderly and autonomy, from 2012 to 2014.

Since 2016, she has chaired the board of directors of the Institute of Public Health, Epidemiology and Development (Isped) at the University of Bordeaux. His latest work, The Fabulous Destiny of the Baby Boomers (Plon), evokes the dizzying questions posed by aging and the prospect of the serial death of the 20 million people of the generation born between 1946 and 1973.

From the start of the confinement, you alerted to the dangers of the virus in accommodation establishments for dependent elderly people (Ehpad), calling for urgently equipping the staff, even suggesting to families who could take their loved ones back with them. Why ?

First, to remove as many residents as possible from the contamination cauldron that an nursing home could become and from the isolation imposed on them.

But more structurally because these establishments are not sufficiently armed to deal with serial deaths. The nursing homes, where 600,000 people live in France, are in theory a place of life and care. But they are in fact an end-of-life place for the vast majority of residents, which clearly raises the question of their human and material resources to cope with them.

From the start of the epidemic, it was evident that age was one of the main risk factors for death. I was struck by the first announcement, at the end of March, of a wave of deaths by Covid-19 in an Ehpad in Mougins [Alpes-Maritimes]. It was the local press which revealed that twelve residents of this establishment had died in two weeks.

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Imagine that there were the same number of victims in a college boarding school. The next day, all the other students would have been taken out, and the structure would have been closed. There, nothing happened, or almost. The toll was also greatly increased thereafter in this establishment, with forty deaths among the hundred residents. Several families lodged a complaint, they had not even been warned of the situation, of these deaths which followed one another.

To say to oneself that an Ehpad is a place from which we will no longer emerge is intolerable for my generation, especially in a context like this one. This is why I pleaded for residents to be able to return to their loved ones, if the conditions were right. Doctors have also mentioned it and this has been done in a few cases.

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