France is expected Thursday to pass the grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, after a year of hospital tensions, on-and-off lockdowns and personal loss that have left families nationwide grieving the pandemic’s unending, devastating toll.
The country of 67 million will be the eighth in the world to reach the symbolic mark, and the third in Europe after the United Kingdom and Italy.
The cumulative death toll since the start of the epidemic totaled 99,777 on Wednesday evening. In recent days, French health authorities have been reporting about 300 new daily deaths from COVID-19.
Lionel Petitpas, president of the association “Victims of COVID-19,” told the Associated Press that the number of 100,000 deaths is “an important threshold.”
After months of people getting accustomed to the virus, the figure “is piercing a lot of minds. It is a figure we thought would never be reached,” he said.
France plunged into a third, partial lockdown at the beginning of April, as new infections were surging and hospitals getting close to saturation. An overnight nationwide curfew has been in place since mid-December, and all France’s restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and museums have been closed since October.