La 2ème vague – the 2nd wave (Paris lockdown update)

On a 1 hour walk during the first day of reconfiment. Digital permission slip on phone. 

In Paris and across France we officially hit our deuxième vague (second wave) of COVID-19. I’d been watching our numbers steadily going up for weeks, hitting 52k new cases a day at points. I felt like I was watching the uptick in slow motion, because took the government awhile to speak up, but then when they did life came at us fast. We had less than 36 hours to get our lives together to lock.

On Wednesday Oct 28th President Macron addressed the nation. The details were announced the following day by Prime Minister Castex (if you recall, this is a change from PM Edouard Philippe who managed the 1st wave, quite well I say). When the clock struck midnight on Thursday night we were back to our days of permission slips (attestations) limited to our 1km radius for 1 hour with the exception of certain cases (doctors visits, certain jobs, etc.). The risk again is hospital overload.

Leading up until the 30th we’d already been operating on a 9pm curfew in Paris (and other major cities hit with a high case load in France). For anyone who knows French culture, eating at 7pm is not the norm at all. I’d never seen such efficiency in getting the bill—at outdoor terraces, bien sûr—to get home in time. That now feels like a distant memory with all restaurants closed, with the exception of delivery and click and collect.

The biggest difference this round is that schools are open (with universities being remote)—so far. The idea (I suppose) is to help lighten the load of working parents in order to keep the economy going. (How you want to protect the economy, while giving such little notice is something I struggle with, but more notice would have lead to more super spreader gatherings aka last hurrahs.)

If you can télétravail (work remotely) you need to according to the government. However, based on my network I’ve heard of too many companies are taking liberty on that front and writing special attestations for their employees. (Note: masks have been required in offices for awhile now if people do go to work.) I’d argue in France there’s still an old school sense of management that if you are not seen, you’re not doing your job. There is definitely a sense of entitlement and exemption for many in charge. They see themselves first rather than working to get us out of this collective mess.

Shops are closed, but some have a table at their door for click and collect orders. It’s been interesting to see chocolate shops and florists have dubbed themselves as essential. Last Friday during my first one hour outing, I was happy to bring some flowers home. I just may have to make it a regular thing in my new routine.

As for me, my life hasn’t changed much. I’m fortunate to be busy with many of my own projects and endeavors that came to life during first lockdown. (I’m grateful for my incredible community in Mapping Your Path.) I’ve worked hard to develop good habits and stick to them. I’ve added dance parties to my daily regime because an hour walk isn’t enough movement for me (and dancing is good for the soul).

Most exciting is my new hobby: cooking in the InstantPot (which no doubt will get its own post soon). Feeding myself three times a day was my least favorite part of our first lockdown. I’m not much of a cook, but I’ve decided to change that with the help of this magic machine that’s part slow cooker and part pressure cooker. (My friend Jenni is a professional chef who got me hooked.) So far I’ve made soup in 5 minutes, rice in 3 minutes, and shredded lime chicken in 20 minutes. It’s pretty much a dump and go thing and everything is fast once it pressurizes). I’ve also learned the joys of YouTube rabbit holes thanks to this new hobby.

I’ve learned with COVID there’s no point in trying to predict the future. We’re locked through at least December 1st, but I suspect it will continue longer…

Helpful resources for staying up to dat:

  • Santé Publique France announces new cases in France at 8pm CET nightly
  • Veteran correspondant @John_Lichfield on Twitter regularly synthesizes data (in English)
  • Journalist @kimwillsher1 regularly simultaneously translates announcements in English
  • France24 – International news from a French perspective

p.s. I’m hoping to run Write Your Own Rules workshop again before too long. Sign up here to be notified + sign up for my weekly newsletter Connect the Dots for regular updates direct in your inbox.


  • So you recommend the Instant Pot so far? As the higher end cooking robots are currently at their highest price ever, was about to go to the 13th ard the week of the new lockdown to see how the imported pots/cookers measured up to online deals and hardware brands. Obviously, that didn’t happen…

    About the lack of télétravail… Micro-managers gotta micro-manage, even (especially?) when it doesn’t make sense! In cases when the first lockdown went smoothly work-wise (and could work under good conditions at home), the same people who exceeded results remotely during the 1rst lockdown had to go back to the workplace during the 2nd… Even when data tells us that 30% of clusters are tied to the workplace.

    Tech & creative industries were mostly prepared, but for the rest…

    The official télétravail recommandations have been way too timid after the déconfinement or even with the curfew announcement, Borne’s change of tone a few days ago is too little, too late. It feels like a teacher or a parent with no authority just adding “ou sinon…” as an empty threat. There has been little to no incitation to change workplace behaviors, no preparation before covid even with the known need to decrease commuting & office waste, so a lot with short-term vision don’t see why they would change now.

    Hopefully the current crisis is the electroshock to find a good balance, rethink a lot of stuff including public space and work in the right direction…

    Good idea to sanctuarize “dance parties” in a daily set-up. With all that’s going on currently and the recent events, everybody needs to shake it off, get physical and dance the stress away! Now would be the perfect time to reboot Soul Train or -but it’s totally unrealistic- make MTV show music videos again!

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