Emmanuel Macron met Thursday with Professor Didier Raoult, cantor of the very controversial use of a derivative of chloroquine against the coronavirus, a few days before an address during which he must detail the continuation of the confinement facing the epidemic that has killed more than 12,000 people in France.
After meeting other researchers in the morning in a hospital near Paris to take stock of the search for treatments, the President of the Republic spent three hours at the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU) in Marseille, where he works Professor Raoult. Images showed the two men side by side, masked, and conversing on a terrace of the establishment.
Become one of the figures of this crisis, Didier Raoult published two studies on the hydroxychloroquine (derivative of chloroquine, a drug against malaria) which prove, according to him, “effectiveness” of this treatment against the coronavirus. But many scientists find it impossible to draw this conclusion on the basis of these studies alone, because of the way they are developed. The IHU also put online Thursday evening the results of a third study, larger, which would corroborate the previous conclusions of Professor Raoult.
He is supported by a certain number of political leaders and a petition called “#NePerdonsPlusDeTemps”, launched by the former Minister of Health Philippe Douste-Blazy and asking to soften the possibilities of prescribing chloroquine, exceeded Thursday evening the 460,000 signatures.
Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Marseille is part of consultations conducted before his address to the French on Monday evening.
Started on March 17 and already extended once, confinement will continue after next Tuesday, has already warned the Elysee, without specifying the duration of the new extension.
In addition to this question, the head of state should also address the economic and social situation on Monday, while the epidemic and containment have precipitated France into a historic recession.
The government is now predicting a collapse in gross domestic product (GDP) of 6% this year, an estimate based on containment going until mid-May. “This is the biggest recession in France since 1945,” said the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire.
Faced with the scale of the crisis and the growing needs of businesses, the government has doubled its emergency plan, which goes from 45 to 100 billion euros, and “exceptional” spending dedicated to health will increase by 2 to 7 billion euros, swelling the deficit and public debt.
The human toll has further increased, with at least 12,210 deaths since the start of March, including 8,044 in hospital, or 412 more than 24 hours, and the rest notably in nursing homes (Ehpad).
But a glimmer of hope has come from the number of patients in intensive care, which has declined for the first time since the start of the epidemic, with 7,066 patients, 82 less than Wednesday.
This drop in pressure on the health system suggests that “we are gradually curbing the epidemic,” said number 2 of the Ministry of Health, Jérôme Salomon. But “it is a very high plateau and we must remain extremely careful,” he warned, calling for “redoubling our collective and united efforts”, especially in terms of containment and barrier gestures.
– Easter confined –
Because on this “Holy Thursday”, in France and around the world, believers are preparing to spend the Easter weekend confined, deprived of masses and meetings for this highlight of their spiritual and family life.
Spring break and good weather require, after Paris and five other Ile-de-France departments, it is in Alsace, a very affected region, that all individual sports activities will be prohibited during the day from the weekend. A similar measure was also taken in Saint-Etienne.
And there is no question of offering a getaway on the Blue Coast or in the Alpilles: in Bouches-du-Rhône, where the holidays also start this weekend, containment controls will be reinforced on the coast, on the motorway and in the massifs. And in Ardèche, group outings are prohibited.
As part of a containment control, a thirty-something died Wednesday evening in Béziers (Hérault), where a curfew is in force, after a “difficult” arrest by the municipal police, according to the prosecution. An investigation into manslaughter is underway.
Third CHU in France, Marseille hospitals fear a slackening of behavior as the long weekend approaches. “If the confinement is not respected, all the gain that we had risk of being lost!”, Alerted one of their leaders, Professor Dominique Rossi.
In Ile-de-France, in order to relieve a hospital system still in very high tension with more than 2,600 people in intensive care, two new evacuations of patients by TGV will take place on Friday towards Aquitaine.
The temporary morgue installed in a hall of the Rungis market, near Paris, sparked a controversy because of the controversial tariffs charged to families by the private operator who manages it. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner asked for a “check”, judging the situation “abnormal”. And the state “will bear the additional costs caused by the burial periods”, said its services afterwards.
– A clinical trial stopped –
On the research front, clinical trials are continuing. For the Discovery trial, which is among those presented to Emmanuel Macron Thursday morning at the Kremlin-Bicêtre hospital and which deals with four possible treatments, the first trends are not expected before the end of April.
On the other hand, a clinical trial which envisaged to administer to the patients a solution resulting from the blood of marine worms, to try to relieve their respiratory distress, was stopped Thursday. His authorization was withdrawn pending a new evaluation.
France is also continuing its efforts to obtain masks for carers and sick people, protections coveted by the whole planet, while the epidemic continues to spread.
However, the Minister of the Interior asked the prefects to “withdraw the decrees” taken by mayors to make it compulsory to wear a mask in the street during confinement, referring to “a problematic subject”, “which is not not medically demonstrated “.
And the administrative justice suspended the decree taken by the mayor of Sceaux (Hauts-de-Seine) which required its citizens to go out with their faces covered, pointing to “a serious attack on the fundamental freedom to come and go” and to “personal freedom”.
burs-jmo-aje-so / fpo / dlm