French coronavirus expert REJECTS second wave fears branding warnings a ‘fantasy’
Professor Didier Raoult said data on the spread of the virus suggested it had reached a “bell curve” which he claimed was a typical epidemic cycle which should rule out the prospect of a rebound.
The second wave story is a fantasy that was invented from the Spanish flu
Professor Didier Raoult
Prof Raoult said: “The second wave story is a fantasy that was invented from the Spanish flu, which started in the summer and has nothing to do with it.
“Usually an epidemic happens in one curve. I hate to make predictions, but this way of constructing it is fairly common for epidemics.
“In the past, epidemics disappeared long before we had the means to contain them. They disappeared anyway.
“Humanity didn’t die from an epidemic, that’s the way it is. Epidemics start, accelerate, peak, disappear, and we don’t know why.”
Prof Raoult said the French government’s plans to start easing lockdown measures on May 11 was justified.
He also backed the results of a study carried out by Singaporean researchers who predicted 97 percent of COVID-19 cases in France would have happened by around May 7.
Prof Raoult said: “The data provided by the president is not extravagant. 97 percent of the cases will have occurred around 7th May and 99 percent around 19th May.
“This is the time when we should be able to confine and isolate infected people, knowing that by then the virus transmission will have become much lower.”
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said France would adopt an aggressive programme of COVID-19 testing from May 11 and warned citizens had to be disciplined to avoid a new outbreak.
Mr Philippe said the lockdown had saved tens of thousands of lives but that the time had come to ease the unprecedented peacetime restrictions and rescue an economy in free-fall.
But he warned that the infection rate would spiral if France moved too swiftly and people became complacent.
He said: “We are on a knife’s edge. I am having to choose between bad decisions.
“We must protect the French people without paralysing France to the point that it collapses.
“A little too much carefreeness and the epidemic takes off again. Too much prudence and the whole country buckles.”
Almost 24,000 people have died in the pandemic in France.
From May 11, schools will gradually reopen and businesses will be free to resume operations.
Restaurants, cafes and beaches, though, will remain closed until at least June, while professional sports are suspended until September.
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The planned timeline hinges on the number of new coronavirus infections remaining below 3,000 per day.
Mr Philippe said the government would slow or delay the unwinding of the lockdown if the infection rate spiked markedly higher with administrative departments divided into red and green zones.
He said: “If the indicators are not good enough, we won’t unwind the lockdown on May 11, or we will do it more strictly.”
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