Is there really reason to hope for a less contagious coronavirus this summer?

The White House has released a study showing that the virus has poor resistance to heat, humidity and direct sunlight. Could this be an indication of its seasonality, already invoked by Donald Trump?

William Bryan, head of the Science & Technology department at the White House during the press briefing on April 23.
William Bryan, head of the Science & Technology department at the White House during the press briefing on April 23. Drew Angerer / AFP

THE QUESTION. At a White House press conference on Thursday, a senior official in the Department of Homeland Security, Bill Bryan, presented the elements of a study showing that the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was poorly resistant to an atmosphere very hot and humid, as well as direct sunlight.

Elements that support the statements made by President Donald Trump at the beginning of February. “The virus we are talking about, many people think it will go away in April as the heat arrives», He assured then. Could these new elements thus reinforce the hope that the virus could be less contagious with the arrival of summer?

CHECK. The study, carried out in a Maryland laboratory dedicated to bacteriological threats, has not been published or even posted online. But some boards of a presentation were made available by Yahoo News. We learn that two very different types of analysis

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Does Prevotella really play a role in infection?

The virus attacks a bacteria found in the body, according to an astonishing theory that flourishes on social networks. But is it even slightly founded?

Researchers are wondering about the role played by the intestinal microbiota.
Researchers are wondering about the role played by the intestinal microbiota. AFP

THE QUESTION. Is the SARS-CoV-2 virus a bacteriophage? That is to say, it would act by infecting a bacteria, naturally present in the body: Prevotella. By becoming virulent, this bacterium would trigger the immune hyper-reaction causing complications.

This theory was developed by Sandeep Chakraborty, who presents himself as a bioinformatics researcher at the University of California at Davis and Bio moon, a French SVT teacher has been circulating on social networks for a few days. What is it exactly?

CHECK. And let’s face it: for the specialists interviewed by Le Figaro, this theory does not hold water: “She is attractive, but the problem is that she is based on false assumptions”, insists Professor Harry Sokol, gastroenterologist at Saint-Antoine hospital and specialist in microbiota. “I feel like I am facing an exquisite corpse. We put reasoning and hypotheses end to end

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Does tobacco protect against infection?

Smokers are said to be very underrepresented among people infected with Covid-19. But is it really true?

A smoker wearing a mask in Wuhan, April 10.
A smoker wearing a mask in Wuhan, April 10. Hector RETAMAL / AFP

THE QUESTION. Three weeks ago, tobacco specialist Bertrand Dautzenberg, a fierce opponent of cigarettes, dropped a small bomb on Twitter: smokers are widely underrepresented among patients infected with coronavirus in Chinese and American hospitals.

The figures are indeed striking. He asks himself this question: would tobacco protect, against all odds, from the Covid?

CHECK. At the time of the publication of this tweet, Professor Dautzenberg had given us a short interview. In all honesty, he himself did not know what to think of these figures except that the thing seemed very counter-intuitive. “I am the first surprised, and it embarrasses me, you can imagine. But the effect is so marked in the two datasets that the question is worth asking, even if there are many potential biases», He emphasized then. “Neither of the two studies in which these figures appear refer to them. It’s very

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Didier Raoult is right to speak of “fake news” about an American study?

Researchers have questioned the effectiveness of chloroquine. The French infectiologist refers to a study “closer to scientific fraud than a reasonable analysis”.

“Passion prevails over scientific analysis,” writes Raoult. Gérard Julien / AFP

THE QUESTION. The chloroquine debate continues to escalate. On Wednesday evening, Professor Didier Raoult, first defender of the hydroxychloroquine-azithromycin (HCQ-AZ) cocktail to fight Covid-19, strongly criticized a scientist opposed to her treatment on Twitter. The latter cited a preliminary American study published on Tuesday, which concluded that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), taken with or without azithromycin (AZ), was ineffective.

“The witch hunter @MicrobiomDigest is not attentive to details when she judges that a study is useful for her paranoid fights!” (…) Fraudulent study. Fake news », wrote in English the French infectiologist, director of the IHU Méditerranée Infection. A little later, Professor Raoult continues, with less virulence: “The study published in pre-print on 04/21 on Medrxiv by Maganoli et al has three major biases which invalidate its conclusions, in any case absurd and incompatible with the literature”

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is this really the only alternative?

Between the two, the government has chosen, Minister Gérald Darmanin repeated again on Tuesday. But is public debt really a bottomless pit?

Gérald Darmanin in the hemicycle of the National Assembly on April 17.
Gérald Darmanin in the hemicycle of the National Assembly on April 17. Thomas Coex / AFP

THE QUESTION. The rescue of the French economy, its jobs and its businesses is a matter of national solidarity and it involves state aid. Everyone agrees, whatever their political color. “The government’s strategy is to adapt to economic demands“French and business, reaffirmed this Tuesday Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of Public Accounts, guest of France Inter. While stressing that the government “preferred (public) debt to (corporate) bankruptcy“The minister warned that the recession and deficits could be even more”impressive” provided that.

In other words, the fall in GDP could exceed 8% in 2020 and the public deficit break down the 9% of GDP line that the government has set itself to date. Of which act. But can a minister believe himself authorized to play the Cassandras? Is it really bearable to let go of deficits and think that debt has no limit? Doesn’t exist

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is Asia really facing a second epidemic wave?

Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong are seeing an increase in new cases. But is the situation really so worrying?

An air passenger leaves a test center in Hong Kong on April 18.
An air passenger leaves a test center in Hong Kong on April 18. ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP

THE QUESTION. With the announcement of a gradual deconfinement from May 11, there is no concern about a second epidemic wave that would affect France. On social networks, some cite the case of Asian countries which, after having effectively managed the Covid-19 epidemic, would today face a replica of the virus.

In fact, several countries or regions, such as Singapore or Hong Kong, have recorded poor daily statistics in recent days with a high number of new cases of contamination, the latter mainly concerning foreign workers. But can we go so far as to speak of a second wave of the epidemic?

CHECK. Where did the idea for a second wave come from? Several Asian countries have taken more drastic measures in recent days to stem the epidemic. The city-state of Singapore, previously flexible in terms of social distancing, ordered general confinement from April 7 until May 4. In Hong Kong or Seoul,

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is it to be feared that healed people may have little or no immunity?

The chairman of the scientific council, Professor Delfraissy, expressed concern about the short lifespan of protective antibodies against Covid-19.

Professor Jean-François Delfraissy chairs the group of experts which advises political authorities on the epidemic.
Professor Jean-François Delfraissy chairs the group of experts which advises political authorities on the epidemic. Ludovic MARIN / AFP

THE QUESTION. The President of the Scientific Council, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, spoke in the columns of the Italian daily La Republica, on April 12. He said: “This virus is very special. We have noticed that the lifetime of protective antibodies against Covid-19 is very short. And we are seeing more and more cases of recurrence in people who have already had a first infection” Should we really fear that people who have been sick with Covid-19 are not, or only slightly, immunized against this coronavirus?

CHECK. The president of the scientific council himself extended himself at greater length on the subject during his hearing in the Senate, Wednesday, April 15, speaking of a “series of elements which suggest that there may be a reservoir (anatomical compartments of the body, editor’s note) for this virus. Reactivation phenomena that can happen” It is not quite the same as what is said in daily life

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Could SARS-CoV-2 have been created in the laboratory and escaped?

A Nobel laureate in medicine, Professor Luc Montagnier, affirms this, establishing a link between Covid-19 and HIV, of which he is the discoverer.

Two researchers at the P4 laboratory in Wuhan.
Two researchers at the P4 laboratory in Wuhan. Johannes EISELE / AFP

THE QUESTION. For several days, across the Atlantic, the possible involvement of China in the origin of the Covid-19 has been mentioned, more or less explicitly, by the press, but also by the political authorities. The Washington Post notably had access to “memosOf American diplomacy: two years ago, the American embassy in China would have warned Washington of security risks at the Institute of Virology of Wuhan. “We are conducting a full investigation into everything we can learn about how this virus has spread, has infected the world”, reacted in the aftermath the head of American diplomacy, Mike Pompeo.

Emmanuel Macron also made enigmatic remarks in an interview with Financial times . “There are obviously things that have happened that we don’t know”, explained the President of the Republic. Still on the French side, the main accusation came from a Nobel Prize in medicine, Professor Luc Montagnier, discoverer of the AIDS virus,

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Can you really measure inflation during containment?

INSEE has just announced a very slight increase in prices in March. But don’t changes in consumption upset the usual measures? .

Has industrial activity slowed more in France than in our European neighbors?

THE CHEKING PROCESS – The Secretary of State to the Minister of the Economy, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, estimates that the activity of French industry would be below the European average. Is it true ?

The Secretary of State to the Minister of the Economy, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, estimates that French industry would operate at around 50%.
The Secretary of State to the Minister of the Economy, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, estimates that French industry would operate at around 50%. Sébastien SORIANO / Le Figaro

THE QUESTION. In an interview with Figaro , the Secretary of State to the Minister of the Economy, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, points out that French industry would operate at around 50%, even though “industry to remain solid in Italy and running at full capacity in Germany and Northern Europe

In order to stem the epidemic of the coronavirus, the second European economic power started on Tuesday its fifth week of confinement. Since March 16, French industrial sites have gradually closed and the tricolor factory is almost at a standstill.

The Secretary of State advances: in this period of confinement, the current activity of French industry “is lower than the European average, according to data from companies established in several countries” Is this cautious statement – we note the use of the conditional – plausible?

CHECK. First of all, it is worth looking at the latest INSEE estimates. With the exception of the sector

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