France's COVID Fall


The coronavirus virus initially started in China, but it quickly made its way to the European Continent with France reporting its first case on the 24th of January. Like other countries the world over, the French people were asked to make a sacrifice for the common good as the government implemented public health care measures such as imposing a ban on mass gatherings, instituting handwashing protocols, enforcing social distancing, mandating masks and implementing other non-pharmaceutical measures.

When the news of the virus broke, many citizens were encouraged to practice self-isolation, companies gave their employees the opportunity to work from home, and restaurant owners, schools and other businesses started preparing for a closedown. As cases kept on climbing, the French President Emmanuel Macron declared a war against the Coronavirus. Yet despite these steps, France, like the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Belgium, has experienced COVID-fatalities at roughly the same rate or higher as the U.S., and also shared in the recent surge as well.

France’s initial lockdown started the 17th of March and lasted until the first weeks of the European summer. The government acted quickly to implement measures to prevent the potential economic damage. Macron’s government increased its workers compensation scheme for any job losses due to the pandemic and in Paris, the local government went further by imposing a ban on landlords to evict their tenants during the cold months.

In contrast to other countries such as the United States and South Africa, France briefly had the situation under control. Unfortunately, as cases started to rise in Paris, life became unbearable in the small crowded boxed homes and an estimated 17% of the population fled to the countryside. Unfortunately, the virus went with them. Healthcare and front-line doctors, many of who are foreigners, put their lives on the front line and as a display of gratitude for their service, the French Minister of the Interior decided to put them on an accelerated path to citizenship.

The French government’s response was rather sensible, but in most large European countries, outside of Germany, the results have been no better than those in the US.

Pandemic Preparedness

In 2003 following the SARS outbreak, the French authorities asked their esteemed Microbiologist Professor Didier Raoult to investigate France’s pandemic preparedness and biodefense capabilities. Raoult’s report criticized France’s unpreparedness for the pandemic, but his findings were ignored by the political establishment.

Raoult did manage to raise the money to build IHU Marseilles that has since the pandemic started becoming the beacon of research and information regarding COVID19. When the pandemic struck the patients in the port city could get tested and treated early, consequently Marseilles reported a statistically insignificant excess mortality in 2020.

But the story generally was pretty disappointing. When COVID-19 hit, the French government despite its well celebrated public health system, found themselves short of medical Personal Protective equipment, masks and the ability to perform a large scale population testing.

In terms of Urban Planning, French City Planners will also have to rethink their dedication to high dense cities as recent a study from INSEE shows that these areas were the hardest hit by COVID-19.


In France, COVID-19 patients were initially told to stay home if they develop flu-like symptoms. They could only go to hospital after 7 days if they developed heavy symptoms such as difficulties to breathe. As in the USA many patients with respiratory problems were immediately put on a ventilator, but this official protocol might have killed the patients as the COVID-19 disease has a unique symptom among respiratory diseases that coagulates the patient’s blood. Patients could have survived if they were put only on oxygen. When a New York Emergency Doctor Cameron Kyle Sidell first pointed out the COVID-19 might not cause ARDS, he was relieved of his duties, but later his recommendations were implemented.

On the French social media rumors started circulating about a magic cure called Hydroxychloroquine. Videos of Dr. Didier Raoult, the world’s most cited expert in communicable diseases, began to circulate where he claimed that he replicated the results of Chinese scientists that already treated patients with the antimalarial.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) branded as Plaquenil is not new to anyone, like me, from Africa, as we often take it without prescription to enter Malaria zones, and it certainly is not dangerous. In 2019 patients could get the drug in France without prescription, but in early January 2020 the French government changed the prescription guidelines to avoid self-medication and the government insists that that the change has nothing to do with the coronavirus.

Dr. Raoult pioneered treating respiratory diseases with hydroxychloroquine almost 20 years ago and he was aware of the limits of the drug that according to his protocol only works during the early stage of the disease. By implication, patients already hospitalized might find little benefit from HCQ and the 7-day waiting protocol would make HCQ rather pointless. Later word spread to the United States and when President Donald Trump tweeted about HQC all hell broke loose when the medication got politicized, and scientific truth went completely out of the window.

Dr Raoult has since then treated over 7000 patients with Hydroxychloroquine with a case fatality rate of 0.5%. Similar results were also obtained in the United States by Dr. Zelenko in New York and Dr. Stella Immanuel in Texas, and many medical professionals in Senegal, Morocco, Algeria, and India. Yet the Western Press went out of its way to discredit the treatment. Currently over 100 Peer Reviewed publications support the use of the HCQ for early treatment. Moroccan scientist Jaouad Zemmouri estimated that 78% of Europe’s coronavirus-related deaths could have been avoided if European states had mirrored Morocco’s chloroquine strategy.

Yet, despite this record, HQC was soon withdrawn by the WHO from their recommendations. Later this year, the French medical body Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des products de santé (ANSM) issued an official ban on the use of HQC, and they only authorized Remdesivir as a potential treatment.


The COVID19 disease has been linked to Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotid(NAD+) depletion in patients. Low NAD+ allows for the virus to utilize the Mtor pathway that was discovered 25 years ago by John Hopkins Researcher David Sabatini. Researcher Roben Huizenga, showed a massive improvement in the outcome of elderly patients when he treated them with a cheap cocktail that could increase their NAD+ levels.

The pathway and its association has been identified in mice and human studies and a cost effective way to increase a patients NAD+ would be to adopt a higher protein medium fat low glycemic carbohydrate diet, but this goes in contradiction to the official US and French nutritional guidelines.

COVID-19 deaths has been heavily associated with diabetes, heart disease and all chronic disease that are associated with insulin resistance. South African sport and medical scientist, Prof Tim Noakes pointed out that a low carb high fat diet (known as Ketogenic in the United States and Banting in South Africa) can effectively treat insulin resistance and reverse type 2 diabetes and thus better prepare patients to be resistant to COVID-19.

With all the healthcare measures that were imposed, and freedom curtailed, not a single public health official, even in food centric France, focused on necessary dietary change. This practical step may have lessened the high death rate due to COVID-19 in the industrialized west.

Computer Models

France was unprepared for the coronavirus as the country suddenly discovered that it has no available PCR testing equipment. As in the case of the UK and America, the government’s initial response was to heavily rely on computer models, later proven to overestimate the risk of COVID-19. The models were driven by Imperial College’s Prof. Neil Ferguson, but when experts started analyzing his predictions, the code became unreadable. Ferguson has a long history of wrong predictions, yet his predictions were taken as prophesy.

If only the modelers looked at the already available data and three full population groups in particular, the Diamond Princess Ship, the Charles De Gaulle Aircraft Carrier and the U.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt then they could better estimate the populations that were at risks of dying. Early in March Stanford University’s Dr. John Ioannidis showed that a simple proportionate calculation from one of these ships would estimate the highest risk of death to around 625 in a hundred thousand people, around 5 times deadlier than seasonal influenza.

By October, this year the United States, the UK and France all had around 600 in a hundred thousand deaths from COVID-19. Ioannidis’s approach was spot on, simple high school mathematics proved better than a sophisticated mathematical prophesy.

The Role of Propaganda and Big Tech

The most disturbing aspect of the pandemic, in France and elsewhere, has been the deliberate propaganda by governments the world over and their complex interconnection with big tech. Twitter and Facebook started expanding its censorship against anyone that dares to question the WHO’s official guidelines, despite the WHO’s dark history of incompetence. The WHO leader Tedros Adhanom has deep ties with the Marxist inspired Tigray People's Liberation Front that has been responsible for human rights abuses in his native country Ethiopia. The WHO was also caught faking the Swine Flu Pandemic in 2008 and the Film Trust WHO that exposes the corruption was subsequently removed from YouTube and Vimeo when the pandemic started.

Early on in the pandemic, President Macron created a scientific advisory body known as L'ordre des Medecins et le conseil scientifique and initially including the famous Doctor Raoult, but after a fallout with the other scientists he eventually quit, saying that his advised is undermined by other interests. A study by the Swiss Prof. Patrick-Yves Badillo, director at the University of Geneva’s communication, media and digital sciences department showed that the French Media took a completely partisan stance on hydroxychloroquine and an ideological position against any dissenting voices such as Doctor Didier Raoult.


As in the United States, the French people were told to stay indoors, wear masks, and just go along until the authorities say that the situation is safe. Physical exercise and the buying of necessities were restricted to once per day. These measures seemed rather sensible compared to South Africa that banned alcohol and rather proportionate compared to Brazil and Tanzania that simply ignored the danger, or in the Philippines were the police shot people for not respecting the social distancing rule.

The public was told that the non-pharmaceutical interventions were meant to protect them, but a recent report by Prof. Vincent Jarnier at the Sorbonne University cast serious doubt if any of the non-pharmaceutical interventions, with the possible exception of early testing, actually stopped the pandemic from following its natural course.

A report at Paris’s institute of Epidemiology (IRMES) showed what no sensible person would have expected before COVID19 hit the world, i.e. that countries in the Western World such as France and the United States that have the highest incomes and life expectancy would have suffered the highest loss of life.

Although some Americans see COVID’s wrath in that country as proof of incompetence, particularly under President Trump’s admittedly chaotic leadership, the French experience shows the limitations and even misdirection are not unique to Washington. When we finally have the data to examine what happened, we will likely find much failing not only by the Potomac but the Seine as well.

The official government narrative is that the response of the pandemic has left a few unanswered questions and sensible citizens should deeply interrogate them if we care about uncovering the truth in the post COVID-19 world.

Hügo Krüger is a Structural Engineer with working experience in the Nuclear, Concrete and Oil and Gas Industry. He was born in Pretoria South Africa and moved to France in 2015. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pretoria and a Masters degree in Nuclear Structures from the École spéciale des travaux publics, du bâtiment et de l'industrie (ESTP Paris). He frequently contributes to the South African English blog Rational Standard and the Afrikaans Newspaper Rapport. He fluently speaks French, Germany, English and Afrikaans. His interests include politics, economics, public policy, history, languages, Krav Maga and Structural Engineering.

Photo: data from Google News.