Paris Match cover photo illustrates the insanity we are experiencing

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Manifestation des soignants : Farida, le visage de la colère. Un rassemblement s'est tenu mardi soir devant le commissariat du VIIème arrondissement, à Paris. Il réclamait la libération d'une infirmière, arrêtée quelques heures plus tôt en marge d'une manifestation des soignants qui a donné lieu à quelques échauffourées dans la capitale. Des images de l'arrestation de cette femme quinquagénaire, infirmière dans le Val-de-Marne, ont suscité la polémique sur les réseaux sociaux. Sur certaines d'entre elles on la voit être tirée au sol par un agent de police ou encore réclamer sa ventoline, un médicament utilisé par les personnes souffrant d'asthme, alors qu'elle est entourée de plusieurs policiers. Pourquoi cette manifestante en blouse blanche a-t-elle été arrêtée par les forces de l'ordre? Une source policière a fait savoir qu'elle avait été «interpellée pour outrage et jet de projectiles sur les forces de l'ordre». Sur des images de BFMTV, tournée quelques minutes avant son interpellation, on voit cette femme jeter des projectiles et faire des doigts d'honneur en direction des policiers. Soucieux de «rétablir la vérité» après cette arrestation, le syndicat indépendant des commissaires de police a diffusé cette vidéo de la chaîne d'info en continu sur Twitter. «La gentille infirmière, qui avait besoin de sa ventoline, et qui est présentée comme une victime de la police. Elle jetait des projectiles, juste avant son interpellation», a réagi le syndicat. «Un policier atteint par un de ces projectiles déposera plainte» mercredi, a fait savoir une source policière. A la fin de la manifestation, qui a réuni 18 000 personnes à Paris selon les chiffres de la préfecture de police, 32 interpellations liées aux échauffourées ont été réalisées par le police.⁣ Photos : @raphael_lafargue @abaca_press⁣ —⁣ #personnelsoignant #paris #parismatch

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France bans use of hydroxychloroquine, drug touted by Trump, to treat coronavirus

Hydroxychloroquine had been approved for use in seriously ill patients, but the latest large-scale research shows it could do more harm than good.


Paris — France has banned the use of the controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat people with COVID-19, the diseased caused by the new coronavirus. The move follows the publication of initial findings from a large-scale study that found the drug offered no benefit to patients, and could in fact be harmful.

The Lancet medical journal reported on May 22 that the observational study on nearly 100,000 patients from multiple countries found a higher mortality rate and an increased frequency of irregular heartbeats in patients who were given hydroxychloroquine.

France’s health minister responded to the findings the next day by asking the French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) to review the situation, and it recommended halting the use of the drug

Source: France bans use of hydroxychloroquine, drug touted by Trump, to treat coronavirus – CBS News

Chris Hedges on Covid-19 and the Collapse of American Capitalism

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, West Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans.  He is host of the Emmy Award–winning RT America show On Contact. Chris Hedges is the author of several bestseller books such as American Fascists, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. His latest is America: The Farewell Tour. 

Hosted by Mitch Jeserich.

Listen To Chris Hedges interview

Letters & Politics seeks to explore the history behind today’s major global and national news stories.

Chris Hedges

The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them

By Erin S. Bromage, Ph.D.,  Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. 

It seems many people are breathing some relief, and I’m not sure why. An epidemic curve has a relatively predictable upslope and once the peak is reached, the back slope can also be predicted. We have robust data from the outbreaks in China and Italy, that shows the backside of the mortality curve declines slowly, with deaths persisting for months. Assuming we have just crested in deaths at 70k, it is possible that we lose another 70,000 people over the next 6 weeks as we come off that peak. That’s what’s going to happen with a lockdown.

As states reopen, and we give the virus more fuel, all bets are off. I understand the reasons for reopening the economy, but I’ve said before, if you don’t solve the biology, the economy won’t recover.

There are very few states that have demonstrated a sustained decline in numbers of new infections. Indeed, as of May 3rd the majority are still increasing and reopening. As a simple example of the USA trend, when you take out the data from New York and just look at the rest of the USA, daily case numbers are increasing. Bottom line: the only reason the total USA new case numbers look flat right now is because the New York City epidemic was so large and now it is being contained.

So throughout most of the country we are going to add fuel to the viral fire by reopening. It’s going to happen if I like it or not, so my goal here is to try to guide you away from situations of high risk.

Where are people getting sick?

We know most people get infected in their own home. A household member contracts the virus in the community and brings it into the house where sustained contact between household members leads to infection. Continue reading “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them”

‘Everyone needs to meet to talk’: Parisians enjoy coffee, company and haircuts as lockdown lifted

On the sidewalks of the Marais, the vibrant central Paris neighbourhood that is both quaint and chic, local residents, merchants and workers enjoyed each other’s company on the first day of the easing of France’s Covid-19 lockdown. FRANCE 24 reports.

A little after 11am on Monday, Frank Barron, 40, was enjoying a latté at Fringe, a small coffeeshop on the Rue de Turenne, for the first time in almost two months. He had to stand on the sidewalk, but his drink, with an artful, leaf-like design on its surface, came in a ceramic mug.

Barron told FRANCE 24 that making coffee at home, which he’s been doing since France’s lockdown began on March 17, isn’t the same as drinking it at a neighbourhood spot. But that isn’t just because of the java – it’s also due to the camaraderie with neighbours.

Barron was standing next to Cyril Muller, 38, another resident of the Marais, a neighbourhood that consists of parts of Paris’s 3rd and 4th arrondissements (districts) and is known for its quaint streets and compact museums, art galleries and boutiques. The Picasso Museum is here; so is, arguably, the best falafel in town.

Marais resident Valérie Geoffroy receives her sandwich order from Guy Abergel at Chez Hanna, a Middle Eastern restaurant on the Rue des Rosiers on May 11, 2020.
Marais resident Valérie Geoffroy receives her sandwich order from Guy Abergel at Chez Hanna, a Middle Eastern restaurant on the Rue des Rosiers on May 11, 2020. © Philippe Theise


Muller, a spice distributer, said that streetside conversations are an important part of city life.

“I missed it,” he said. “Everyone needs to meet to talk.”

Standing behind a barrier of a table and a pastry shelf, Fringe owner Jeff Hargrove, 56, said it felt strange to be able to serve customers at the door, but not inside.

“Our place is more welcoming, cozy, but we have to keep these distances,” he said.

Hargrove won’t be able to seat customers until the French government allows cafés and restaurants throughout the country, including the wider Paris region, where it says that Covid-19 is still actively circulating, to fully reopen.

For now, it makes him happy to see his customers, many of whom are local residents, at a distance.

“Actually, I’ve not had anyone I don’t know,” he said.

A few doors further up, Jonathan Benhamou, 32, a salesman at Danyberd, a men’s clothing store, said that two of his regular customers had already visited since the shop opened.

“They gained weight, so they had to buy new suits,” he said.

Out on the sidewalk, a man and a woman stopped, arched their bodies back and smiled in recognition, and a cheerful conversation ensued.

The man, James Rose, 56, – who happened to be Barron’s partner – said that “seeing friends for real” was pleasing after so long.

Thank-you messages

Nadège Maguet, 54, a local postal worker walking by, said she has been seeing residents along her routes for 25 years.

“I know their children, their grandparents. All the family,” she said.

Nadège Maguet, a mail carrier who works in the Marais, displays one of the pictures local children made for her during France's Covid-19 lockdown to thank her for bringing the mail on May 11, 2020. The image features a shooting star and the word "Merci" in large letters.
Nadège Maguet, a mail carrier who works in the Marais, displays one of the pictures local children made for her during France’s Covid-19 lockdown to thank her for bringing the mail on May 11, 2020. The image features a shooting star and the word “Merci” in large letters. © Philippe Theise

During the lockdown, Maguet played music on her cellphone as she wheeled her cart, which sometimes prompted people to open their windows and say hello.

Children living in the Marais made her colourful pictures to thank her for delivering the mail. One picture, which she displayed on her phone, showed a yellow shooting star on a light blue background with a large-lettered “Merci” (Thank you), and a smaller “Nadège” above a heart.

Maguet said that Monday’s greater number of face-to-face exchanges made her feel good.

“It’s human,” she said.

Around the corner on Rue des Filles du Calvaire, César Levy, 38, sat amid abstract metal sculptures and minimalist paintings in 193 Gallery, the exhibition space he opened two years ago.

The latest show opened about two weeks before the lockdown began, so Lévy decided to extend its duration. He spent part of his time in lockdown digitalising the gallery’s catalogue, and hopes that collectors will return this week.

César Lévy, the owner of 193 Gallery in the Marais, decided to prolong his exhibition of Mexican artists, which opened in early March, for three more weeks.
César Lévy, the owner of 193 Gallery in the Marais, decided to prolong his exhibition of Mexican artists, which opened in early March, for three more weeks. © Philippe Theise


“Psychologically, to not see the collectors, the artists for two months, it’s very hard,” he said.

‘Interesting’ haircuts

Across the neighbourhood on the Rue des Rosiers, Hanna Abergel, 65, the owner of a Middle Eastern restaurant bearing her name, lamented the absence of tourists, who she said were her main customers.

“It’s sad,” she said.

But her partner, Guy, 61, made sandwiches for a group of three teenagers and for Marais residents Valérie Geoffrey, 49, and Betty Lachgar, 44.

“They have to get back into the habit,” he said.

On the busy Rue de Bretagne, where many specialty food shops were open during the lockdown, one hair salon was so busy that no one had time to talk. On the quieter Rue des Archives, hairdresser Françoise Myoho shared her opinion of post-lockdown tresses.

“Catastrophic!” she said. But she acknowledged that some of her customers had achieved “interesting” results by taking scissors into their own hands.

Source: ‘Everyone needs to meet to talk’: Parisians enjoy coffee, company and haircuts as lockdown lifted