more than 400,000 cases of contamination in 24 hours worldwide, a record

By Le Figaro with AFP

A total of 404,758 new infections were reported, resulting in 6,086 new deaths.
A total of 404,758 new infections were reported, resulting in 6,086 new deaths. PASCAL ROSSIGNOL / REUTERS

More than 400,000 new cases of Covid-19 contamination were announced worldwide on Thursday alone, a record according to the count made on Friday October 16 by AFP from reports provided by the health authorities. A total of 404,758 new infections were reported, resulting in 6,086 new deaths.

This increase in the number of cases reported worldwide is only partly explained by the increase in the number of tests carried out since the first wave of the epidemic in March-April worldwide.

Second wave

In Europe, but also in the United States and Canada, the number of cases detected has risen sharply in one week, by 44% and 17% respectively compared to the previous week. In Europe, the maximum number of cases identified since the start of the pandemic was even reached on Thursday, with more than 150,000 new cases in the region.

Several countries on the continent believe they have entered a second wave of the epidemic. The number of deaths recorded is still far from the levels reached in April (more than 4,000 daily deaths were then recorded on average), but after a slowdown this summer (less than 400 deaths per day in July), the past week has seen the region once again exceed an average of 1,000 daily deaths.

In the United States, where the number of cases announced had declined in September, after a peak in mid-July, contaminations are also on the rise, with an average of more than 50,000 new cases daily in the last seven days, and peaking Thursday at over 70,000.


Paris and Berlin denounce Turkey’s “inadmissible” behavior in the Mediterranean

Ankara has returned a gas exploration vessel to a disputed area.

By Le Figaro with AFP

The seismic research vessel, Oruç Reis, has become the symbol of Ankara's gas appetites in the Mediterranean.
The seismic research vessel, Oruç Reis, has become the symbol of Ankara’s gas appetites in the Mediterranean. OZAN ​​KOSE / AFP

Germany and France denounced Thursday, October 15 the new provocations “inadmissibleOf Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, which could earn it European sanctions if Ankara does not return to a “spirit of dialogue».

«It must be noted that there are permanent acts of provocation on the part of Turkey which are not bearable. We really want Turkey to clarify its positions», Declared the head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian after a meeting with his German and Polish counterparts.

The return of a Turkish gas exploration vessel to Greek waters constitutes “a new provocation which is completely unacceptable», Added the German Heiko Maas. The two ministers recalled that the European Union had asked Turkey to stop its provocations by the December European summit on pain of being imposed sanctions.

One week delay

«The ball is in Ankara’s court», Underlined Jean-Yves Le Drian. “We are ready to accept the balance of power in the event of further provocations from Turkey even if our shared objective is to establish a real dialogue with Turkey.“, he added. Heiko Maas mentioned a delay “one weekTo see if Turkey is changing its attitude. “Then the European Union will decide on the attitude to adopt“, he said.

Turkey returned the seismic research vessel Oruc Reis to the eastern Mediterranean on Monday, despite protests from Athens. The deployment of this ship, which has become the symbol of Ankara’s appetite for gas in the eastern Mediterranean, has undermined hopes of de-escalation, after several weeks of sharp tensions between Turkey and Greece, in August and September.

See also: François Hollande calls NATO on “Turkey’s bellicose attitude »


EU contracts US for 500,000 doses of remdesivir

By Le Figaro with AFP

Gilead Sciences Headquarters on April 29, 2020 in Foster City, California.
Gilead Sciences Headquarters on April 29, 2020 in Foster City, California. JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

The European Commission announced on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with the American pharmaceutical group Gilead for the supply of 500,000 doses of remdesivir, an antiviral authorized in the EU to treat patients with Covid-19.

«Today, we guarantee access to remdesivir for the treatment of 500,000 patients who need itHealth Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a statement. “Thanks to our common public markets, we are giving European countries the means to join forces and have access to essential equipment and medicines.”She explained.

The Gilead Group produces Veklury, the brand of remdesivir. The agreement announced by Stella Kyriakides provides for the possibility of increasing the supply beyond 500,000 doses. All EU countries, member countries of the European Economic Area, the United Kingdom and six candidate countries (Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina) benefit from these purchases. “Veklury is, at this stage, the only medicine with conditional marketing authorization in the EU for the treatment of patients in need of oxygen supply.», Specifies the European Commission.

A previous contract with the American group has enabled the distribution of 33,380 Veklury treatments in the EU and the United Kingdom since August, recalled the Commission.

TO SEE ALSO – Covid-19: China hopes to produce 610 million doses of vaccines per year


“Mona”, the new facial recognition system at Saint-Exupéry airport

By facial recognition, “Mona” will make it possible to pass all the checkpoints within the airport in a very simple way. All you need to do is register your boarding pass, face and ID on the app (available on IOS and Android, editor’s note). Then you have to present your face to a dedicated queue“, summarizes Nicolas Notebaert, Managing Director of Vinci Concessions and Chairman of Vinci Airports.

Moreover, the use seems extremely simple. Customers can prepare their trip from home, without having to take their documents out at each checkpoint. “We really want to provide a smooth and fast course. Thanks to this innovation, we estimate that the passenger saves 30 minutes compared to a traditional boarding“, adds Valérie Vesque-Jeancard, Deputy Director France and Americas of Vinci Airports.

Finally “Mona” is a kind of flight companion who accompanies the traveler from his home to his airplane seat. The application is directly linked to airport information in the event of a delay, a change of boarding gate, etc.

A technology that arrives in a complicated period, when social distancing is strongly recommended. “I think Mona comes in at a time when the passenger is worried, perhaps even more than before, of his passage through the airport. The fact of not having to handle documents, that no one else handles them, it is rather reassuring in this health context“, adds the Deputy Director. On the other hand, the system does not currently allow to be detected with a mask. But the developers promise, they are working on it.

Note that for the moment, the device is being tested with only two airlines: Transavia and TAP Air Portugal, in the direction of Lisbon and Porto.

What about personal data?

According to the designers, all personal data like ID and photo is deleted as soon as you get on the plane. “We know that those who don’t use Face ID on IPhone are not going to use “Mona”. It will surely be a younger audience, and / or more used to new technologies who will use this system“, Valérie Vesque-Jeancard analyzes. In addition, the application and the system were developed in partnership with the General Directorate of Civil Aviation and with the CNIL.

For the moment the experiment will last a year. Travelers will be able to take advantage of this service from October 15.


the President of the European Commission in quarantine for a day

By Le Figaro with AFP

The President of the European Commission has tested negative for Covid-19.
The President of the European Commission has tested negative for Covid-19. POOL / REUTERS

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who tested negative for Covid-19, announced Monday, September 5 that she was going into quarantine until Tuesday morning, after a meeting last week with a person who tested positive.

«I was informed that I attended a meeting on Tuesday last in which also participated a person who tested positive yesterday (Sunday) for Covid-19. In accordance with the regulations in force, I therefore put myself in isolation until tomorrow (Tuesday) morningMs. von der Leyen wrote on her Twitter account.

«I tested negative on Thursday and will be tested again today», She clarified. Ms von der Leyen paid an official visit to Portugal on Monday and Tuesday. She could have been contaminated during this visit. She had participated in a meeting of the Council of State, an advisory body of the Portuguese president.

Portuguese media announced on Sunday evening that one of the members, lawyer Antonio Lobo Xavier, had tested positive for Covid-19. The Portuguese president and other members have since been tested, but were negative.

The other head of the European executive, Charles Michel, had undergone a quarantine of a week, after a case of Covid-19 in his entourage, resulting in the postponement of the last European summit initially scheduled for September 24-25.

TO SEE ALSO – Covid-19: the level of transmission in Europe is “alarming“, Warns the WHO


a study sheds light on the suffering of nursing home staff

Nearly half of the employees and caregivers of retirement homes have suffered from anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the Covid-19 crisis, according to a study conducted in northern Italy , published Wednesday. The proportion of anxiety disorders (moderate or severe) and / or symptoms of post-traumatic stress (moderate or severe) reached 43% among the population targeted by the study, with a predominance of PTSD.

In total, just over a thousand nursing home staff were subjected to screening questionnaires in 33 establishments in northern Italy, the area of ​​the country hardest hit by Covid-19 in the spring. . “Given the gravity of the situation, we expected a reasonably high prevalence, but not at this point”, explained to AFP one of the authors of the study, Elena Rusconi, professor in the department of psychology and cognitive sciences at the University of Trento.

These staff represent “A largely ignored population”, “Which plays a very sensitive and crucial role in our society and on which the Covid-19 pandemic has placed a particularly sudden and heavy burden”, she wrote with the co-authors of the study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

For the authors of the study, such figures can be explained by the multiplication of risk factors for stress, added to the fear of contracting the virus. Among them, a strong proximity with residents can cause a greater emotional load, especially since the elderly were very exposed to the deadly consequences of Covid-19. Health restrictions were other sources of tension, with staff having to manage relations with families deprived of visits and cancellations or restrictions on group activities within establishments.

“Finally, the staff of these establishments deplored the gaps in information on the procedures to contain the spread of the virus, a lack of drugs and protective equipment, a lack of staff and difficulties in transferring patients with Covid- 19 in hospitals, or to isolate them within the establishment ”, write the study authors. Who call for a “Urgent and thorough assessment of the psychological state” of all nursing home staff.


a Chinese machine shakes up Covid tests

Screening for the new coronavirus in just 30 minutes: a Chinese company produces the machine “the fastest in the world»For virological PCR tests and intends to conquer Europe and America.

In a Beijing lab, a lab assistant in a pink lab coat grabs a sample taken from the respiratory tract, adds reagents, and puts it into a black-and-white device the size of a printer. This machine named “Flash 20”, Costing 300,000 yuan (38,000 euros), detects the presence or not of the new coronavirus. It delivers its verdict in half an hour, which the tested person receives directly on their smartphone.

«It can be useful in hospitals for emergencies. For example when an injured person has to undergo an operation. It can be quickly determined whether or not he is infected“Sabrina Li, CEO and founder of the Coyote company, told AFP. “It is currently the fastest machine in the world for PCR testing of the novel coronavirus», Assures this 38-year-old ex-student in the United States, who founded this biotechnology company in 2009. The Flash 20, which can test four samples simultaneously, is especially useful in an emergency.

In China, airports use it to screen passengers coming from abroad. And the health authorities have been using it for several months to carry out screenings in neighborhoods confined due to Covid.

Tests de Trump

The first country to have faced the new coronavirus, the Asian giant claims to have contained the epidemic through quarantines, the wearing of masks or the monitoring of contact cases via personal data. But the virus is still actively circulating elsewhere in the world. The milestone of one million deaths has just been crossed.

Screening is one of the weapons to control the epidemic. Virological PCR tests are considered the most reliable, but the manipulations are complex and it often takes several hours to obtain a result.

Other methods are used. President Donald Trump on Monday announced the distribution in the United States of 150 million test kits “fast“. Similar in appearance to pregnancy tests, they can deliver their verdict in 15 minutes. Disadvantage: they are much less sensitive than PCR tests.

Coyote officials say the Flash 20 is not only fast but also reliable. Between February and July, 500,000 validation tests were carried out by the Chinese authorities. Conclusion: The results (positive or negative) of the machine were 97% similar to those of conventional PCR tests.

In addition to the certification of China, the Flash 20 has obtained those of the European Union and Australia. Coyote hopes to win those from the United States (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The West interested?

In addition, two machines are in the process of being validated in the United Kingdom. And the company says it is “in negotiation»With French buyers.

But will developed countries be interested in a Chinese product? “It is true that in terms of technological development, the West is much more advanced than Asia and in particular than China.“Concedes Zang Yuepeng, technical manager of Coyote responsible for the design of Flash 20. But the SARS epidemic (2003-2004) was an electric shock in the country and caused a great”reorganizationOf the sector, which has since made significant progress in research and development, he emphasizes. “This is why as soon as the outbreak (of Covid-19), we were able to design and put this product on the market very quickly.», note M. Zang.

Advantage highlighted by the designers of Flash 20: easy to use, it can be used by anyone. And not only by specialized personnel – as in classic screening. The only obstacle currently is production capacity. Coyote can only make 500 machines per month. However, it plans to double this figure by the end of 2020.

SEE ALSO – Covid-19: Trump announces distribution of 150 million rapid tests in United States


Trump’s campaign team accused of dissuading African Americans from voting in 2016

Donald Trump’s digital campaign team tried to dissuade millions of African Americans from voting in the 2016 US presidential election, reporters with British television channel Channel 4 News accused in an investigation released Monday. The channel’s investigative journalists say they obtained a file used by the campaign team 4 years ago, which concerns nearly 200 million American voters, classified into different categories so that they can send them targeted ads on social networks.

Of these, more than 3.5 million African Americans have been placed in a category dubbed «dissuasion», with the aim of pushing them to abstain from voting, according to Channel 4 News. African Americans were far more likely than other communities to be targeted by this strategy, according to journalists who explain that in Georgia, for example, although blacks make up 32% of the population, they made up 61% of the membership. the category of voters to be dissuaded. “This strategy preceded a collapse of the black vote in key states like Wisconsin”, before Donald Trump’s final victory, underlines one of the investigators.

The Republican candidate’s 2016 digital campaign included a team from UK-based Cambridge Analytica, which had been accused by Channel 4 and other media of collecting and exploiting personal data of Facebook users without their consent. political purposes. Brad Parscale, Trump’s digital campaign manager in 2016, assured his team had not targeted black voters. “I would say I’m almost 100% sure we didn’t run any campaigns that targeted African Americans.”, he told reporters at PBS Frontline. But Channel 4 News investigators say they saw a confidential document in which Cambridge Analytica admits targeting African Americans.

Channel 4 News also cites negative advertisements intended to discourage the vote for Hillary Clinton such as videos, in which the Democratic candidate describes black youth as “Super predators”, videos viewed millions of times on Facebook. Quoted by Channel 4 News, Jamal Watkins, vice president of the NAACP, the leading African-American civil rights organization, said to himself “Shocked” and “trouble” by these revelations. “We use data similar to a voter register but to motivate, persuade and encourage people to participate. We don’t use data to tell who we can discourage. It seems, fundamentally, to be a change from the notion of democracy ”, he reacted.


Pompeo in Greece to calm tensions in the eastern Mediterranean

By Le Figaro with AFP

Mike Pompeo is in Greece on Monday to encourage dialogue between Athens and Ankara.
Mike Pompeo is in Greece on Monday to encourage dialogue between Athens and Ankara. GIANNIS PAPANIKOS / AFP

The head of American diplomacy Mike Pompeo on Monday began talks in Greece aimed at promoting a “de-escalation»Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and encourage an emerging dialogue between Athens and Ankara. The Secretary of State met with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece. No official press release was issued after the meeting.

Before this tour, a senior American official stressed the need for “de-escalation in the eastern Mediterranean“, Pointing out to reporters that Mike Pompeo had”expressed deep concern“. This official insisted on the need to “reduce the risk of accidents or incidents” and of “refrain from any unilateral measure that stirs up tensions“, Urging Greece and Turkey to”come to an agreement».

The head of American diplomacy also wants “support recent positive developments and the prospect of a resumption of dialogueAdded the senior official.

Tensions have been high for weeks between Athens and Ankara, which are fighting over hydrocarbon deposits in the Mediterranean. The two member countries of the Atlantic Alliance, like the United States, however, announced the imminent resumption of bilateral negotiations. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday at the UN to “give a chanceTo diplomacy at a time when the two countries seem to have chosen appeasement.

Washington «encourages all states to resolve maritime delimitation issues peacefully and in accordance with international law“, Underlined the senior American official.


15% of severe forms explained by genetic and immune abnormalities

By Le Figaro with AFP

Nearly 15% of severe forms of Covid-19 are explained by genetic and immune abnormalities leading to the failure of a powerful antiviral molecule, naturally produced by the body in the event of infection, according to the work of a French team -american.

This discovery could make it possible to screen people at risk of developing a severe form and to better treat them, according to the researchers. This research, which specifically points to a defect affecting proteins of the immune system, type 1 interferons (IFNs), are detailed in two articles published by the American journal Science.

Form of autoimmune disease

«This is a defect in the production or action of type 1 interferons», Underlines Professor Jean-Laurent Casanova (Imagine Institute, Paris and Rockefeller University in New York). Researchers have demonstrated in some patients genetic abnormalities (mutations of 13 genes) which decrease the production of type I IFNs (3-4% of severe forms).

They also identified in other patients aged 25 to 87 years a form of autoimmune disease, in this case the presence at very high levels in the blood of misdirected antibodies, called autoantibodies. . These neutralize the anti-viral action of type 1 IFNs (in at least 10% of severe forms of Covid) instead of attacking the virus.

This anomaly affects more men than women, according to the study, while autoimmune diseases (dysfunction of the immune system that causes it to attack some of its normal constituents) generally affect women much more. . The study also suggests that the frequency of these antibodies increases with age. Prof. Casanova led this research with Prof. Laurent Abel (Imagine Institute / Inserm), in collaboration with Helen Su from the American National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID / NIH).