How Covid-19 spread through France while doctors' warnings were ignored

By , , Alexander Abdelilah, Guillaume Krempp and Robert Schmidt (We Report)

The number of people infected by the Covid-19 virus in France had already reached epidemic proportions in February, weeks before the lockdown on public movement was introduced, this investigation by Mediapart reveals. Research now being carried out by doctors even suggests that the very first cases of the coronavirus appeared in the country in mid-November of last year. But the restrictive measures limiting testing for the virus hid the reality of its propagation, which has to date claimed more than 28,000 lives.

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It was on January 28th that Lucie (not her real name), who worked in a chartered accountant’s practice in central France, first complained of feeling tired. She had developed a cough, suffered headaches and had lost her sense of taste. Three days later she consulted her family doctor, whose diagnostic was that she had contracted a severe form of flu, and told her to rest.