French Virus Deaths Jump With More Nursing Home Patients Counted

Rudy Ruitenberg

(Bloomberg) --

France reported 1,341 new deaths from the coronavirus after including a backlog of data from nursing homes, while the number of intensive-care patients declined for the first time since the outbreak began.

The 24-hour death toll increased to 12,210 and confirmed infections rose by 4,799 to 117,749, Jerome Salomon, head France’s public health agency, said at a briefing on Thursday.

The latest numbers included two days of data from nursing homes after health authorities blamed a technical issue for incomplete figures on Wednesday. France began reporting partial data from nursing homes this month, after underreporting the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in prior weeks.

The number of ICU patients in France fell for the first time, Salomon said.

“So we can hope for a leveling off, but it’s a very high leveling off,” Salomon said. “It remains to be confirmed in coming days.”

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday visited medical researchers in Paris and Marseille working on coronavirus treatments, including infectious-disease specialist Professor Didier Raoult, who has been treating patients with a combination of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin.

Macron will address the nation on Monday, as France approaches the April 15 date when lockdown measures are scheduled to end. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has said the confinement measures will probably be prolonged.

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