World News: Coronavirus, Soothsayers, and the Birth of Gurus

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The Coronavirus has spawned many psychological phenomenon’s, respected pundits venturing into territories unknown reading the tea leaves of the times, based on seasons of yesteryear, new leaders, soothsayers and gurus presenting miracles and peace to a frightened population.

The popularity of the researcher Didier Raoult turns into a social phenomenon where mistrust and admiration mix. A practitioner in a hurry for recognition or a seasoned doctor, man does not leave indifferent to the point of fascinating ... or annoying.

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Man has gone from being a doctor unknown to the general public to being a savior, and frankly, a guru. Professor Raoult, so discreet before the start of the coronavirus crisis, was suddenly elevated to the rank of savior of Humanity because he claimed, and still claims, to hold the drug, the miracle molecule capable of curing everyone of covid-19: chloroquine. Since then, a number of studies have come to confirm, refute or balance the experiments carried out by the professor from Marseille.

However, the enthusiasm, even the almost iconic fervor, which surrounds this charismatic doctor looking like a hippie lost in the 21st century, is not without questioning the phenomenon of devotion which nourishes the image of the practitioner.

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Our era, visibly lacking in reference points, seems, for a section of the population in any case, to have found a guru, removed from the narrow shackles of medical research and ready to put its discovery at the service of the common good. Didier Raoult is not the only one to have inherited this aura. Greta Thunberg, in her own way, could also very well be awarded the title.

Humanism and the Opposite

It is true that this position, which some would describe as humanist, even demagogic, alongside the superpower of pharmaceutical laboratories launched in a race to discover a vaccine, slices and surprises, so as not to not say annoying. Does this mean, however, that, in front of him, Professor Raoult embodies a form of candor and disinterestedness such that they push the individual towards an extraordinary popularity?

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Everyone will bring their answer to one of their convictions but it is clear that there is indeed a Raoult phenomenon. Between Zorro and Jean Valgean, Professor Raoult sails in the murky waters of an anti-system that seduces with its freshness, its cheeky opposite to a distrustful scientific community and a distraught political class.

So ? Guru or not? The question remains unanswered because, given the magnitude of the pandemic and its dangers, it would be advisable not to speculate on anything, especially not on the effects of a molecule. But Professor Raoult, whom his popularity does not seem to move beyond measure, faithful to his convictions, illustrates in his own way a medical rebellion which contrasts with the scientific doxa often absconse and incomprehensible for the general public.

And this may be where the crux of the problem lies. Man has used a molecule known for a long time to fight against a virus which is certainly new but which is not invincible either

Logorrhea and Interrogation

Clearly, he has dramatized, tried at least, a health crisis just as anxious by its nature as by the political and media treatment that has been proposed. Lulled by an agonizing logorrhea made up of strong words such as war, confinement, mask, contagion and other social distancing, Didier Raoult shook the heavy and deadly atmosphere of an unknown crisis. Did he want to be reassuring?

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Only he can say it but it is clear that his assertions on the effects of chloroquine have moved, including at the top of the state, President Macron splitting in April of an interview of almost three hours with the providential man. And the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, even seizing the High Council of Public Health following the revelations from the Lancet.

What should we think of this modern day hero? The question remains. One thing is certain, however, guru or not, if Didier Raoult steps on water, turns water into wine and multiplies rolls, then he will have surpassed guru status! As for chloroquine ...?


Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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