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This article analyzes the French state authorities’ management of the COVID-19 epidemic between February and August 2020. It highlights the centralized and relatively disorganized nature of state interventions, which can be explained by longer-term institutional, political, and economic rationales. The blanket lockdown of the population, the central role given to hospitals, and their supply problems are also in large part down to the peculiarities of a national healthcare system that, despite recent organizational improvements, remains characterized by a biomedical and curative approach to health care in which industrial and technological independence are lacking.


  • France
  • COVID-19
  • state
  • healthcare system
  • hospital
  • health inequalities
  • health professionals
  • shortages of medical equipment
  • access to health care
  • lockdown
  • health emergency
Renaud Gay
Monika Steffen
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