Iran – druga fala

Iran – druga fala

A second wave in Iran

 

Iran, a country hit early and hard by the virus, is in the midst of a second wave.
The country’s health ministry announced today that it had reached 20,000 deaths from the virus, but health experts inside and outside Iran, and even members of the Iranian Parliament, suggest that the number may be many times higher.

 

To understand what’s going on, we spoke to our colleague Farnaz Fassihi, who covers Iran for The Times. She painted a picture of an outbreak still out of control.
What’s the situation in the country?

 

It’s very bad. It’s in the thick of a second surge worse than the first one in March. The majority of provinces, including the capital, Tehran, are “red zones.” Doctors are saying hospitals and I.C.U. beds are full. At the same time, there are some restrictions for public gatherings but, generally, it’s open for business.
Even by the government’s own numbers, cases are on the rise. What happened?

 

They opened too soon. When the virus first arrived in the country, they closed down for just two weeks during the New Year holiday in mid-March. They didn’t meet any of the benchmarks when they reopened. There’s no contact tracing. There’s no quarantine.
What are Iranians feeling?

 

In the early months, people were very scared. They were self-isolating and staying home and not sending their kids to school, even when the schools were still open. But I think as time has passed, like a lot of places, we see that people are becoming more reckless.
There’s also a nuanced dynamic here. This is a government that for 40 years has told people what to do, how to dress, how to behave — and many people’s mind-set is to always defy what the government says. So now, when there’s a pandemic, and the government tells them, “Stay home, wear a mask,” they’re like: “No. We don’t trust you. And you don’t tell us what to do.”

 

And so for Iran, I think the challenge to contain a pandemic may be greater than it is for other countries because the government is dealing with 70 million people whose default mode is to defy it.

 

Alex

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