The pandemic that hit planet Earth in 2020 was not only a major test of national health systems , but also of global democracies . The way in which this or that state have managed and reported the virus has proved to be a fundamental parameter for judging democratic quality, in the sense of transparency and responsibility towards citizens. And several months after the spread of the virus, it can be said that the balance is anything but positive. From one part of the globe to the other it has been a continuous game of mystifications, coverages, underestimating the problem, often not for incompetence but for the need to protect one’s work. And the picture that emerges is that state transparency is an exception rather than the rule.
In the past few hours, it was discovered that Iran would hide real coronavirus data. According to the BBC , the deaths would be about three times those reported. As of July 20, the bulletins spoke of 14,405 deaths but the documents that have emerged now say that almost 42 thousand people would have lost their lives for the virus. Even on the infections, the official numbers differ from those that emerged from the BBC documents: the latter speak of 451,024 cases compared to the 278,827 officially communicated. The Ali Khamenei regime also allegedly lied on the day of the first death, which was not February 19 but January 22. When Iran officially communicated its first death to Covid-19, it knew that 52 people had already died.
The documents arriving from Iran would also be surprising if they were not yet another case of this type . From the outset it was clear that China, Covid-19’s first major outbreak, has kept a lot of information covered about it. The journalists sent by the regime in key places to tell the greatness of emergency management, physicians who denounced the situation out of control that were effectively silenced, the purges against local leaders as a way to cover up the mistakes made by the central government. Even the WHO last June revealed the existence of a series of official documents that recognize how China has deliberately hidden, underestimated and delayed the communication of a whole series of important information.
Then there is the Brazil of denial Bolsonaro , which has decided to no longer communicate cumulative data on the number of infections and deaths, but just the data for the previous 24 hours. A way to complicate the access of the population, but also of the scientific community and international organisations, to fundamental information, in a country that is among the most tormented by the pandemic and therefore has chosen to sacrifice transparency as a form of self-protection. And then again, North Korea , where judging by the regime communication it would seem that Covid-19 does not exist or almost does not exist; the United States, with Donald Trump committed more to building a new conspiracy thesis every day than to telling its citizens the real state of affairs; Orban’s Hungary , which exploited the pandemic to complete its project of taking full powers, in this case playing upward with real numbers to create a state of alert functional to its dictatorial will.
In one way or another, in short, Covid-19 has given way to regimes around the world to be able to show themselves at their best, indeed at their worst. The denialists, the conspiracy theorists, the mystifiers have got the better of who has set up his communication on the basis of transparency and all this, in the end, has offered a very dark photograph of the state of democracies in the world. The health emergency has revealed the existence of an equally emergency, the democratic one. And once again the citizens were the victims, victims of the virus but also of the management of the virus by their governors.