Iran's Deputy Health Minister Tests Positive for Coronavirus After Government Tells Citizens Not to Panic

Despite some of the trappings of a modern society, Iran is still essentially a Third-World country. This makes them particularly susceptible to epidemics like the coronavirus that is sweeping the world.

Misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies told by the government are not helping the situation. Tehran announced that there were 95 cases of the virus across the country, but 16 people had died of it. That's a staggering mortality rate of 16.8 percent -- 7 times higher than the mortality rate in Wuhan. Disease experts concluded that the number of cases in Iran is far higher than authorities are letting on.

If the Iranians want to lie to their own people, that's their business. But their lies must be placed in the context of a worldwide epidemic that health authorities are losing control of. Information -- accurate and complete -- is absolutely vital if the damage from this virus is to be contained.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani scolded citizens for rumor-mongering and spreading false information about the virus. About an hour later, it was revealed that Iran's deputy health minister had tested positive for the virus.

Iranians traveling overseas have also tested positive for the virus, which deepens the mystery about how bad it already is in Iran and how much worse it's going to get. One thing is certain: Iran's health care infrastructure is not prepared.

CCN:

The main problem of the virus outbreak is that it affects a large number of individuals within a short time frame, which makes it difficult to treat every person that is infected with the virus.

In severe cases, coronavirus can trigger an overreaction from the immune system. Because it is the first time the human body meets the newly found virus, the immune system tries to overload the virus, which causes harm to the human body.

In such a case, individuals have to be rushed to the hospital and be treated swiftly. But, when there are a lack of equipment, resources, and medical centers to deal with the outbreak, the fatality rate can increase substantially.

According to one outspoken lawmaker, the government seems more concerned with hiding the severity of the crisis than in dealing with it.

Associated Press:

“I think the performance of the administration in controlling the virus has not been successful,” Farahani said, referring to the government of President Hassan Rouhani. His comments represent the most public criticism levied yet against the government for its handling of the virus, which originated in China in December.

“None of the nurses have access to proper protective gear,” Farahani said, adding that some health care specialists had left the city. “So far, I have not seen any particular action to confront corona by the administration.”

Donald Trump has asked Congress for $2.5 billion to address the epidemic in the U.S., but anti-Trump contrarians are claiming the money is not enough and Trump should have asked for it weeks ago. Meanwhile, the grown-ups believe that $2.5 billion is fine for now and it makes sense to wait and see how bad it gets before Congress starts throwing money at the problem.

It's unclear what more, if anything, the world could have done to prevent the epidemic. While every community is taking precautions, including quarantines and widespread testing, it's likely that the virus will get out of control and infect a large percentage of the U.S. population.

Americans are just too mobile for any effective countermeasures to be taken. And while that mobility is one of our strengths as a nation, it will not serve us well in trying to contain the virus.