Covid lesson: Trust the public with hard truths

March 2023

Of the many fears during the pandemic, one has been particularly pernicious: governments’ fear of their people. Former US president Donald Trump admitted to playing down the risks of the coronavirus to “reduce panic”. Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, blamed the press for causing “hysteria”. The UK government delayed its lockdown, fearing the British population would rapidly become fatigued by restrictions. And, in my home country of Denmark, the authorities tried not to draw public attention to pandemic preparations in early 2020, to avoid “unnecessary fear”.

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