Twigg: Populist leaders responded to public pressure to reopen economies and societies, and sure enough, the virus found its way in

PONARS Eurasia
21 Oct 2020

(Washington Post) As the coronavirus pandemic surges worldwide once again, some countries that avoided the worst of the first wave have experienced a spike in cases for the first time.

The late surges are most acute in parts of Central and Eastern Europe, where countries praised for low case numbers over the summer are grappling with some of the highest rates of infection in the world. Some countries in Latin America, South Asia and the Middle East have seen the same. [...]

In some cases, the resurgence of the virus appeared to come down to political factors. Judyth Twigg, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who specializes in global health, pointed to public fatigue in the face of government restrictions in the Czech Republic and other parts of Europe.

"These countries put strict lockdowns in place back in the spring precisely because they knew their health-care systems couldn’t handle a surge of moderate or severe cases,” Twigg said. “But as the months dragged on, populist leaders responded to public pressure to reopen economies and societies, and sure enough, the virus found its way in.” [...]

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