Dealing with a Pandemic, continued

In continuation of yesterday’s post, here are a few more answers to the question: What are the opinions that you are hearing in your country of how your government has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic?

Evening traffic outside St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia on 24 March, 2020 (left) versus the same intersection on 26 March, 2020 (right) after quarantine began.

 

 

Jessie Labov, Budapest, Hungary

The Hungarian government’s strategy seems to be not to test anybody, even if they have very obvious symptoms of the virus, unless they are in need of hospitalization. As a result, we have an artificially low number of diagnosed cases and a fatality rate of 10-12%. They followed the same arc of population control that you see in the rest of the region, but with a lot less enforcement than Poland (where police actually stop people in the streets and ask where they are going), and a lot less buy-in than Czech Republic (where masks are required in public and people are sewing them all night and some are even handing them out for free). In general, people seem satisfied with the government’s response, safety-wise, but very cynical about the abuse of political power coming down the road. One interesting detail: Hungarians (in my opinion) were relatively quick to understand what was at stake and make the conscious choice to act in the interest of the collective social body. A marked difference from the US. I wonder whether that is a European thing, a hangover from the socialist era, both, or neither.

Ann Merrill, Kyiv, Ukraine

There has been quite mixed reactions to the quarantine in Ukraine. The first couple of weeks, people really didn’t take it seriously, but by now (week 5) most people seem to understand the importance of physical distance to stop the spread. The economic impact is really hard for the vast majority of Ukrainians who live hand-to-mouth already or have very little savings.

Tatiana Shchytssova, Vilnius, Lithuania

The government of my country (Belarus), strictly following its authoritarian president, tries to ignore the pandemic and shows catastrophic helplessness accompanied by concealing true information about the number of infected people and the deceased. In social and independent media, the level of criticism in this regard is very high, but it seems to have no influence on the attitude of officials.

 

<<Next Monday, June 1st, we will learn about different groups who are most vulnerable to the virus.

 

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