Iran’s response to the coronavirus is just making everything worse

Sources in the capital, meanwhile, tell me that they believe the infection rate is significantly higher than what is being reported. They say a large number of people are displaying symptoms of the coronavirus but are choosing to stay home rather than risk infecting colleagues.

One source told me that five of the seven employees in his office have had flu symptoms over the past week. Three of them have quarantined themselves at home. The others continue to work as usual. None, though, have gone to be tested. Their primary fear is that if they don’t already have the coronavirus, they might become infected at the hospital.

Trust in the health-care system — long one of the Islamic Republic’s most successful institutions — is waning.

International sanctions against Iran’s economy has led to shortages of essential medicines; official mismanagement and corruption have aggravated the problem. Yet Iranians have never blamed doctors.