The coronavirus pandemic has led to a great deal of faulty reporting. It is almost impossible to take the numbers that are being presented with the utmost seriousness because we all know deep down that more people are infected than what’s being reported. Numerous countries are going through these types of reporting difficulties as we speak and Iran is one of them.
An Atlantic piece has already claimed that the number of infections that are taking place in Iran is actually higher than the reported number. According to a Washington Post report, the city of Qom (where the infection originated) has been forced to dig massive burial pits to cope with the number of deaths that are taking place.
The pits are large enough to be visible from space. Iranian state television is now issuing a very dire warning to their citizens: please comply with the health advisories that are being made. If citizens are not willing to cooperate, the death tolls could reach into the millions.
Dr. Afruz Eslami is responsible for passing the figures along. They have been sourced from Tehran’s prestigious Sharif University of Technology. If full cooperation takes place now, Iran could limit the death toll to 12,000. Medium cooperation would lead to 110,000 deaths. A lack of cooperation could cause up to 3.5 million deaths.
Iran’s medical system is already experiencing a massive strain. Medical facilities cannot handle millions of cases and that’s why full cooperation is necessary at times like these. The country is making an about face when it comes to the handling of this crisis. The nation’s officials have come under fire for minimizing the level of risk that their citizens were experiencing.
اين عكس دقيقا امروز است، بله امروز، از بازار بزرگ تهران و واقعيتش من حتى ذرهای هم این مردم را مقصر نمیدانم.
این کارنامه شکست همه سیاست ها و شعارها و برنامههای ستاد ملی #کرونا و دولت روحانی در مقابله با کرونا است .#كرونا_ما_را_شکست_میدهد pic.twitter.com/b0cUdzlqPn
— سيامک قاسمى (@SiamakGhassemi) March 17, 2020
There are some who believe that the worst case scenario figures are exaggerated. The fact that the state television network is willing to issue such a report speaks volumes, though. Iran is becoming more and more worried about the situation, rightfully so. Their medical system is already experiencing a sizable amount of strain and there is no telling what is going to happen next.
Qom’s public hospitals are going through a great deal of difficulty, as there are far too many patients who are in need of care. One of the laboratory scientists from these hospitals has admitted to breaking down into tears over the issue. The initial phase of the crisis revealed how unprepared the Iranians were for what was about to take place.
At least 25 people arrested (more to come) following clashes btw police and protesters in holy cities of Qom and Mashhad last night. Protesters were angry by seeing the closure of the shrines. They argue shrines must remain open, those fearful of spread of Covid19 don’t visit’em pic.twitter.com/ijNh01MW84
— Fereshteh Sadeghi فرشته صادقی (@fresh_sadegh) March 17, 2020
Protective gear was lacking and they do not have enough beds on hand for all of the patients who are in need. Regular masks were being used during the initial stages, which only served to exacerbate the spread of the virus. Qom hospitals cannot keep up with the demand and Iranian authorities are said to be tapping the phones of hospital personnel.
Iran finally shuts down Shia shrines today as coronavirus peaked in those cities.
Mobs of ultra hardliners break the doors in Mashhad & Qom, bypass the police & storm the shrines.
This appears organized.#کرونا https://t.co/ktb95Nezv9
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) March 16, 2020
The official numbers are powerless to communicate the depths of this disaster. Only 15,000 Iranians have been sickened by the coronavirus, according to the official calculations. Those who know better are well aware of the false numbers. There is no way that they are fully accurate. The aforementioned burial pits tell a much sadder story.
2/ Mobs storming the Masoumeh Shrine in Qom tonight, epicenter of coronavirus in Iran & from there it spread to rest of country & Middle East. pic.twitter.com/TFHbSfyI7X
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) March 16, 2020
The news is devastating but that has not stopped Iranian citizens from trying their best to maintain their normal schedules. This is the wrong approach to be taking at a time like this. If they are not willing to listen to the state department, the pandemic is only going to get worse before it gets better. The people are not fully to blame for what is taking place.
WATCH: “coronavirus antisemitism”
Cleric in Qom, Iran (Covid-19 epicenter in Iran) is angry a shrine is closed and addresses a crowd.
He says they shouldn’t follow @WHO, as they are a bunch of infidels and Jews! ✡️
— Siamak Kordestani (@SiaKordestani) March 17, 2020
The military and the Rouhani government have been squabbling over the best method for handling the pandemic. The strategic clashes are creating slower reaction times. Rouhani is expecting the armed forces to remain at his command but they are unwilling to adhere to his rule. Generals are refusing to carry out his orders and taking their marching orders from Khamenei instead.
Rouhani’s plans leave a lot to be desired. He wants to keep businesses open and does not wish to quarantine citizens. The religious aspect of the outbreak is also very difficult to quantify. Shrines have been slow to close down in the wake of the virus’ spread.
Religious leaders are encouraging worshipers to behave in this way because they do not have faith in the World Health Organization. According to these leaders, WHO does not have to be listened to because they are Jewish. If this country is unwilling to close their shrines, we are skeptical that they are going to listen to a doctor’s warnings on television.