Iran Played Down the Coronavirus. Then Its Officials Got Sick | NYT News

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In the town of Rasht,
a funeral procession for a doctor who died
of coronavirus. In Qeshm, protesters block a
checkpoint because they fear letting in clerics
coming from an infected area. And in a cemetery in Qom,
a burial is taking place. The man filming
provides commentary. Qom is the city where Iran’s first
coronavirus cases appeared. Though authorities expressed
little concern for days, and now, it appears workers
are digging trenches for mass graves. Iran says at least 237
people have died. It’s one of the highest
death tolls outside of China. How did this happen? At key moments officials
made serious missteps, and failed to take
protective measures. On Feb. 19, the
first coronavirus deaths are reported in Iran in
the religious city of Qom. But victims likely
contracted the virus weeks earlier, and in a
city full of holy sites the visitors touch and kiss, that could have
helped spread it. Iran’s health ministry
did ask the city to close the shrines, but
it was never enforced. So people continued to
visit them. Two days after the deaths
in Qom, Iran held nationwide
parliamentary elections. But out at polling stations, there was little
sign of a nation on the brink of an epidemic. No one was wearing
gloves or masks, and there was lots
of close contact. Officials tried
in the days that followed to calm the public. But their efforts
were undercut by bizarre appearances. Here’s Iran’s deputy
health minister, Iraj Harirchi, on state TV saying
things were under control. But throughout
the presser, he was sweating, coughing and
dismissing common-sense prevention methods. Harirchi went on TV a
second time that day, making jokes about
proper coughing protocol. But the next day, Harirchi
announced on social media that he, himself, had
contracted the virus. This shocking turn of events put Iran’s mismanagement
of the epidemic on international display. “People in Iran are panicking.” “Well, now he’s become
part of the story because he’s got the virus.” President Hassan Rouhani then
tried to pin the spreading virus on Iran’s enemies. It took officials nine days
after the first coronavirus death to cancel Friday prayers,
where large groups typically gather. Meanwhile, high-profile
cases started appearing. At least 23 lawmakers now have the virus. A vice president
announces that she, too, has the coronavirus —
just days prior, here she is sitting
near President Rouhani. Then on March 1, a close
aide of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, dies
of coronavirus. Shortly after, the government
ordered all schools and universities to shut
down, and Khamenei tries to rewrite history. Iran is finally putting
tougher measures in place. But by letting the virus
get out of hand, officials turned their country
into an epicenter.


  1. Hi I'm Nilo, I reported and produced this video where we tracked the timeline of Iran's coronavirus response. If you want more information about coronavirus, go to our live briefing here:

  2. We have our medicine here but money is no value for us pur medicine only for our family, friend and put people. Even we lost our factory but we cannot lost life for our family, friend and relatives.

    For everything have always times need to pay sometimes money we can earned but this time peoples life. Good for USA citizen who lough before in wuhan hubei province now we are more safe country and better for any country our medicine we take our self to save people life here. All foreigner run away want to come back here you need to consult the nearest embassy are not allowed to enter china for all chinese run away now want to come back here in hubei you need to pay money for your quarantine.if your are positive during quarantine period you pay your self. Govertment dont pay you.

  3. What about USA inhumane Sanctions which is halting Iran to import essentials.
    Now the COVID 19 is a global emergency declared Pandemic threat, and the whole world nations must cooperate together irrespective of their region or Politics.

  4. It’s painful to see this level of stupidity – imagine… these are the best of the best.. the leaders.

  5. It's interesting how they are all downplaying the virus saying carry on as usual. Odd too how they're now blaming each other. Add, it's odd how Trump said "one day it'll all be gone, like poof". Rubio had an interesting comment, something close to "we let it go too far", not too long, but too far. There is a difference.

  6. You think us Government and circus clown did (Not) played down with lies. ??? How about Real Truth 360…

  7. Isn't it a jew and islamist religious tradition to lick dead bodies clean before being buried. I hope the carry on that lovely tradition, something extremely good will happen if they do that.

  8. politic do no help on Corona Virus,Malaysia Politic turmoil end at right time as King step in and try to save Malaysia from this kinda situation hope fully not too late

  9. What do u expect from Iran? If COVID-19 is not in their bible, of course this is caused by their enemies spreading fear and chaos to their society. Meanwhile, their whole country will get sick coz they cannot challenge their dear leaders. Science and religion – not a good mix when global pandemic strikes.

  10. You would think that with Irans massive praying power that Allah would to sort it very quickly but as all non-religious people know, praying doesn't work 🙂

  11. Iranians are a great people, but find it hard to figure out how their leaders got the virus unless they were secretly in China.Iran's enemies are at fault, really, the only enemies the leaders have is themselves.

  12. In Iran the only reason for Corona spreading is the regime of Iran and millions of Iranians know this as they do know value their lives and are totally incompetent to run a county. This is one more example of many things that are wrong in Iran and the people have to pay for it but in this case the virus has no merci on the officials on themselves. Every time the regime does more to destroy Iran and people's lives they blame it on outsiders. This is false. If it was so great in Iran millions 'd not have left and so many would not be protesting over and over under an incompetent dicatorship.

  13. Who has taken the satellite images of the cemetery and why?
    How is it possible we are spending money for spy prgrams like this and we do not have money for tests in new york city? What is wrong with us?

  14. Virus 🦠 it’s not any Lord mercy doesn’t matter who you are or what’s you believe in they will attack you to the end

  15. All you have to do is change "enemies " to "Democrats" and Rouhani's comments are nearly identical to Trump's.

  16. This video is for the idiots who keep saying the Coronavirus will not spread or survive in hot weather.

  17. I find the parallels between Iran's leaders handling of Covid19 virus and misleading comments to the public exactly the same from President Trump interesting.
    What does that say about Trump and where our country is headed with this virus ?
    One look at Iran gives the answer.

  18. Harirchi is like denying that ur drunk in front of your dad when obviously ur dad don't believe u 😂😂😂

  19. (The TRUTH about the coronavirus and what they are NOT telling you).

  20. Mass Graves in Iran to bury those that are "culled" dissidents ??????? It is in China.. All deaths under the guise of the man-made virus….

  21. the Iranian rogue regime continues to misreport the numbers of the coronavirus cases, death
    Khamenei is proven to be a serial liar and he lost his credibility internally and abroad…the Iranian ordinary citizen think the reign of Khamenei poses a greater threat than the coronavirus at present time

  22. It is amazing to see this article coming from the NYT , considering that they were promoting the Iranian regime while selling organized tours to Iran.

  23. I tried not to, but I did. I saw the other comments. What a bunch of sheep. Stop fear-mongering. This is a flu. Treat it like a Flu. Buy Gatorade. It's as simple as keeping hydrated with enough electrolytes. I'm sure there are other sources, but Gatorade works and is sold in large amounts. It's pretty irresponsible of the New York Times not to explain to their watchers how to take care of a parent or loved-one who is sick with the flu and the doctor has no time to see them today. Which is normal everywhere on earth.

  24. Sounds like Spanish Flu to me. The world down played that to and look how many people died all around the world.

  25. 🇨🇳Chinese communist party doing well in control the coronavirus ,all human in the world should give a big thanks to the greatest leader chairman Xi

  26. This Wuhan Flu is so scary, and this is the second time a deadly sickness is coming from China, when are they going to in force some rules that prevent this ?

  27. SARS stands for Saudi Arabia respiratory syndrome true story look it up I breathed on this text so now you have it

  28. Soleimani BBQ’d. Ukranian airliner turkeyshoot. Prominent perspiring Persian politicians passing-away. It’s been a Shi’ite💩🇮🇷2020 so far for the Iranian thugocracy😜

  29. Ok, and how much have the sanctions by the U.S contributed to these deaths? How about reporting on all contrubting factors.

  30. I realize that when a virus is developed in any other it is given the name of the area which the virus is found ( Ebola -Ebola river, Spanish flu-Spain, Zika-country in Africa) but when it comes to China the media gives the virus some fancy name. SARS and Covid19. No let’s start a movement and attach this virus to Wuhan by using the hashtag #Wuhanviruschina whenever mentioning this global epidemic. Start the movement now

  31. I bet few years down the road Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Western domocrazys will cry war crimes at Iran and use these mass graves as examples of how the Iranian government has killed thousands. Remember the Vietnam War? 99% of everything Americans said about Vietnamese Communists are not true. USA used death attributed common flu in Vietnam as "Communists killed those innocent civilians". Mark my words, COVID-19 may lead to more wars in the name of domo-crazy!

  32. "We are on the verge of a global transformation, all we need is the right MAJOR CRISIS and the nations will accept THE NEW WORLD ORDER" David Rockefeller

  33. Just like trump played down covid19, then all innocent Americans will get sick but declared as seasonal flu, not covid19

  34. Pandemic is a disaster for leaders in China, US, NK, Iran lies make it worse but they all have nuke shelters so what do they care

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