Coronavirus, COVID-19, has “officially” reached Iran. Two people are confirmed dead as the result of COVID-19 in Qom, 87miles south of Tehran, with population of more than 1,250,000. One of the patients has had no foreign travel history or prior existing conditions. There is no news about the second patient.
There were reports of cases in different cities but unfortunately like any other crisis, Islamic Republic regime has chosen to lie and deny everything. There are many reasons for this behavior which we’ll get to later on, but for now, I go through what we do know about the whole situation in Iran, specifically.
Prior to the 41st anniversary of 1979 IR revolution on Feb 11, unconfirmed reports came out about 35 cases of Coronavirus patients. In the leaked letter, there was request of stopping import of food and materials from China and all travels to/from the country. However, because regime wanted to avoid panic and maximum participation in their show of pro-regime demonstration, they denied everything. A few days later, another report said a few suspected patients were admitted in Gilan province, officials denied, again!
Two days ago, a letter was leaked from Interior Minister to the Health Minister stating that because Fri Feb 21 is the “election” day, following orders of the Supreme Leader and Supreme National Security Council, do not release any information about Coronavirus cases in the country. After this letter was circulated in social media, the Interior Ministry issued a statement denying the letter existed and said they would launch an investigation and bring the person posting it to justice!
Fast forward, morning of Feb 19, Ministry of Health Public Office confirmed two patients showing positive results for Coronavirus. A couple of hours later, they announced both of those people have died. Strange, right? Well, not really! According to the brother of one of these patients, he was admitted to the hospital a WEEK ago with respiratory issues. After 3 days, he gets worse and x-ray of the lungs show total lung failure. He is intubated and moved to ICU. The head of the ICU tells the brother, “we’ve had several cases like these, the prognosis is not good. I don’t know what kind of infection it is because it doesn’t respond to any antibiotic/antiviral.”
The brother tells the doctor, “but he hasn’t traveled anywhere and have no prior illness.” The doctor responds, neither did the other cases. When his condition deteriorates, he asks the doctor to test his brother for Coronavirus. The doctor says, “we haven’t done this test before.” He orders the test and it comes back positive, this morning!
Now imagine, 7 days in a hospital, not quarantined, in contact with family members, other patients, hospital staff,… and each of those people in touch with their families and it goes on and on! This would be the case for all the other “cases” they hadn’t diagnosed in the past few days. This is a crisis which nobody has been ready for or even trained for in most hospitals in Iran. This is a catastrophe in the making and needs immediate attention.
If you have a question how they could attract Coronavirus with no history of traveling to China, there are a couple of reasons. Iran never stopped import/export of food or other materials. They also never stopped flights to/from China. The regime actually started a program expanding tourism to Chinese, believe it or not.
Following the news, security forces were sent to Qom, Forghani Hospital is designated for suspected patients and we still don’t know what is going to happen next!
With the media in control of the regime, they would publish any news that suits them, just like what’s happening in China, citizen reports are what we have to rely on.