Countries without government trust have performed badly in #COVID19, even when you account for differences in population age and size, and the timing of the pandemic

New analysis in @ForeignAffairs via @samckiernan, Sawyer Crosby @IHME_UW, and me 1/
“Government exists to protect us from each other,” Reagan once said, but goes “beyond its limits . . . in deciding to protect us from ourselves”

When applied to pandemics, Reagan was wrong & so are policymakers, in esp. in US, who have adopted this view
Confronted w/novel contagious virus, for which there's no effective treatment & no preexisting immunity, the only way to protect citizens from one another is by convincing them to protect themselves

Esp. in free societies that depends on trust between government and its people
Government trust assumes an outsize role when threat is new to a population that does not already perceive itself as vulnerable 7/
In #COVID19, many of successful nations have direct experience with past coronavirus outbreaks, such as SARS or MERS, or recent history high level of endemic infectious disease

An already high risk perception relies less on government to convey risk 8/
For everyone else, public trust an the honest, full appraisal of risk from government & its leaders clearly matters 9/
The good news is that can be earned in crisis

A government builds & maintains that trust by issuing science-based advice and timely, honest assessment of risk

Again, we saw with Ebola 10/
The US government has long known this, which is why this statement existed in USG 2006 pandemic plan 11/
Past surveys had found most trusted sources of information in a health crisis were @CDCgov officials, followed by state and local public health officials, with elected officials typically least trusted 12/
And, President Trump was retweeting things like this from his twitter account 14/
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