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U.S., Britain and Other ‘Populist’ Nations Mishandled Pandemic, Study Says

  • Excess mortality more than twice as high in those countries
  • Governments less likely to impose ‘unpopular’ contact curbs
The Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, Missouri, U.S..

The Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, Missouri, U.S..

Photographer: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg

The U.S., Britain, Brazil and other nations with “populist” governments mishandled the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and caused unnecessary deaths with relatively lenient policies, according to an academic research paper.

Excess mortality -- the number of deaths beyond those that could be expected without the pandemic -- was more than twice as high on average in populist-governed countries, Michael Bayerlein, a researcher at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and one of the authors of the paper, said Thursday in a press release.