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Male Leadership Malpractice

Summary:
The timing and intensity of the US, Brazilian, and Indian responses to COVID-19 may have varied, but the results have been the same: the world’s highest numbers of infections. Their leaders’ authoritarian personalities and divisive policies have a lot to do with it. NEW DELHI – The United States, Brazil, and India have surged ahead of the rest of the world in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with no peak in sight. They (and fourth-place Russia) have one thing in common: macho leaders with authoritarian personalities. How to Prevent the Looming Sovereign-Debt Crisis Teradat Santivivut/Getty Images

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The timing and intensity of the US, Brazilian, and Indian responses to COVID-19 may have varied, but the results have been the same: the world’s highest numbers of infections. Their leaders’ authoritarian personalities and divisive policies have a lot to do with it.

NEW DELHI – The United States, Brazil, and India have surged ahead of the rest of the world in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with no peak in sight. They (and fourth-place Russia) have one thing in common: macho leaders with authoritarian personalities.

There are notable differences in how these countries have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and US President Donald Trump have consistently downplayed the severity of the threat, and refused to take strong action.

More recently, Trump adjusted his stance somewhat, undoubtedly motivated by his falling approval rating. For example, he has begun wearing a mask in public, after months of refusing to do so – and ridiculing those who did. But he continues to undermine health experts with false and misleading claims. Bolsonaro, for his part, remains cavalier, even after having contracted (and recovered from) COVID-19.

By contrast, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed one of the world’s strictest – and most sudden – lockdowns, when only a few cases had been reported in the country. This probably partly explains why the rate of infections per million inhabitants is much lower than it is in the US or Brazil, though independent research suggests that official figures in both India and Brazil are far lower than the actual total.

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