To fear or not to fear: Conceptions of COVID-19 in Italy and Sweden
Is COVID-19 a super-contagious killer akin to Ebola in deadliness, or something more similar to a severe seasonal flu? In the course of the current pandemic, the populations of Italy and Sweden, informed by the media and public officials, have come to conceive of COVID-19 in strikingly different ways. This has influenced behavior and the ability of government authorities to manage the crisis in the two countries. In the first of a two-part interview, Prof. Giuliano di Baldassare—an Italian living in Sweden—explains how divergent conceptions of the coronavirus alternately facilitates and complicates crisis management depending on where on the curve a country is.