Demonstrators during anti-government protests in Basra, Iraq, December 2020 
Essam al-Sudani / Reuters

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many feared that the disease would hit the world’s poorest countries the hardest—that cases would overwhelm hospitals, health-care workers would run out of equipment and supplies, and the death toll would be devastating. Those eventualities, thankfully, have not yet come to pass. From available data, there appear to be fewer deaths per capita in low- and middle-income countries than in their richer counterparts.

But developing countries may have suffered more from the pandemic economically and politically than they have in the realm of public health. A recent International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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