Several governments have come under fire for their handling of the pandemic. Criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration as well as governments in Brazil and India, for example, have grown in recent months. This may be deserved, but it is important to understand the tragic significance and ramifications of the coverups by authoritarian regimes during the virus’ early days. The evidence is compelling that some governments, such as China and Iran, have buried, denied, or distorted evidence of the pandemic from its critical beginnings to the present day. These governments in particular have pursued political advantage at the cost of the health and safety of their own citizens and the world.