People really are driven by herding instincts. As long as they are comfortable they will believe anything and cooperate with authority totally. Make them uncomfortable and they won’t believe anything and will stop cooperating.
In herd living there is a particular universal transaction people make throughout their lives. They trade freedom for comfort. The population here is extremely comfortable and a big part of that is that they have bargained away their freedom. When they become uncomfortable all hell is going to break loose.