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The Lancet, which is perhaps the world’s most influential medical journal and is the one that concentrated immediately on, and has concentrated the longest on, the coronavirus-19 pandemic, headlined an editorial on July 25th, “COVID-19 and China: lessons and the way forward”, and they opened:
China has largely controlled COVID-19. A country of 1.4 billion people and a size similar to Europe or the USA now reports only clusters of cases rather than widespread community transmission. China has been widely criticised for its role and responsibilities during the pandemic because of censorship, transparency, and human rights concerns. But the rest of the world can still learn from China’s successes in bringing its outbreak under control.
They said that the first lesson to be learned from China’s remarkably successful response to the Covid-19 challenge is “China’s response shows the importance of domestic research and public health capacity.” The Chinese Government has devoted “huge investments” to public health, which left the nation “much better prepared.”
A second lesson is that a robust foundation of research cannot guarantee effective control without strong top-level political commitment to use science to tackle the outbreak decisively. Governments and their leaders must respect science, understand its value, and act on it in a way that is best for society. China’s National Health Commission sent three groups of national infectious disease experts to Wuhan at the beginning of the outbreak to investigate the risks and transmission of COVID-19, and their recommendations informed the decision to lockdown Wuhan on Jan 23. When Chen Wang, president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and colleagues saw the need for Fangcang shelter hospitals, the government was quick to respond.
Third, achieving rapid and effective implementation of control measures for COVID-19 requires broad community engagement. Community solidarity has been unprecedented during the COVID-19 outbreak in China. Control measures that could sacrifice individual freedom, like mandatory mask-wearing in public areas, were accepted readily by the public.
They conclude: “China is facing legitimate questions in many areas of its domestic and foreign policy, but when it comes to COVID-19, scapegoating China for the pandemic is not a constructive response.”
Nothing is said there about the performance of other countries.
According to the available statistics, here are the world’s most-successful countries at dealing with the coronavirus-19 crisis. Some of these nations are in civil wars which cause few people to want to visit them; some aren’t much participating in international trade and therefore have little traffic with foreigners; some are terribly poor and therefore have almost no tourist industry, others might soon burst out with soaring increases in cases or deaths. But some of these countries are just doing a spectacularly outstanding job of protecting their populations, vastly better than are countries such as the United States, which has 12,763 coronavirus-19 cases per million inhabitants and 447 coronavirus-19 deaths per million inhabitants, thus far. ONLY COUNTRIES WITH 5 MILLION+ PEOPLE ARE BEING CONSIDERED HERE:
Laos=3, Papua=4, Vietnam=4, Myanmar=6, Tanzania=9, Cambodia=12, Taiwan=19, Uganda=14, Angola=27, Burundi=29, Syria=35, Niger=46, Thailand=47, Burkina Faso=51, Mozambique=51, Chad=56, Yemen=56, China=58, DRC=98, Togo=100, Ethiopia=110, Jordan=112, Tunisia=120, Mali=123, Sri Lanka=129, Rwanda=132, Benin=140, Zimbabwe=143, Malawi=177, Nigeria=189, S. Sudan=200, Zambia=209, Japan=214, Cuba=218, Sierra Leone=219, Liberia=224, Sudan=257, S. Korea=273, Malaysia=274, Kenya=302, N.Z.=311, Madagascar=315, Hong Kong=316, Libya=336, Indonesia=349, Slovakia=388, Greece=397, Hungary=455, Venezuela=479, Lebanon=499, Morocco=510, Guinea=518, Nicaragua=519, Australia=533, Congo=550, Senegal=562, Ivory Coast=568, Uzbekistan=573, Paraguay=576, Algeria=596, Cameroon=629, Nepal=630, Haiti=631, Philippines=697, Tajikistan=744, Egypt=883, Afghanistan=923, India=968, Ghana=976
0=Cambodia, Laos, Papua, Vietnam
0.4=Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania
2=DRC, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Syria, Togo, Zimbabwe
3=Benin, Burkina Faso, China, Guinea, Madagascar, Niger, Uzbekistan
4=Malawi, Malaysia, Ivory Coast, N.Z., Nigeria, S. Sudan, Tunisia
5=Australia, Chad, Ghana, Kenya, Paraguay, Singapore, Slovakia, Venezuela
6=Mali, Somalia, S. Korea, Tajikistan
8=Cuba, Japan Libya, Morocco, Sierra Leone
16=Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Sudan, Yemen
17=Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.