I trust Dr. Leung in Hong Kong who I have followed since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic in January. Every country in the world isn’t as utterly dysfunctional as ours.
“Despite setbacks, Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s targeted strategies for fighting COVID-19 may yet succeed—and provide a model for other countries emerging from their first wave of cases. Until recently, the two cities had managed to keep their case numbers remarkably low while avoiding the extreme lockdowns implemented in China and many other countries. Both fought outbreaks through aggressive testing, isolating infected people, and tracing and quarantining their contacts. For everyone else, it was almost business as usual, with a bit of social distancing.
But case numbers spiked in the second half of March, and some observers feared the strategy had failed. Hong Kong had just 149 confirmed cases on 15 March; the tally reached 1005 yesterday. Singapore’s number grew from 226 on 15 March to 2532 yesterday. Neither city is seeing the explosive growth Italy, Spain, and many areas of the United States have witnessed. Their health care systems have not been overwhelmed. But both ramped up their responses. Hong Kong recently imposed restrictions on restaurants and closed bars entirely. Singapore has closed schools and nonessential businesses and instructed residents to stay home—a dramatic escalation.
In Hong Kong, the rate of new cases has already slowed. University of Hong Kong public health specialist Gabriel Leung, who advises the city’s government, says if the trend continues, “we might be able to breathe a little bit easier” and relax the new regulations. He thinks what Hong Kong and Singapore are practicing may become the new normal in many countries: a “suppression and lift” strategy in which governments aim to alternately drive down new infections to a low level, then loosen the reins while watching for any resurgence.
When the pandemic first emerged, both Hong Kong and Singapore had certain advantages. After suffering major outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003, they had built up response capabilities and laid preparedness plans. …”
“HONG KONG — Lockdowns, quarantines and extreme forms of physical distancing work: They are curbing the spread of Covid-19. But they cannot last indefinitely, at least not without causing enormous damage to economies and compromising peoples’ good will and emotional well-being.
When governments decide to close schools (or not), for example, they are implicitly trying to balance these various interests. One major problem, though: Their calculus about the underlying trade-offs typically is unclear, and the criteria for their policy adjustments are unknown.
A formal framework is needed, with an explicit rationale grounded in science, for determining when and how and based on what factors to relax restrictions — and how to reapply some or all of them should another epidemic wave hit again. …”
No country on earth has lost Round 1 as badly as the United States and that is because our political class was exposed as arrogant, complacent and grossly incompetent.
Note: Coronavirus is going to be a marathon.