While the virus is exploding outside of Asia, we have the worst behind us in China. Covid19 might have originated in China, but from my reading of how governments react to the threat, it was also China where the most aggressive and effective measures were taken to curb the spread.
I not really surprised to see little central control in the US and Europe, where the virus has full potential to ravage thanks to democratic societies that hold up individual human rights higher than in China. Freedom of movement has only really been restricted in Italy, which has almost as many deaths as China by now. I sincerely wish that the approach in Germany and US will succeed in stopping the spread of the virus, but I doubt it. Western societies and their governments still underestimate the danger of the virus. After living in China for 5 years, I know that China would have liked to do everything else, rather than crash their economy as they did. This was the first time I saw health valued higher than capitalism in China. On an individual and a societal level. Truthfully, I wasn’t here during the SARS outbreak, but the reaction this time around was quick & resolute.
One might also note that only a healthy society can resume the economy at the speed it’s been before the pandemic. So while China has first and foremost avoided a national health crisis, it has also avoided a complete economic disaster thanks to the stop-and-go approach.
Some more essential reading on the virus:
Report to the German parliament on risks in civil protection. From 2013 this reads like a blueprint for Covid19. In German.
NYT’s Donald McNeil on what the west can learn from China in fighting the virus