World vs COVID-19
Week of 2nd March 2020
As COVID-19 wages war on the world, we explore what the world must do.
In the US, as Donald Trump continues to misquote and spread inaccurate information, only a handful of US 100 public-health labs are able to test for COVID 19.
Over in Europe, France has prepared 108 hospitals, one in each region. In Germany, EUR23mn were allocated to deal with the virus. Switzerland has cancelled large public events. UK, on the other hand, has seen a slow response from Boris Johnson with NHS already running out of critical care beds.
A video interview from Dr Bruce Aylward gave a very good report (and opinions) from his observation in China where people can learn from this authoritarian state. However, if time is limited, I highly suggest reading:
Business Insider’s summary of Bruce Aylward’s view by Hillary Brueck
The Observer Editorial’s The failure of leadership as the coronavirus spreads
Jonathan Freedland’s Donald Trump’s war on Coronavirus is just his latest war on truth
From the web:
by Jonathan Freedland
Donald Trump’s war on Coronavirus is just his latest war on truth
From our Chief Opinionator:
The World is simply not ready
War against an invisible enemy is perhaps one of the scariest. As COVID-19 rocks the world, I see very little publication that discusses whether various nation is prepared to deal with an outbreak within each of its border. This, in itself, is perhaps a warning sign.
On 25th March, Dr Bruce Aylward, the WHO Assistant Director-General from Canada who went into China with a team of volunteers, gave a detailed report of his observation of how China has been dealing with the Coronavirus. His report was supported not just by interviews with over 100 locals, but also by statistics. “The world needs the experience of China” he claims. At the 40 mins mark (should you be interested in watching the video), he stated 3 things that nations need to do. “Shift in mindset” was the first of his suggestions. Another suggestion from him was to access the expertise of China as China was keen to help (at 44 mins).
Interestingly, if you read the comments during this interview, the opposite was exactly what you see. “Liar” “lies” “China lover” “this is a waste of time”. During the first hour of the interview, Dr Aylward provided detailed reports of China’s experiences for the world to learn. Instead, the distrust in China was so strong that the live audience completely did not hear a word he said. A shift in mindset was clearly not there as people desperately wanting him to use the word pandemic and to provide them with a quick and easy cure to the virus. While perhaps no nation can rival the authoritarian’s implementation of monitoring, tracing, and united cooperation, there can be things that each democratic nation can start doing. Bring your population ready, suggested Dr Aylward, they should be washing their hands now.
This is not a war between China and democracy, but a common invisible enemy that the world is facing. More urgently than not, this is the time when all nations need to band together to share information and learn from each other. Nations need to admit they are not ready and prepare aggressively. Even North Korea has recognized their weak health infrastructure and has implemented drastic measures such as shutting borders, schools and cancelling events.
Reactions need to be quick in this war. Population, especially in the west, needs to realize wearing a mask is not ridiculous. Giving up your social life for a few weeks at the beginning of this outbreak won’t kill you, but will save you. Not shaking hands or kissing on the face is not anti-social, but medically responsible. This is not a Chinese nor Asian problem, it’s everyone’s problem.
The world has had 2 months of headstart compared to China, but the world is simply not ready.