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The COVID chronicles: one year later.

You know the saying “every cloud has a silver lining”? That’s a good one to prompt our reflection. Corona virus arose in the end of 2019, and despite being first observed in Wuhan, China, it rapidly reached all continents. We are going to leave aside the numbers on mortality, yet we will focus on the implications of what corona revealed to everybody. As a matter of fact, eastern countries seem to have handled the pandemic better than western nations, but why? Here we present the reasons for this gap.

Corona or Pandora?

Like Pandora’s box opening, the coming of corona rang a bell in western democracies’ minds. We thought we were untouchable and ready to face every threat with wealth and technology. Turns out it’s not the case. Lockdowns rules clashed against personal freedoms, state governments argued with local governments and economies almost collapsed. This virus has been our Pandora’s box. So what can one learn from this pandemic and from the countries which are doing better than us? In fact, no matter where you look, many Asian countries seem to be doing better than the US and Europe. How is that possible? We are not talking about first vs third world countries…

Another hint, is this the Asian century?

The covid chronicles: one year later

Preventing is better than treating. This statement is surely true when you look at examples like Taiwan. Taiwan’s vice president, an epimediologist, activated security measures right away. He took action after the very first signs of a new virus by monitoring travelers coming from Wuhan. Luck or good choices are not the only factors here though. These countries had ad-hoc pandemic countermeasures ready to be carried out. May be the case that the recent outbreaks of SARS and MERS shed light on future possible scenarios. Those epidemics were not quite felt in the west like they were in the East, thus making a difference. Just another quick note before continuing, South Korea had carried out the contact tracing system had been put to the test in December 2019, what a perfect timing.

Watch (Vietnam) and learn…

Another fact whose mention may seem obvious and rhetorical but whose true meaning is fundamental is the far-sightedness of the countries. I mean after the WHO warned Europe and the US to get pandemics plans ready after the swine flu in 2009, few nations took that proposition seriously. In countries like Italy, one of the most affected in terms of infected people and deaths, the governments have constantly been cutting expenses in the public healthcare system thus “digging their own grave” with their own hands. Unlike Italy other countries chose a different path. Vietnam, for example, after being strongly affected by the pandemics of the last two decades, it has chosen the path of prevention. Indeed, Vietnam has seen its per capita investment in public health increase by around 9% every year from 2010 to 2016.

The covid chronicles: one year later

One thing is for sure, this pandemic, like Pandora’s box, has shaken our beliefs and has shown us the flaws in our systems. Of course if you read the above text carefully, you know whose systems…

One question other than when all this will be over remains: have we learned something?

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