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I have begun to believe that when it comes to dealing with the Wuhan Flu, all of the so-called experts are just making it up. In the immortal words of Hollywood wizard William Goldman ( Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride): “Nobody knows anything.” In evidence, I offer Japan:
Did Japan Just Beat the Virus Without Lockdowns or Mass Testing?
By Lisa Du and Grace Huang | Bloomberg.com | May 24, 2020
Japan’s state of emergency is set to end with new cases of the coronavirus dwindling to mere dozens. It got there despite largely ignoring the default playbook.
No restrictions were placed on residents’ movements, and businesses from restaurants to hairdressers stayed open. No high-tech apps that tracked people’s movements were deployed. The country doesn’t have a center for disease control. And even as nations were exhorted to “test, test, test,” Japan has tested just 0.2% of its population — one of the lowest rates among developed countries.
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Experts consulted by Bloomberg News also suggested a myriad of factors that contributed to the outcome, and none could point to a singular policy package that could be replicated in other countries. …
While the central government has been criticized for its slow policy steps, experts praise the role of Japan’s contact tracers, which swung into action after the first infections were found in January. The fast response was enabled by one of Japan’s inbuilt advantages — its public health centers, which in 2018 employed more than half of 50,000 public health nurses who are experienced in infection tracing. In normal times, these nurses would be tracking down more common infections such as influenza and tuberculosis.
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Experts are also credited with creating an easy-to-understand message of avoiding what are called the “Three C’s” — closed spaces, crowded spaces and close-contact settings — rather than keeping away from others entirely.
“Social distancing may work, but it doesn’t really help to continue normal social life,” said Hokkaido University’s Suzuki. “The ‘Three C’s’ are a much more pragmatic approach and very effective, while having a similar effect.”
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While the overall population is much smaller, Asian neighbors such as Taiwan had just seven confirmed deaths from the virus, while Vietnam had none.
“You can’t say the Japan response was amazing,” said Norio Sugaya, a visiting professor at Keio University’s School of Medicine in Tokyo and a member of a World Health Organization panel advising on pandemic influenza. “If you look at the other Asian countries, they all had a death rate that was about 1/100th of Western countries.”
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