The U.S.A Needs to Sit Down and Learn from Other Countries’ Response to COVID-19.

Trianne_CovidAlerts.png

By Trianne Hontiveros

Published March 24, 2021

AUSTRALIA– According to the CDC, Australia, despite Pfizer's rather late entrance into the country, is at the COVID level of 1 (low). The country managed to keep the virus at bay while only 2 new cases were reported as of February 15, 2021. With the total number of cases at 28,900 and total recovered is 25,486, it is safe to say that Australia is managing well with the virus. 

Their response: Unlike the U.S, the government and their health officials were quick to act. By isolating outbreaks all throughout Australia, strictly limiting, and or shutting down domestic borders and interstate travelers, they were able to meticulously contain and contact trace the public while social distancing. Though it was not a smooth road to get the public to cooperate with the new covid guidelines, after the 111th day of lockdown, on October 28, 2020, Australia lifted the public’s mandatory lockdown since the average number of new cases were under 10. 

 

SINGAPORE–A small country with a dense population of 5.7 million people could be a problem with covid, but interestingly Singapore is only at a covid level 2 (moderate). With total cases of 59,759, only 29 deaths have occurred. The most cases Singapore had in a day was April of 2020 with 1,111 new cases. As of now, the country was able to have a 7 day average of 13 cases. As of vaccinations, 256,000 people have received doses. 

Their response: Singapore is known for strict laws and order. With quarantine, surely they had an aggressive response. For those that defied or flouted quarantine or stay at home notices, they will be persecuted under the law. Those who are underemployed are given SGD 100 daily while employees under quarantine are paid under hospitalization leave. Testing and treatment are free for high-risk residents. 

 

TAIWAN–Being a rather larger country, with a larger population than Singapore, Taiwan has been known as the success story when it came to their responsibilities towards the virus. As of current times, the CDC states Taiwan with a covid level 1 (low) with a remarkable number of only 938 cases and the smallest, though devastating, mortality count of 9. Taiwan has been made a role model as universities such as Johns Hopkins and Harvard study the country’s response. Taiwan is yet to receive the covid vaccines but is on the right track to 0. 

Their response: Taiwan used what they have learned from their successful feat in the SARS outbreak in 2003. Even before the virus was named COVID-19, Taiwan has already taken action in quarantining passengers coming from Wuhan. By 2020, they were strengthening hospital infection control. Taiwan heavily referenced back to guidelines that they used during both the SARS outbreak and the Spanish Flu pandemic, this includes quarantine, social distancing, economic relief, and international collaborations in research and development. They believed that daily press conferences were vital to communication and health education for the public as well. 

Trianne_CovidAlerts2.png

So why exactly is the U.S failing miserably? Why is the U.S number 1 in both deaths and cases when in fact the country has not one, but some of the best hospitals with technological advancements in the world? Many factors come into play. For citizens, not wearing a mask nor not social distancing does not help at all. But on a large scale, the government in the first place did not have the right amount of testing infrastructure. Not enough people were getting tested, therefore they do not even know if they are infected and worse, who they already spread it to. Test results were slow to give out, people needed to wait for more than two weeks. Which renders the result useless and outdated for more than two weeks worth of activity and contact with others. Early March 2020 and all the way to May, the government “urges” and “recommended” people to wear a mask. Not making it fully mandatory while in fact, the first few cases reported in North America was in January of 2020. 

Australian Government Department of Health. “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Current Situation and Case Numbers.” Australian

Government Department of Health, Australian Government Department of Health, 21 Feb. 2021, www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers

Australian Government Department of Health. “First Pfizer Vaccine Doses Arrive in Australia.” Australian Government

Department of Health, Australian Government Department of Health, 15 Feb. 2021, www.health.gov.au/news/first-pfizer-vaccine-doses-arrive-in-australia

Australian Government Department of Health. “Government Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak.” Australian

Government Department of Health, Australian Government Department of Health, 24 Jan. 2021, www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/government-response-to-the-covid-19-outbreak

“COVID-19 in Singapore - COVID-19 Moderate - Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate - Travel Health Notices.” Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/covid-2/coronavirus-singapore.

“COVID-19 in Taiwan - COVID-19 Low - Level 1: COVID-19 Low - Travel Health Notices.” Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/covid-1/coronavirus-taiwan.  

“COVID-19 Map.” Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html. 

Fitzpatrick, Alex, and Elijah Wolfson. “Coronavirus in the U.S: How Did the Pandemic Get So Bad?” Time, Time, 10 Sept.

2020, time.com/5887432/coronavirus-united-states-failure/.  

Herndon, Jonathan, and JH Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Inside Taiwan's Response to COVID-19.” Johns Hopkins

Bloomberg School of Public Health, 22 Jan. 2021, www.jhsph.edu/covid-19/news-and-events/events/2020/april-24.html

Li Yang Hsu and Min-Han Tan March 23, et al. “What Singapore Can Teach the U.S. about Responding to Covid-19.” S

STAT, 23 Mar. 2020, www.statnews.com/2020/03/23/singapore-teach-united-states-about-covid-19-response/

Patrick, A. Odysseus. “Australia Has Almost Eliminated the Coronavirus - by Putting Faith in Science.” The Washington

Post, WP Company, 5 Nov. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/australia-coronavirus-cases-melbourne-lockdown/2020/11/05/96c198b2-1cb7-11eb-ad53-4c1fda49907d_story.html