Updated: May 28
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 was, for sure, unexpected and spread very quickly. Since many countries and citizens have not been expecting this catastrophe to occur at such a fast pace, the responses were different from each administration. While some countries, such as South Korea and China, successfully combated and took security and safety measures against the coronavirus, other countries, such as the United States and Italy, struggled and were lacking response and materials to successfully overcome this widespread virus. Due to the immense difference in preparedness in the different countries, the virus spread like wildfire and flourished in places that responded with safety measures less efficiently.
China had the coronavirus in its country, and in late February, the government sent authorities to each house for health checks and forcibly brought quarantine and isolation to the people who seemed to have even the slightest of symptoms. The government sent out drones to make sure everyone was staying inside, and people who were infected were placed in buildings with monitoring services, food and medicine provided. Although the measures were extremely rigorous and allowed for zero contact, it helped to cease the spread of this virus within its country (Hjelmgaard, Lyman, Shesgreen 2020). Another country that is successfully fighting this global pandemic is South Korea. South Korea had this outbreak identified in their country on the same day as the United States, however they efficiently started to take measures to prevent the further spread of this highly contagious virus. “Experts say the disparity is due to South Korea ramping up testing more quickly and implementing preventive measures, such as school closures, earlier" (Berger, 2020). Korea has had much higher efficiency than the U.S, although they had their first coronavirus case on the same day. Korea has been testing more than 10,000 people per day by late February, which is the four times the number of tests the U.S. took in a month and half. Korea’s efficiency in reacting to the situation allowed for them to return to normal lifestyles, and the country has slowly begun reopening public places, though with precaution (Berger, 2020). More than these countries, Taiwan was seen to have most successfully responded to the coronavirus. Although it was hit the worst, "Taiwan rapidly produced and implemented a list of at least 124 action items in the past five weeks to protect public health," reported co-author Jason Wang, a Taiwanese doctor and associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford Medicine, in a statement. "The policies and actions go beyond border control because they recognized that that wasn't enough.” (Griffiths, 2020). Taiwan has even decided to donate their limited masks to other countries because region such as Europe and the United States are in more urgent need of these safety precautions. As seen, there are multiple countries who are efficiently combating this spreading pandemic, allowing for a prospective return to normal lifestyles.
On the other hand, countries like Italy and the U.S. are struggling to go head-to-head with this global outbreak of the coronavirus. “Italy reached nearly 100,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 10,000 deaths by March 29, becoming the deadliest epicenter in the pandemic"; experts have even referred to it as "the country’s ‘biggest crisis since World War II’" (Scott, 2020). This was because of the Italian government’s slow and inconsistent response to the COVID-19 virus. The Harvard researchers warn that Italy suffered from “a systematic failure to absorb and act upon existing information rapidly and effectively rather than a complete lack of knowledge of what ought to be done”, and they believe that the United States can learn from the mistakes of Italy to be able to successfully fight this pandemic. One of the first things that the U.S. government should do is recognize the gravity of the situation because Italy has shown evidence of what happens if the government doesn’t respond to the outbreak seriously. Another lesson the United States could learn from Italy is that the government needs to go large-scale with its precautions, rather than waiting for the virus to spread to a greater level. Since the United States has an overwhelming amount of people being diagnosed with COVID-19 on the daily, there are many precautions that the United States should take, as efficiently as possible. As seen with Italy and the United States, there are countries struggling to cease the spread of this rapidly spreading pandemic.
Because of the different situations the countries faced prior to this new pandemic of 2020 and the materials and people available to help overcome this outbreak, there are differences in how efficient each country is in combating the coronavirus. Some that are better off are even attempting to send aid to countries in need. Although the coronavirus has wreaked social and economic havoc, it has also brought unity across nations during a time of global turmoil.
Berger, Matt. "How South Korea Successfully Battled COVID-19 While the U.S. Didn't." Healthline, 29 Mar. 2020, www.healthline.com/health-news/what-south-korea-has-done-correctly-in-battling-covid-19#Today:-Trying-to-avoid-becoming-Italy. Accessed 4 May 2020.
Griffiths, James. "Taiwan's Coronavirus Response Is among the Best Globally." CNN World, 5 Apr. 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/04/04/asia/taiwan-coronavirus-response-who-intl-hnk/index.html. Accessed 4 May 2020.
Scott, Dylan. "4 Lessons the US Should Learn from Italy's Coronavirus Mistakes." Vox, www.vox.com/covid-19-coronavirus-explainers/2020/3/29/21198801/coronavirus-us-italy-when-will-it-end.
This Is What China Did to Beat Coronavirus. Experts Say America Couldn't Handle It. 1 Apr. 2020, www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/04/01/coronavirus-covid-19-china-radical-measures-lockdowns-mass-quarantines/2938374001/. Accessed 4 May 2020.