(Image source: https://www.kzoo.edu/praxis/global-pandemic/)
The global pandemic has been the source of panic throughout the world for the most part of 2020. Countries have been put to the test, and their leaders have been forced to use their leadership and problem-solving skills. COVID-19 has caused many deaths as leaders struggle to control it within their borders. Everyone has taken many different approaches while tackling the virus. At this stage of the pandemic, it is evident that some strategies have proven more efficient than others.
New Zealand, for example, could be considered a role model in the midst of all this chaos. In about 100 days after the first case arose, the country practically eradicated the pandemic. Having so many tourists from China meant that precautions towards the new virus started early on in the year, in February. The strict border control that was implemented meant that the arrival of the virus was delayed until late February. A month later, a nation-wide lockdown was put in place for five weeks. A level three lockdown was put up for two weeks after that, and then life resumed almost normally. The spike of cases was a mere 89 cases in one day in March. The months of May, June, and July were nearly free of new cases. In total they had 1,876 cases, and only 25 deaths. Some countries get that in a single day!
The United Kingdom and Italy
On the other end of the spectrum is the UK. This country’s government was heavily criticized for its approach to the pandemic since they did not have a strategy going into the peak of the virus. Even today, the UK is still somewhat lost as to what to do about COVID-19 and don’t seem to have very strict rules about social gatherings and travel. At the beginning of the pandemic, they were getting around 30 cases a day. Even though it seemed high in the beginning, the UK never again saw a number this low, with hundreds or even thousands for most of the year. Now, in October, they’ve reached over 26,000 cases a day. In total, they have 895 thousand cases, and over 44,000 deaths so far.
Similarly, Italy was infamous for its high numbers early on in the pandemic. There was an unprecedented amount of deaths in the country since the very beginning. Economist Gary P. Pisano said “it is unquestionably Italy’s biggest crisis since World War II.” The disorganization that the country’s leaders had was ultimately what led them to be so terribly high in cases so quickly. One of the precautions that Italy took that were frowned upon were a very slow lock down process. Contrary to most countries, Italy slowly demobilized itself, instead of establishing a full lockdown on site. This is what lead to close to 1,000 deaths in only one day at the very beginning, back in March. Today, the country is looking at over 40,600 deaths and counting.
Sweden was an interesting case concerning the corona virus. Their initial strategy was a “you’re on your own” sort of mentality. Although they put the basic “no visiting care homes” and “no gatherings too large,” they were quite libertarian in their approach. They relied on everyone’s personal choice to stay home, social distance, and not using anything public. They did not even shut down schools. To put it simply, Sweden attempted to achieve “herd immunity,” meaning that enough people would become immune so that the virus would have a harder time getting around. However, this approach was not successful, resulting in Sweden being heavily criticized for this, as they have seen many deaths.
All graphs were obtained from Google Statistics
hbr.org/2020/03/lessons-from-italys-response-to-coronavirus. Accessed 6 Nov. 2020.