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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,046
October 29, 2020
How To Defeat Covid - 19
By Mike McManus

America has been defeated by the covid-19 virus that has killed more than a quarter million Americans.

By contrast, Taiwan, which is near China where the virus originated - has had only seven deaths. It is a country with 24 million people, and 3 million visitors from China where the virus originated. By contrast, New York State, with a smaller population, has had 33,000 deaths!

Taiwan learned from its experience with the SARS pandemic. That was in 2003 when Taiwan learned important lessons. SARS is a respiratory virus, but less deadly than covid-19. It also originated in China, which bungled its initial response and withheld information from Taiwan.

The Taiwanese learned an important lesson - the need to be prepared for a pandemic.

Many Asian countries have learned a similar lesson - Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. All were hit by SARS and learned the same lesson as Taiwan. Even China learned much from the SARS epidemic. Beijing has managed to crush covid -19 so completely that the disease has virtually disappeared.

Why has America - and Europe - handled the covid - 19 crisis so badly? These countries think of themselves as exceptional. The United States, Britain, Brazil and Chile all have a strong sense of pride. America is notorious for this attitude, but so is Britain which wants to leave the European Union.

Arrogance is not an asset in facing a scientific challenge. That sense of being special makes it unlikely to adopt the standard attitude of any business When confronting a challenge - to look for best practices. America should learn from Bill Gates, who wrote recently that he approached problem-solving with two basic questions: "Who has dealt with the problem well? And what can we learn from them>"

Clearly, the U.S. needs to learn from Taiwan. America has been remarkably uninterested in what is working elsewhere. President Trump was told in February that covid-19 was a dangerous killer. But he decided "not to alarm" Americans about the danger. In fact, he said the crisis would blow over.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's leading scientist, we could have saved at least 100,000 of the lives lost - by simply urging Americans to wear a mask. Trump has still not learned the lesson. Trump says America "Is rounding the corner" on the crisis and "normal life" will return soon. Not if he is re-elected.

North Dakota tells a different story. It has the highest covid death rate per capita in the world. It also has the lowest mask-wearing rate. The lesson: No masks equals Higher Deaths.

Why can't this simple lesson be learned? That's why 226,000 Americans have died.

If America chooses Biden for President, it will be making a choice for masks. And the death rate will drop.

Some cities such as Palm Beach, Florida have passed a mandate to wear masks. It was a hard-fought battle, and made Palm Beach a laughingstock after a public meeting where opponents of mask-wearing called the mandate "The devil's law."

In August, when Ocala was considering a similar mandate, the local Sheriff, Billy Woods, issued an order banning masks - even for visitors. He said, "In light of current events when it comes to the sentiment and/or hatred toward law enforcement in our country today, this is being done to be sure there is clear communication and for identification purposes of any individual walking into a lobby." Later he altered his rule, allowing visitors to wear masks.

One sage observer asserted, "I just wish that people would recognize that the virus does not care how you vote. The virus only cares if you can transmit it."

Unfortunately, the United States is remarkable uninterested in how other countries are approaching the issue. No smug air of superiority. There are 1,000 covid cases in El Paso hospitals. And things are getting worse in 41 of 50 states. Cases are doubling in cities where people do not wear masks.

Not only do we not bother to learn from countries like Taiwan, we have a President who says "People are too focused on covid."

Only for a few more days.


Copyright (c) 2020 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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