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The Stark Difference Between Western and Eastern Reponses to COVID-19

Painting with a broad brush, the Western world has a higher number of democracies, whereas the Eastern world is more authoritarian. Looking at the data, there's a stark impact in the COVID-19 response.

Painting with a broad brush, the Western world has a higher number of democracies, whereas the Eastern world is more authoritarian. Looking at the data, there’s a stark impact in the COVID-19 response.

Globally there have now been 108 million recorded cases and 2.3 million deaths have listed COVID-19 listed as a factor. This number of deaths is almost beyond belief, and quite rightly there will most probably be a pandemic treaty signed by a great many nations to help a joint effort to combat the next epidemic from becoming a pandemic. The data below shows a glimpse of insight into the effect on the world:

West:

  • United States: 27.3 million Cases / 480k Deaths
  • United Kingdom: 4 million Cases / 117k Deaths
  • France: 3.4 million / 81k Deaths
  • Italy: 2.7 million Cases / 93k Deaths

East:

  • India: 10.9 million Cases / 155k Deaths
  • China: 101,000 Cases / 4.8k Deaths

As we look around the world for examples it’s very clear no state has found a miraculous cure to end the pandemic. Looking at the statistics from the WHO China and India have fared miraculously. Although many would debate China’s statistics given the overwhelming evidence which suggests Wuhan was the source of the outbreak, limited the spread by instigating mass city-wide lockdowns, in mega cities which span tens of millions of citizens is not half amazing. Shutting down Shijiazhuang is an example many countries in the West have not been able to or failed to do. China’s swift moves have no doubt stemmed any further outbreak. In London and New York City, there have not been any wide-spread measures which compete with this – for in Shijiazhuang all residents were barred from leaving the city, as major highways were blocked, train and bus stations. The M40, circling London, or the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan were never shut, simply behaviour has been discouraged.

There is of course local politics to take into consideration, China’s authoritarian stance is one the UK and the USA does not wish to mimic, but it is also clear the response to the pandemic is easier when a nation can be ground to a halt with immediate effect – rightly or wrongly.

India on the other hand is one of the world’s most populous countries, a democracy, and yet has an astonishing data set, in comparison to Western democracies. To achieve this, Modi was one of the leaders who pulled together SAARC to act as one, a multilateral strategy. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia. Its member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Considering the internal politics of India‚Äôs neighbours, it is almost remarkable how the virus has brought together these nations.

Maybe there is a cultural aspect many people have underplayed, or maybe a citizen in the East is more likely to obey the ruling classes judgements. However, with the recent protests in India, it’s clear what the Government says isn’t always admired. Whatever we can learn from the pandemic, the East has pole position in educating the world on how to respond to a global outbreak.

Sources:

World Health Organisation: https://covid19.who.int/

CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/08/asia/china-hebei-covid-lockdown-intl-hnk/index.html

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