Coronavirus Pandemic Humbles World’s Great Powers

Covid19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees. It has humbled some of the most powerful nations on earth. It has paralyzed the global economy. It is believed to have started in China, the newest superpower.

Coronavirus has so far infected nearly 3 million people globally. It has ravaged the United States, the reigning superpower, as well as its rich and powerful allies in Western Europe.  The United States leads the world with a million infections so far and over 50,000 deaths.

It has not spared developing nations like Iran and Turkey either. And it is now threatening to spread to the rest of the developing world in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Coronavirus has so far infected nearly 12,000 and killed 253 people in Pakistan.

This pandemic is a reminder to all that lethal pathogens are a huge common threat to all of humanity.

Recently, I participated in a wide ranging discussion on coronavirus’ origins, impact, conspiracy theories, lockdown & plans to reopen business and economy.

Please watch it below:

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Mike K. said…
Lots of speculation-and disagreements among experts-re reasons for South Asia's low number of COVID cases, relative to many nations in West & in East Asia.
In reality, no one knows yet. It takes time to understand the dynamics of a pandemic that the world had never seen before.
Riaz Haq said…
Studies have so far shown a number of factors accounting for low #COVID19 cases in #SouthAsia: #heat, #humidity, #sunshine, wide use of anti-#malaria drugs, almost universal #BCG vaccination etc. #India
Riaz Haq said…
#Asia’s Lesson for Corralling Coronavirus? ‘Act Fast’. Western #Europe & #US have 75% of 3.7 million #COVID19 cases. #Asia has about a third of the world’s population but just one of every 15 infections. #coronavirus #pandemic


Western Europe and the U.S. represent around three-quarters of the 3.7 million confirmed cases. East Asia, where the virus first emerged, and Southeast Asia—together accounting for about a third of the world’s population—represent just roughly one of every 15 infections, though some Asian nations have tested only a fraction of their populations.

Hong Kong this week cleared 14 days without any local infections, while Taiwan recently hit three weeks without a domestic case. South Korea, one of the hardest-hit countries early on, relaxed social-distancing measures Wednesday, after ending the month of April with fewer new infections than its one-day peak of 909 cases. Thailand and Vietnam have evaded major outbreaks.

Even in Singapore and Japan, where clusters unexpectedly formed last month, the problem hasn’t spiraled out of control or roared across the population, in large part because of rehearsed responses tracking the disease and a voluntary drop in mobility by citizens.

China appears to have contained the coronavirus, with six confirmed infections since Sunday, though its apparent success required more draconian steps, including one of the biggest mass quarantines in human history.

All these places face the risk of further waves of infections, especially as countries relax quarantines and open up to more activity. Some countries in the region, such as Indonesia, still see caseloads climbing.

Many Asian nations share characteristics that experts say may have helped them fare relatively well up to now, including a tendency to react more quickly at the earliest sign of disease danger, with broader popular support for social-control measures.

“Act fast. That’s the biggest lesson,” said Guy Thwaites, director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam.

The precise steps taken by Asian nations vary widely. Some relied on lockdowns or contact-tracing tactics involving surveillance that would be unpalatable in some Western nations. Others prioritized testing and quarantines.

But most had centralized contingency plans in place well before the pandemic, and residents who knew the drill, from past encounters with diseases such as bird flu, H1N1 influenza and SARS.

The day Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, criticized for a slow response, declared a nationwide state of emergency on April 16, many residents had already been wearing face masks for weeks. Protests against government restrictions on public behavior, like ones now seen in some U.S. states, have been less common in Asia.

Being close to China may have also provided an unexpected advantage. Given their proximity to the pandemic’s original outbreak, many Asian nations were inclined to move faster to shut down flights from China, limiting some spread. Other countries blocked Asian travelers, reducing the likelihood a citizen contracted the virus elsewhere and then brought it back home.

South Korea’s rapid response was enhanced by lessons from a deadly outbreak five years ago of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, that left it unprepared. When cases snowballed in mid-February, the government was able to unroll a system to produce mass tests, separate the seriously ill from those with mild symptoms and share information that sounded the alarm.

The country’s response relied on citizens like 23-year-old Kim Su-min, who heeded the call to stay indoors in part because she worried her whereabouts would be made public as part of the government’s aggressive contact-tracing program. She stopped meeting friends altogether, largely remaining inside her Seoul home.

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