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Thursday, April 9, 2020
Hong Kong Success
2. Lessons from Hong Kong
You might have expected Hong Kong—densely populated, high median age, tons of international travel, right on the Chinese mainland with direct flights to Wuhan—to have gotten hit hard by the coronavirus.
Nope. So far, only 4 deaths and 1,000 confirmed infections.
This Medium piece looks at what Hong Kong did right:
Hong Kong’s population has broad virus awareness, largely a result of SARS. The memories and lessons of SARS linger in Hong Kong. Since well before COVID-19, masks have been commonly used by individuals who harbor a common cold. Buttons on elevators are frequently sterilized once if not more times each day. It is customary not to wear shoes within the home and gel sanitizer is widely available throughout shared facilities such as office buildings. The population quickly tapped into virus-prevention mode as soon as the news of the virus circulated from Mainland China. Not wearing a mask is shunned in Hong Kong, and the population takes pride in responsible, virus-preventative everyday behavior. According to a poll by SCMP, the majority of Hong Kong residents believe they have only themselves to thank rather than the government if the city wins its battle against COVID-19.
You will note here that officials in Hong Kong did not insist that the virus was not a threat. Or that only a handful of people had been infected. Or that the liked the numbers. Or that the number of infections was headed to zero. Or that the virus would go away "like a miracle."
They took it seriously from the very start, they acted quickly, and as a result they managed the outbreak with minimal loss of life and economic destruction.
Just your daily reminder that our experience of the pandemic in America was neither impossible to predict nor impossible to stop. What it is, is the largest executive failure in our nation's history.
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