China is back to normal — the US and Europe are not. Here’s how it succeeded.

BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 30: Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Naohiko Hatta - Pool/Getty Images)

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China, where the novel coronavirus was first discovered, is now by most measures in the clear, with much of life returning to normal.

It is a startling reversal from January and February, where China appeared to be in chaos as the rest of the world looked on.

China’s recovery was particularly evident over Golden Week, one of China’s largest holidays, which ran from October 1 to October 7.

Some 637 million people — or 46% of the entire country’s population — traveled around China that week, spending between them $69 billion on holidays, shopping trips, weddings, and visits to relatives, state media said.

Meanwhile, the US and a number of European nations are struggling to quash their outbreaks and reignite their economies following widespread job losses and recessions.

The US Thanksgiving holiday weekend is a little more than a month away. On Wednesday, the top US infectious-disease expert, Anthony Fauci, said Americans must “sacrifice” it if they hope to prevent another surge of cases. 

Countries are also now facing the added pressure of winter, which with its cold weather and people’s weakened immune systems could fuel new surges of COVID-19 cases.

The US is far from emulating the success of Golden Week. On Tuesday, China reported 20 new cases, according to its National Health Commission. The same day, the US reported 54,512 new cases, according to a tracker from The New York Times.

China was the first to experience the outbreak, so it follows that it should be first to pass out of it. But the speed with which it has done so lays bare the poor handling of the pandemic by many Western nations.

The US, with a population of 328 million, has recorded nearly 8 million coronavirus cases and more than 217,000 deaths as of Friday, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.

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Meanwhile, China, with a population of 1.3 billion, has recorded of 90,900 coronavirus cases and 4,739 deaths as of Friday, per Johns Hopkins.

China’s success has been attributed to a number of factors. 

Testing, with tempo

The first thing that enabled China to succeed was a commitment to testing, and testing smartly.

Getting a test was fast, and it was free. Those who tested positive were immediately sent to newly-created isolation centers or nearby hospitals, reducing the risk of infecting people they live or work with.

Wuhan was quickly isolated, with residents spending 76 days in lockdown.

“These are places that got out of control in the beginning, and China made this decision to protect China and the rest of the world,” Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general at the WHO, told Vox at the time, adding that China’s success came from speed and from taking contract tracing seriously.

“The faster you can find the cases, isolate the cases, and track their close contacts, the more successful you’re going to be,” he said.

“They have their system primed for rapid detection and rapid response. They never want to be in another situation like a Wuhan — and they …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Science

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