01 Jun 2020

We Need to Explain the Difference

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Ross Clark notes that an explanation, other than politics, is required to account for the difference in the impact of the COVID-19 virus in Asia from the toll it’s taken in Europe and the United States.

Japan… has not used any of the standard measures for tackling Covid-19 – lockdown, test, track and trace – with any great vigour. Neither has it succeeded in snuffing out the virus by any other means. If you think Boris Johnson or Donald Trump have been reckless in some way, you ought to be berating the Japanese government far more. But you won’t because Japan, in spite of its laissez-faire attitude, has had remarkably few deaths: seven for every million citizens, compared with 567 in the UK. Even Europe’s Covid pin-up – Germany – has suffered a death rate that is multiples that of Japan: 103 per million.

But then again, if you compared Japan with its Far Eastern neighbours, you could establish a case that Japan has been reckless: South Korea and Taiwan have even lower death rates at 5 per million and 0.3 per million respectively.

This brings one to an inescapable conclusion that has been obvious since mid-March, at least to anyone who has been prepared to see it: that there is a fundamental difference in the way that this virus has behaved in the Far East compared with Europe and America. It has been far, far deadlier in the latter two, and in a way which cannot even nearly be explained by the way different governments have handled the epidemic. This raises two possibilities: either there is a difference in the virus that has been attacking Western countries or there is a difference in the human populations.

RTWT

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3 Feedbacks on "We Need to Explain the Difference"

Steven Gordon

There is another conclusion: that different governments keep statistics differently.

Also note that “it’s” is a contraction, not a possessive.



JDZ

“the toll [it has] taken” is a contraction.



Steven Gordon

False dichotomy. Valid conclusions include: different countries define COVID19 disease and death from disease differently, different countries have different stigmas attached to COVID19 deaths, and different governments lie differently (all governments lie).



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