May 30, 2024

Japan is transitioning out of its state emergency as the number of new SARS-COV-2 infections fall, despite no lockdowns, no high tech apps for tracking people’s movements, and little testing. How did Japan manage to beat the coronavirus?

This article written by Lisa Du and Grace Huang for Time Magazine explores several possible factors for Japan’s success.

Editor’s Note: Sweden wasn’t the only country that did not impose a lockdown [also see This is how Iceland is dealing with COVID-19], and as we can see from the experiences of these countries (which now includes Japan), none of the dire predictions based on Neil Ferguson’s model came to pass. Deaths remain significantly lower compared to the original projections (for Japan, projection was at 400,000 deaths[1] and 96,000 for Sweden[2], and health care systems remain functional. Though both Japan and Sweden’s economies are projected to slow down, their societies continue to operate “near normal”.

Japan’s relative success in controlling the coronavirus outbreak shows us that a different approach other than a lockdown was possible. Extending lockdowns is based only be collective fear, not science, and must be acknowledged as such. We cannot continue to force people inside their homes when science is already showing us the way out.

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