China was able to contain COVID-19 by April.
Seriously? Can we really believe them?
But I believe “them” in part. Why?
Because I lived there.
I lived through the lockdown starting Feb. 4 in Hangzhou, when they had a mere 132 known cases. I witnessed as our city, with approximately 10 million people, turned into a ghost town overnight. And I saw how, within a month, the cases reportedly capped at 181. A radical feat for such a monstrous city.
Our friends who remain in the city tell us how life has returned to normal.
Taiwan wasn’t much different. In March, although Taiwan never went on lockdown, I saw how fanatic the Taiwanese were about wearing masks. Some even wore plastic shopping bags over their hands as gloves. When we forgot to wear our masks, people would give us the “you’re so irresponsible” look. Every person who entered Taiwan went through a monitored quarantine, and those who didn’t were fined.
Compared with Utah’s 162,000-plus cases and 740 deaths, Taiwan’s mere 605 cases and seven deaths are instructive, especially considering that Taiwan is a sixth the size of Utah and has eight times the population (almost 24 million).
Can we learn from their efficacious efforts?
Of course, no one wants the draconian and likely unconstitutional measures of fining those who don’t keep quarantine, tracking cellphones, limiting shopping to twice per week per family, stopping travel to and from cities, etc.
But perhaps we could do more media coverage on the dire situation at hospitals and with patients — not to create fear but rather, as Asia did, to disclose information and educate the public. Some people in Utah think the virus is more political than a real threat. More media coverage may help Utahns take the virus more seriously and wear face masks more consistently.
We could mandate those traveling into Utah to self-quarantine as well as consider using hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) early on to prevent symptoms from worsening, as much of Asia did.
We could educate the public on the importance of not circulating potentially infected air, because the virus can be transmitted via airborne/aerosol. Even in the winter, the Chinese have a habit of wearing coats at work and opening up widows to ensure a fresh airflow.
Although we are not the East, the West can learn from others and quickly pivot and adapt to the changing dynamics around us.
Christy J. Moore, Salt Lake City, is a lawyer and stay-at-home mother of five active children. She lived with her family in China for about eight years, Taiwan for one year, and individually in Russia for almost two years. From dancing with gypsies to reading with her children, she believes life is a radiant adventure with the people around her as the most radiant part.