Learning to live with the coronavirus

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The health system is now in better shape to deal with a second wave, if and when that happens. Japan is cautiously learning to live with the coronavirus while Americans are busy celebrating on beaches after lifting partial curfews and lockdowns. The contrast is stark, even scary to those who are concerned about the bleak health situation caused by the pandemic that has left civilization reeling in its wake. Japan did not even enforce a complete closure of life and businesses but left it to the people to take their social distancing responsibilities seriously.

The densely populated island nation has managed to come out of the crisis largely unscathed as it lifted restrictions on all cities on Monday. Japan was in a state of emergency. The people responded and did their bit. The government took advice from experts seriously, and tragedy was averted. But the economy is already in recession, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to roll out a second stimulus package soon that would total 40 per cent of the GDP.

Spain also opened on Monday after experiencing the worst of the pandemic, and the toll on health has been among the highest in Europe – 282,852 cases and 28,752 deaths. But the country has lifted a lockdown (not an emergency as in Japan) as cases have fallen and tapered off. Japan managed to pull off what appears to be a miracle recovery: 16,550 cases and just 820 victims.  The emergency was lifted after the ratio of infected people per week fell to 0.5 or less for 100,000 people. The health system is now in better shape to deal with a second wave, if and when that happens. On the other side of the world, revellers in the US are throwing caution to the wind.

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