- Dec. 8, 2020
-- Two methods for containing the spread of coronavirus are herd immunity and lockdowns. Ideally, herd immunity is achieved through vaccinations. Vaccines have a low risk of complications, protect vulnerable populations that cannot receive vaccinations, and have a strong history of controlling the spread of highly infectious diseases.
Achieving herd immunity can be difficult when people refuse to take the vaccine. Additionally, their effectiveness can wane over time. If multiple vaccines are necessary, it's not guaranteed people will complete the series.
The World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/
(WHO) has also criticized lockdowns. They harm social and economic life and disproportionately affect people living in poverty, internally displaced people, and refugees.
In Europe, both Italy and Greece have utilized lockdowns with different results
. Originally, Italy was the hotspot of Europe, while Greece initially had a low number of cases. Italy declared a state of emergency and placed a strict lockdown. Greece acted similarly but did not declare a state of emergency. One key factor that separates them is timing. Italy began suspending events and closing schools nine days after the third confirmed death from coronavirus. In comparison, Greece suspended events and closed schools before the third confirmed death.
Timing also played a key role as to why Taiwan and South Korea have both had continued success (https://time.com/5851633/best-global-responses-covid-19/
) with their efforts. Taiwan went into a strict lockdown very early, like Greece. It then moved to closing borders, contact tracing, and mobile SIM tracking. South Korea responded similarly and has not only low death rates but also a low case count. The early and aggressive response included and still includes extensive testing, isolation, contact tracing, and tracking COVID patients in real-time. Both nations had experience with epidemics in recent history, Taiwan with SARS 20 years ago and South Korea with MERS in 2015. This may have made them better prepared and primed citizens to comply with strict and invasive measures early on.
Rather than focusing on limiting the spread of COVID and protecting citizens, Turkey has focused on restricting the spread of information (https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/09/turkish-scientist...
). Starting in March, officials have investigated doctors and healthcare workers commenting on the government's actions and coronavirus in the media.
And public support for Turkish doctors and nurses is waning (https://tol.org/
. Increases in resignations led some to liken them to soldiers fleeing a battlefield. However, many that left public hospitals did not leave medicine altogether but moved to private care facilities that have better working conditions. Doctors were even prohibited from retiring between March 28 and June 8 and starting again on October 27.
Turkey has continued to declare the situation is under control and lift partial lockdowns even when independent doctors and medical associations warn against it.
While many countries took action at the beginning, the strength and continued enforcement of their policies have differentiated the success of their efforts.