Copy All Anti-Coronavirus Steps from Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan

The WHO (World Health Organization), Singapore and USA reversed their position on using face masks against coronavirus. The new position is that all people in a community should wear masks when they go out as part of an overall comprehensive response to this disease.

There is growing evidence that some people infected with the coronavirus do not show symptoms and are able to make others sick.

Almost all people in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam wear masks in public. Those countries have the least COVID-19 coronavirus cases. In Europe, the Czech Republic and Slovakia bucked the western trend, encouraging the use of masks by everyone.

The World Health Organization and disease control agencies in other countries need to stop thinking they know better than Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

All countries with high spread rates are doing it wrong and have been doing it wrong.

The other steps being followed in the leading countries are using smart-phone apps to enhance the effectiveness of quarantines. The leading countries also deliver food to people who are quarantined. There is also contact tracing to find those who might have been infected by someone known to have the disease.

China also sent people door to door to check on people with temperatures.

Written By Brian Wang,

84 thoughts on “Copy All Anti-Coronavirus Steps from Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan”

  1. Vietnam, Cambodia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Nepal, BVI, and about 50 other countries are the best model too, zero deaths so far.

  2. Their testing rate is not very high, 42,000 so far and only about 1,700/million. Why test like crazy when you don’t need to? They already solved the problem. I’m not sure your first point is valid, though. Taiwan didn’t keep the infection rate down due to having a better healthcare system than the US – you only need to a great medical system AFTER someone is sick (though the vast US system is completely dysfunctional). Your points 2 and 3 definitely.

  3. Taiwan is a good model. what is their rate of test? Important points are 1/their medical services are best and nearly free comparing to USA, so patients always see doctors whenever they have times, 2/they had SARS experiments, 3/they have many information channels (including business men), to get first hands of chinese local information.

  4. How is that irony?

    It would be ironic if masks were now turning out to be a bad thing that had destroyed the Japanese response. But what we actually have is two separate cases where masks prevent contamination. That’s not irony, that’s just consistency.

  5. Nah, different concept.

    The IYI describes the situation where you aren’t really affected by the decisions at all, so you just go with what sounds good to your peers, regardless of effects.

    This phenomena is a case of misaligned incentives. Where some results affect the decision maker a lot, while others only affect them a bit, or not at all. So the decisions are not made on a purely theoretical basis, but they are not aligned perfectly with the overall results.

    But they still TRY to avoid the worst results. They still implemented a big response, though weeks after a smaller response would have been more effective.

    A pure IYI class would still be crying about racism and demanding that anyone who mentions Corona virus be prosecuted for hate speech against Chinese (and possibly Mexico). And we CAN see such types in the more insane corners of the media and internet. Going into hysterics that social distancing is discrimination against trans3xuals or whining that wearing a mask is sexist because women have lipstick.

  6. I reside in Taiwan currently.
    Just two days ago the government has made it mandatory that all civilians who travel via MRT (subway), buses, taxis, trains etc… must wear a mask or could face a fine of up to +/- US$480. But elsewhere (i.e. on the streets and in the shops) it is not mandated.

    However, I have to say, one feels pretty safe in Taiwan, and life hasn’t really been any different (I drive to work and drive my family around) – work and school and daily life routine resumes per usual, apart from noticing 90% of the population wearing a mask.
    Gotta say, I think the Taiwanese have thus far done pretty well, especially in comparison to… just about any other country in the world.

  7. Doh! I forgot to check Schlock.

    Also, there is the Velominati:
    #36  // Eyewear shall be cycling specific.

  8. And all foodmarkets should stop we’ve had MERS SARS CORONA enough is enough.
    Stop eating Bats !

  9. That would make sense. But we’ll see what actually happens. I don’t think it’s sufficient in reality given the huge ratio of infectious communication for any small number of unknown/delinquent tainted biomass, multiplied by the number of such wet markets in all of China.

    Either they end or we accept this situation is at least a 50/50 chance of occurring again in the future. Or China shutters itself – zero chance of that in so many respects.

    There’s all kinds of traditions that every culture in the world has had to give up for the sake of a modern world. Modern meaning not dying or obliterating worldwide economies for the sake of an unnecessary habit.

    The future is basically the act of outgrowing every such habit or thing that is incompatible with more wealth, more time, more health, more good things for everyone.

    I can’t see any reason to consider it otherwise. The “wetness” of those markets just doesn’t make sense – not anymore.

  10. The markets are too traditional. Heck, apparently the chinese are rushing to crowd back together in parks and such now that restrictions have been reduced. Think they’re going to change their shopping habits?

    But possibly the government could require the markets to source meat from certified and tracked source farms, and use safe handling practices. Surprise-inspect farms for safe practices. Surprise-inspect the markets for contamination, which would lead back to unsafe farms. With prominent displays of ‘certified’ on meat, the public could be trained to avoid uncertified meats as unsafe.

  11. That strategy is independent because it does not affect transmission rates. It can belong in both camps.

  12. Agreed; though I would bet my money on people (at all levels, bottom to top) making things marginally worse by acting stupid. So I expect that and the next phase to get worse (even if marginally) before it starts getting better (an actual averaged trend back to “normal”).

    Stupid caused this and will cause future similar events. There’s no funding or public awareness of meteors, and there won’t be till it upsets people’s daily routine the way this virus has.

    I absolutely don’t go for any of the conspiracy theories nor the naive expectations that we’re garanteed a tech-enabled world free of worrying about these dangers. And I don’t sympathize with any of the idiotic navel gazing political tribalism.
    But I do think that China’s wet markets should end. Now. It’s a stupid thing and stupid is clearly not the future.

  13. Yes, of course – but that should track total cases fairly well, or at worst exaggerate them if we’re now testing more frequently due to greater test availability.

    Of course, this says nothing about what we do once we get new cases very low. What will that look like?

  14. In a pandemic like SARS (which was much less infectious), if the world acts quickly and decisively it will always look like an overreaction. The world will blame leaders and politicians for costing the economy too much by such unnescessary panic. In this case we have a control group; it is unfortunate it had to be the entire world minus Taiwan.

    The political incentive is to be reactive and act expediently rather than prudently, not act unless there is an accumulating pile of corpses giving you the mandate to act decisively. At best politicians take the opportunity to justify actions that are popular anyway with disease prevention measures. Most often the virus will show itself to be easily containable, like SARS or Ebola (a really stupid virus; it’s like stepping in dog shit; sure, it’s really bad, but it’s quite easy to avoid).

    No politician will survive being the one who saved public healthcare systems and pensions by letting the pensioners die. Therefor they will dangerously overreact when the threat proves real.

  15. Those 80% do not include mild/asymptomatic cases at all. Those are never tested. I’ve seen guesstimates of 50% or even higher having no symptom and I’ve seen wishful thinking that 99% never get any symptoms (which means we are done almost before we have started; just get pozed bro! It’S JuSt A FLU!11).

    The basis of the somewhat more credible guesstimates are e.g. surveys done in Iceland with mass testing of small subsets of the population which found 50% of infected had no symptoms at the time of testing (which is evidence of asymptomatic spread as they were shedding virus, but not evidence that 50% are asymptomatic as some would have gone on to show symptoms), mass testing in Vo, Italy and testing of 60 blood donors in northern Italy who thought they never had COVID-19 etc.

    Those 80% with “mild” symptoms Tom Craver refers to are in diagnosed cases which almost by definition are people who feel seriously ill. They include pneumonia as long as it does not require hospital treatment.

    Asymptomatic disease (never any symptoms) yet shedding virus is clearly a thing. I think it’s up to but less than 50% based on the Iceland data and dangerous guess to say that most people never get symptoms until we know this is the case.

    Taiwan took it seriously. They paid a fairly small cost and Taiwan keeps functioning as normal. Most of the rest of the world was mired in denial and had to take extremely costly actions to stop the outbreak and will now have to do what Taiwan did anyway.

  16. what about the ‘Isolators’?
    The policy of taking all 65+ and pre-existing condition-ers and removing them from their context pre-pandemic to be placed in residences, repurposed hotels, and, as a last resort, camps and re-assigned community spaces. Since 80%+ of hospitalized cases is this group, why not protect first and disable society second?

  17. The experts are divided in two camps:

    The Spreaders, or Body Stackers, who want to slowly spread the infection, while racking up the bodycount.

    The Annihilators want to eradicate the virus by stopping its spread, using methods which are controversial to some.

    Personally, I support the second group and I really want the Spreaders being sidelined as soon as possible.

  18. irony here is that the Japanese were killing The US semiconductor industry in the 80s because their manufacturing people wore masks while making integrated circuit chips and the US manufacuting people didn’t Wear masks…. And the US scientist was baffled because they couldn’t figure out why the exact same equipment didnt produce the same Computer chip yields….. it turns out that you really need to wear masks to prevent contamination of the silicon wafer from people’s dirty breath….

  19. Reported cases. What’s the testing rate? Is it in the news yet that NYC first responders don’t bother reviving cardiac arrests at home to reduce risk of contagion?


  20. Proper masks protect you quite well if you don and doff them properly, shave and fit them properly. Surgical type masks or homemade masks that don’t seal around the edge very well still protect *others* quite well.

    Even crappy masks do help protect you a little bit; just remember that the outside is a major fomite when you’ve used them if you’ve been near an infectious person and still keep distance like you are unprotected. Since the protection for you is small, it needs to be a social faux pas to not wear them in shopping areas and other dangerous places; people care if they get infected, they don’t care much if they infect others so they are unmotivated to wear masks unless everyone is “in it toghether” and obeying the same rule or face scorn (e.g. supermarkets and malls turning them away at the entrance if they show up with a fever or without a mask).

    Tight sealing goggles also help; think construction safety googles. The main advantage may be to prevent you from rubbing your eyes, but still, it helps.

  21. I’m one of those people. I have 2 FFP3 (~N100) masks that I rotate; had them left over from sanding wood floor; thought about buying more in january but didn’t need to. I use them when going to the store once a week + construction safety goggles that seal around the edge. I even shave well and test that the mask seals properly.

    The virus is not very stable on fibrous surfaces. “proper cleaning” = leave the mask sitting in a paper bag (so you don’t accidentally touch it) for a week. Filter capacity will eventually drop but it will remain very much better than nothing for many many uses.

    I also wash all the food that can be washed in soap, unless it’s canned or something then I just leave it sitting for a week or two.

    I wouldn’t need to be wearing FFP3 if people took social distancing seriously and if other people wore simple surgical masks. Then the R0 would be < 1 and the disease would be under control; cases would be few enough to maintain effective contact tracing. Simple surgical masks protects others effectively; your mask protects me, my mask protects you. Since <1% afford me that courtesy it’s FFP3 all the way.

    Instead of straight up lying that masks are ineffective and asymptomatic individuals are not infectious, it would be more effective to instruct people how and why to wear them properly with propper donning and doffing (because the outside of the mask is a big fomite).

    The lie exists because hospitals felt the need to protect their supply of masks.

  22. Only about 20% of adults in US don’t have smartphones – about 50M. And you can buy a really cheap new phone for $50. So $2.5B?

    Maybe an extra $1B pre-paid to phone companies to provide free service for a month during a declared crisis – so $3.5B?

    Maybe $5B with distribution costs? Just have the phone companies mail them out to people who still have flip phones – that’ll get you 96% of the adult population.

  23. “36. When the going gets tough, the tough call for close air support.”

    [The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries]

  24. Huh? Denmark seems to have the usual suite of shutdowns? Or do you just mean no requirement for masks?

  25. Make your own or wrap a scarf around your face or buy a home-made cloth mask on line.

    My mask protects you
    Your mask protects me

  26. Third day of global new cases decreasing…

    I’d say we’ve got about one more doubling of confirmed cases in the USA, and it’s going to take about a month to get there – if we do.

  27. I’d love to wear a mask when going out in public but someone in Australia bought up all the masks and shipped them back to China.

  28. What about next time – what should we do different? Because we’re likely going to see more of these in the next few decades.

    Governments at least ought to do a better job preparing. Here’s an article about an American mask producer who has been through this before, got burned, pled for government to prepare better – and refuses to play the patsy this time.

  29. Rule #36 in which list?
    I look up Rule #36 and I find:

    Rule 36: Anonymous does not forgive.
    Rule 36: No matter what it is, it is somebody’s fetish.
    36. There will always be more drama than what you just saw.

  30. If we go on just the published numbers, Russia has come off fairly lightly.
    A suspicious person would speculate that the Russians wouldn’t mind if China, Western Europe and USA, and Iran and Turkey all got knocked back a step or two.

  31. I think this is one of those technical language issues.
    To an epidemiologist, “airborne” is strictly defined in terms of particle size and how long they will remain suspended in the air.
    To the general public, “airborne” means “you can catch it from particles in the air”.

    So the medical experts can claim “it isn’t airborne” but meanwhile people get it if someone sneezes near them.

  32. The Abbott Laboratory’s fifteen minute test is applied prior to a meeting as a safety screening precaution.

  33. The brighter people have been saying the same thing for almost two months now. HK, SK, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan…

    Unfortunately the economic kick is going to hurt everybody.

  34. Why 1000 dollars? who needs a smart phone that cost that much what everyone gets a apple? HELL no.

  35. Meh the problem was millions left Wuhan before china put up the steel bar curtain around wuhan. Add to this the MASSIVE public transport use in the big cities plus the Amount of wealthy Americans who travel or work all around the US and you get chaos.

  36. Trump’s Executive Order laying the groundwork for subsidization of ISRU is up over at Parabolicarc.
    It goes into some detail about our current legal framework, and seems to rebuke UN hegemony.
    At least to me. But I’m a deplorable and magabilly, so there is that to consider.
    I really don’t know why people keep saying that. I was a Cruz guy, and never lived near any highlands.

  37. By all means, copy the virus response from successful countries. Then charge a 10-20% tax on any products going into or coming out of China until all the money and damage this has caused countries and citizens around the world has been paid back. Also, give Vietnam and Taiwan nuclear weapons to defend themselves attached to missiles with enough range to reach Beijing. At that point we might be squared considering they are reopening their wet markets, and also lied to the world about the potential damage from this virus for months in violation of their sworn and signed word under their WHO agreements.

  38. I don’t know if that number is accurate, but I may have had it. But I just wrote it down as hayfever. I popped a temp of 102 and called the doc before going into work. Been working from home ever since.
    I do plan to be tested. Seems important to know for sure.

  39. The after. An exploration of ‘not’ humanity’s hidden depths and post-pandemic ‘coming together’, but of our shallow and status-seeking failures. Once a source of economic drive, it will be our undoing and the reason why this recession, and unemployment above 8%, will persist for at least 2 years…
    “… plunge in status-seeking behavior is another way the lockdown is a remarkable and scary social experiment. possible consequence: people won’t work as much, simply because no one is watching very closely and it is harder to get that pat on the shoulder or kind word for extra effort. Also, for many social approbation compensates for economic hardships; now considerably weaker. Before: if you were unemployed, you could still walk down the street and command attention for that one stylish item in your wardrobe, or your cool haircut, or your witty repartee. Now there’s no one on the street to impress.
    Americans are learning just how much we rely on our looks, our charisma and our eloquence for our social affect. As Sonia Gupta asked on Twitter: “Extremely attractive people: question (no snark): What’s it like to not be getting the regular daily social attention you’re accustomed to, now that you have to stay inside and isolate?” To some extent this status erosion is liberating. It may cause a lot of people to reexamine perennial questions about “what really matters.” So, fewer peer-related reasons to go out and spend money… restaurants, clothes, cars…”

  40. Boris is in the ICU. What Trump and Pence are doing not practicing social distancing is dangerous.

  41. Recent paper in Nature that covers that. I think the conclusion was while it can happen it wasn’t very effective.

  42. I went to walmart yesterday morning really early wearing a replica stormtrooper helmet and gym clothes. And instead only one person noticed lol. Figured that clubbed as a mask.

    What DID surprise me, though, is that I saw a large number of people with what appeared to be real N95 masks. So either they know how to clean them every 4 hours, or they’re just not using them properly. One guy was just wearing his fancy mask around his neck. #goodlifechoices

    If someone wants to insist we al wear something over our faces, that’s fine. But im going to go all-out costume with it.

  43. The FDA-approved Drug Ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro

    Although several clinical trials are now underway to test possible therapies, the worldwide response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been largely limited to monitoring/containment. We report here that Ivermectin, an FDA-approved anti-parasitic previously shown to have broad-spectrum anti-viral activity in vitro, is an inhibitor of the causative virus (SARS-CoV-2), with a single addition to Vero-hSLAM cells 2 hours post infection with SARS-CoV-2 able to effect ∼5000-fold reduction in viral RNA at 48 h. Ivermectin therefore warrants further investigation for possible benefits in humans.

  44. “We are living through the biggest power grab by the state in American history, the most radical suppression of Constitutional liberty in our history & the complete deprivation of most Americans means of supporting themselves. What took 2 centuries to build, we gave up in 2 weeks.” – Robert Barnes

    “the hype and over-reaction to #Covid19 is VERY similar to nuclear accidents like #Fukushima . One particular “cause of death” is given our exclusive attention, creating the impression there’d be no other causes of deaths, and implying we’d “live forever” if it weren’t for this!” – atomic wojak

  45. Does nobody see the obvious alternative explanation here? These countries are all in Asia, this virus didn’t originate in Wuhan it’s been out there for months, the countries with the flatter curves all had some herd immunity already!

  46. Rich and famous tend also to be at the apex of more complex social interactions: they tend to meet a lot of people that met a lot of people so they are actually at higher risk to get infected. Even in medieval times when noblemen decided to lock themselves in castles (or palaces) they did that with courts and servitude that had to interact with the external world.

  47. Dispersed in droplets from coughs/sneezes, sure. But airborne is not that. Jury is very much still out on whether it’s airborne.

  48. ActualIy I agree with Brian 100%. This is the way to go.

    Unfortunately I live in a country (Denmark) that has decided to do nothing. This is what a 50% tax rate gets you.

  49. The difference between “no” symptoms and “symptoms that could easily be mistaken for seasonal allergy or a mild cold” is pretty academic. Here in the South the pollen is so thick there’s a haze in the air and the cars are all yellow. If you’re not showing some kind of symptoms it’s because you’re flying high on allergy meds.

  50. If WHO’s goal was to maximize the damage outside China, I’m not sure what they’d have done differently.

    And considering the degree to which they’re penetrated by Chinese intelligence, it’s entirely possible that was their goal.

  51. I think you may be overlooking the abundance of interstate air travel in the US – every state has at least one major airport right?

    Some cities even have 2 or more.

  52. Ofc that doesn’t matter if they aren’t wearing PPE either – otherwise they will just give it to him soon enough.

    Those press conferences are going to bite him in the ass eventually.

    “Having said that, high level politicians seem to be catching this on a near daily basis. One of the few plagues that strikes the rich and famous to a seemingly greater extent than the average person. (See AIDS)”

    You are missing something there – the rich and famous are just more likely to get tested than the average person.

  53. The West wasn’t doing it wrong, they were doing it way too late. China mislead, and the WHO leader is their lapdog. On masks, very true, but the virus is airborne. That means everyone will sooner or later be infected. Every single person. Unless you live self-sufficiently for the foreseeable future (that means no contact with things that other people may have been in contact with).

  54. No, it’s not particularly deathly (less than 1%) if you can treat the sick. But my brother-in-law would had been death by now if ICU beds weren’t available. It’s extremely contagious and an important percentage are serious (like my brother-in-law) although not lethal if they can be treated.

    This is the goal of the quarantines, not to eradicate the virus (which won’t be eradicated until next year, when we have a vaccine … if ever), but to “flatten the curve” of infections, so the healthcare system doesn’t collapse having everybody sick at once.

    With no ICU beds available, not only most coronavirus cases will become lethal, but also many other sickness that won’t be able to be treated due to lack of beds and healthy doctors and nurses. The Imperial College of London (which initially was against quarantines and defended to let people get infected normally so the mild cases would finally provide herd inmunity) calculated that your plan means the dead of several millions of Americans.

  55. Taiwan is a good model. The ultimate irony, of course, is that they aren’t allowed into the WHO because China is a bully. This basic distrust of the mainland meant the Taiwanese didn’t trust the BS from the CCP and understood very early on what was going on. Plus, they have outstanding IT and can deploy it the right way.

  56. My brother in law is 47, and he just got out of the ICU yesterday (he has diabetes). You are deluding yourself if you think this only affects “useless and expendable” /s old people.

    By the way, don’t get yourself sick or have any accident this next year, the hospitals will be permanently collapsed without quarantines.

  57. Trump’s doubt and reluctance to shut down the US economy while every technocrat in the stable was insisting on doing so, is the only reaction in the US Government that has made sense in the last 20 days. This doubt and reluctance, which persists in his mind, has fully solidified Trump as a practical man and best leader we could have right now – and I didn’t even vote in 2016. Now he just attempts to be sensitive when he talks about the coming deaths of walking dead – chooses his words as carefully as he can, but he, like a small minority including myself, could not care less if an 85-year old COPD and dialysis patient in his last 2 years bites the dust before summer.

    Look at the attached data from CDC. COVID19 is 2% of all pneumonia deaths. It isn’t even on scale as a cause of death.

    Look at Table 2.

  58. You think Trump would be wearing a cheap mask? He’d be wearing the best mask. The greatest. With a big golden T embroidered on it.

  59. The WHO seems to have repeatedly given us bad advice. Fake News levels of bad advice. I’m surprised they weren’t on board the “breath in from a hair dryer” meme… (They weren’t, were they?)

    Their excuse this time is that the change is “based on new data…”

    What new data? We’ve known for weeks that there are a significant number of asymptomatic cases. The cautious assumption – which we should have been able to expect from epidemiological experts – would have been that such people might be infectious without knowing it.

  60. All good advice, but Brian claims the West was doing it wrong. Hind sight. The other problem is that if everyone runs out to buy masks, first responders and healthcare workers don’t have enough masks. The request in the U.S. is that you wear anything, even a cotton bandana for a mask. Don’t run out and hoard N95 masks and hoard it like toilet paper.

  61. Actually they are doing both. They say wear the crappy masks that don’t protect you but do wear the ones that don’t. I have a half a mind to clobber together a DIY PAPR and say a pox on all of them.

  62. Cheap cloth masks don’t protect you, they protect others from you. I’m pretty sure that goes against everything Trump stands for. 😉

  63. the Spread of cronavirus in United States has more to do with the the US culture of driving long distances in automobiles… it’s very difficult to contain the virus because of that… in Asian countries people don’t commute to work in cars or travel as widely… If the virus hits they shutdown public transport then nobody can go anywhere..

  64. It might be a bit late to pull that off and it assumes universal smart phone usage. Off course if the government started handing them out with two years free service included then they could fix that. I haven’t run the numbers but I suspect that’s cheaper than all the the other heroic measures being taken.

  65. If I had a team of security guards around me to prevent any unscreened people getting close, I’d be a lot more relaxed and take less precautions too.

    Having said that, high level politicians seem to be catching this on a near daily basis. One of the few plagues that strikes the rich and famous to a seemingly greater extent than the average person. (See AIDS)

  66. Who is violating freedom more?

    • The places that say you must wear a mask
    • The places that say you must not wear masks

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