by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
That’s what Bill Gates said in a recent interview, and he’s right:
During an interview with Chris Wallace on the Fox News program “Fox News Sunday,” Gates cited Taiwan as a primary example of a country that has handled the pandemic more effectively than others. He also suggested that the U.S. learn from the island nation’s implementation of epidemic control policies. …
Gates highlighted Taiwan as an “exemplary” country because it quickly identified the problem and initiated community-wide testing early on, prioritizing who got tested first. He said that as a result, Taiwan would not suffer from the “disease burden or economic effect” that other nations would. …
Taiwan had learned valuable lessons from the SARS outbreak which caused 181 deaths in the country in 2003. Among the lessons learned were the requirement for a centralized command center to fight epidemics … and the necessity to be highly skeptical of data and information released by China when an outbreak begins.
On Dec. 31 of 2019, Taiwan questioned the World Health Organization (WHO) about the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the virus but never received a response. Given China’s previous track record of covering up outbreaks such as SARS and African swine fever, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), that same day, began sending officials to board aircraft arriving from Wuhan and screen passengers for virus symptoms to proactively prevent transmission in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s approach has combined border controls with wide-spread testing, contact tracing, and the isolation of infected individuals along with the universal wearing of masks. Taiwan’s approach has done a much better job of stopping the spread of COVID-19 than the ham-fisted universal lock-down approach we’ve been applying in the US, and it has required fewer infringements on individual freedom and automy and done much less harm to the economy.
Maybe it’s not too late for North Carolina to follow Taiwan’s example!