TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On Monday (Dec. 14), a prominent Chinese-American scientist posted a tweet showing the stark contrast in Taiwan's coronavirus cases compared to Florida's, despite similar population sizes.
On Monday, Eric Feigl-Ding, senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC, posted a tweet with the heading "LEADERSHIP MATTERS," followed by a comparison of the handling of the coronavirus by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Taiwanese Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), a Johns Hopkins-trained epidemiologist. Chen was at the helm when the outbreak started in Taiwan and oversaw the launch of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
In the image included with the tweet, Taiwanese citizens can be seen dutifully donning masks, while DeSantis can be seen ripping his off. In the data listed below, it can be seen that despite the fact that Taiwan has 2.3 million more people than Florida, it has only had 740 cases and seven deaths compared to Florida's 795,000 cases and 16,647 deaths.
It should also be noted that Taiwan is much smaller in size at 36,193 km², compared to Florida's 170,312 km², with much of its population confined to narrow coastal areas, theoretically making it more difficult to contain outbreaks.
The difference in outcomes can be attributed to dramatically different governmental approaches to tackling the virus. At the start of the outbreak, Taiwan immediately began requiring visitor quarantines, mask-wearing, targeted testing, and contact tracing.
Florida, on the other hand, has only sporadically implemented quarantines, mask requirements, testing, and contact tracing. In fact, DeSantis has continuously sought to lift restrictions on public gatherings, occupancy limits, and mask requirements while blaming the rise in cases on increased testing.
Florida has had 1.13 million cases and 19,865 deaths. In contrast, Taiwan has had only 740 cases and seven deaths.