TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A top U.S. disease expert on Monday (Dec. 28) pointed out that residents of Taiwan are 3,400 times less likely to die from the Wuhan coronavirus than their counterparts in the U.S.
In order to highlight the stark difference in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic between Taiwan and the U.S., Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Monday posted a tweet in which he compared the odds of death if an American had moved to one of the many countries that had better managed their domestic coronavirus outbreaks since the start of the pandemic in January. Frieden started by stating that if a person had moved to Denmark, Norway, or Finland in January, their chances of dying would have been five to 10 times lower than the U.S. for this year.
If an American had moved to South Korea, Liberia, or Hong Kong, their odds of dying would have been 50 to 60 times less. If they had opted for New Zealand, the likelihood of them dying would be 200 times lower.
With only seven deaths to COVID-19, if an American had moved to Taiwan in January, the likelihood of them dying from the disease would be 3,400 lower than the U.S. Within nine hours, the tweet gained 10,000 likes, 4,000 retweets, and over 300 comments.
One of the main explanations for this difference is the fact that the tables were turned during the SARS outbreak in 2003, when Taiwan was third in the world in infections and deaths. Having learned a hard lesson from the local outbreak, the Taiwan government put plans in place to prevent a future such pandemic from ravaging the country and laid the groundwork for the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), which was activated on Jan. 20 of this year.
By Oct. 3, such was the difference in governmental approaches to the pandemic and outcomes, that Taiwan had fewer cases nationwide (zero) than the White House, which had 14 confirmed cases that day.
The U.S. currently has 19,484,710 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 338,290 deaths. In contrast, Taiwan, a nation of nearly 24 million people, has only 795 cases and seven deaths.
Perspective: If an American had moved to Denmark, Norway or Finland in January, her or his risk of dying from Covid would have been 5-10 times lower in 2020. South Korea, Liberia, or Hong Kong: 50-60 times lower. New Zealand: 200 times lower. Taiwan: 3,400 times lower.— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrTomFrieden) December 28, 2020