Is This Day-0?
There is a little country that, for its geographical position and history should have suffered the most dramatic consequences of COVID-19 outbreak. This country is Taiwan, that yesterday for the first time since the beginning of the crisis has declared zero new cases of Coronavirus. This is a picture of Taipei Grand Hotel, redecorated to celebrate this encouraging news.
Other countries wishing to learn how Taiwan managed to skillfully control the pandemic, will have a hard time. Taiwan is not a member of the World Health Organization and hence is not invited to meetings and summits where this subject is discussed. If you’re still curious to know how they did it, you can find the full coverage in this article of The Nation.
It is day-0 for Taiwan and we must commend the efforts made there as well as the brilliant results.
Is it day-0 for other countries around the world?
A few things happened in the last few days that make me think that the worse may finally be behind us. The first and most important is the recent evolution of pandemic trends.
Lately, my biggest concern was the United States, where the initial underestimation of the problem has been only partially corrected as the virus continued spreading across the country. The number of daily new cases is steadily hovering around twenty-six thousand units for many days in a row, which indicates that the spread is no longer accelerating. On the economy side, Federal Reserve stepped in heavily to support USA economy and effects on the financial markets are visible. In the current grim scenario, this is great news.
The situation in China is a lot better: Wuhan is no longer under lock-down and yesterday, when I looked at FlightRadar24, China sky was full of planes.
In Europe, Switzerland, badly hit in the early days of the pandemic, made giant leaps toward recovery. Italy and Spain are heading towards progressive release of lock-down measures. The charts of daily new cases in both countries are still heading downwards; the virus spread is decelerating and soon Spain will start observing a reduction in the number of infected people. Finally, the situation in France seems to head towards an improvement: similarly to the United States, the new daily cases curve shows signs of a flattening trend.
At my job, airlines are shifting from a crisis mindset to planning for recovery. Some of them are starting to publish flight schedules for months to come for some selected destinations; it is a good sign but we are conscious that travel industry will take a much longer time to recover: border lock-downs will not dissipate suddenly, but will be removed progressively as the different countries involved progress in fighting the virus.
Overall, I feel that the world is learning to co-exist with Coronavirus and is adapting to it: the race to find effective treatment and vaccination is open and coping strategies are being developed everywhere. Almost all the world leaders have understood that saving their nations economy or people life are not two mutually exclusive choices. Even the reluctant ones are coming to terms with the conclusion that social distancing is the only effective strategy today. They understood that stopping the virus spread in any possible way will limit the loss of both human life and national wealth. Lessons are being exchanged: for example many countries are rushing to implement effective contact tracing technologies that so far have been successfully adopted only by a few.
A real recovery is not in sight, yet, but I am hopeful. Maybe we will soon be able to put our energy into reconstructing our society in a creative and better way. The times may soon be right to start re-inventing ourselves.
On a personal note, I already started re-inventing myself: I am continuing my online German class while my girlfriend learns French. I am on track to beat my monthly push-up records and as my domestic helper is stuck in her apartment, for the second week in a row, today I spent a good part of the day cleaning my place from the ground up. After Coronavirus forced us to clean our dining table to transform it into a home office, I and my girlfriend even discovered the intimate meaning of the words “dining table”. After two years spent having dinner on the couch in front of the TV, we realized that now that the table is tidy, we can even have dinner on it! As you can see, there are still many things to be happy about, there is still hope 😉