Short shelf life for success stories in pandemic countries
The author of this article is the chief global strategist of Morgan Stanley Investment Management and the author of “Ten Rules for Successful Countries.”
The frequently asked question-which country is winning the fight against the epidemic-now has only one coherent answer. It depends on the month. The virus has repeatedly become winners and losers, and vice versa.
Not long ago, the U.S. and U.K. were condemned for their poor leadership response “Liberal Populists” And was inspired by the ignorant “faith in the greatness of the nation”.Now they are widely praised as Rapid vaccine launch, And is regarded as the safest holiday destination this summer.
At the same time, from Asia to Europe, many countries that received early praise for containing the virus have since suffered a debilitating boom, slow vaccine launches, or both. What is shocking in all these cases is how widespread national and cultural stereotypes are used to explain successes and failures, which are then forgotten just as quickly. No one calls the United States “third World countries right now.
In South Korea and Taiwan began to seek winning strategies, where the low caseload was attributed to the well-prepared bureaucracy, and orderly social preparation followed the rules to a certain extentHard to imagine in the west. “Especially before that, the number of cases in South Korea has surged.
After 102 days of operation without local cases, Thailand Referenced as model Last September, the World Health Organization (WHO) praised the massive investment in public health. Many analysts go further, citing the culture of Thailand and its neighbors in the Mekong region to praise cleanliness and unwillingness to interact with society.
It also provides lifestyle explanations to explain the low number of early deaths in India. Living in densely packed houses, eating unsanitary food and drinking dirty water has enabled millions of Indians to build “innate immunity” to pathogens including the coronavirus. That’s the story. Last month, Thailand was hit hard, India lashes out for a surge in the number of cases.
The shelf life of stereotyped success stories in the West is similarly short.Swedish Gentle touch Admirers of the blockade, they speculate that the country’s “Integrated Culture” Will enforce safety behaviors. In addition, many Swedes are said to be lonely, which is a natural form of social distancing.In any case, there was a surge in cases last fall, and the King of Sweden Declare Its strategy failed.
Germany fell at the same time.After the first wave, I was one of many analysts idea From effective government to cooperative federalism, this highlights Germany’s existing advantages. Others praised rational minds for their willingness to emulate “Chief Scientist” Angela Merkel. Then in winter, the second wave has a greater impact.
Perhaps no country has suffered a greater decline than Canada, which had a much lower load capacity last fall than the United States. Canadians proudly praise its excellent health care and public spirit, as well as the “sane” political culture led by the prime minister, who dismissed strange medical theories.
Now, the vaccine distribution is Expand faster In the United States than in Canada. Canada has more daily cases than the United States.Canadian claim A new “humble” admiration for American medical technology. The same is true for some Europeans. But history will judge how countries perform throughout the pandemic, not in May 2021.
Yes, the virus was not crushed”The idea that American exceptionalism has been hit hardJust as many people expected a year ago. However, no major country has been immune to cattle. Reopening and locking are trial-and-error experiments, carried out at different speeds across the globe. No one can be sure how the endgame will proceed.
Vaccines may indeed be the miracle weapon that ultimately wins this battle.However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is very cautious send Message Although vaccines are very effective, it is not yet fully understood whether they can fight all variants. It has not yet declared victory. The wise choice for others is not to do so.
Armchair epidemiologist’s lesson: It is a mistake to pick a winner in a battle. Recall how terrible the victory last month before the new winner was announced this month. Realize that the virus has its own long-term survival plan.
More importantly, look at how bad cultural stereotypes explain success and failure. Sketching comics has never been a useful tool for predicting the rise and fall of a country. The coronavirus caused them to fall into contemplation again.