A Tale of Three Countries and Their Responses to the Pandemic

Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in one way or another. Some countries have taken unique approaches to deal with the virus, while others adopted mainstream policies and rules to manage outbreaks. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how Italy and England decided to manage the outbreak within their own populations. How fast did they respond? How many people have been infected? And lastly, what can we learn from these countries?

First, let’s compare the two countries’ speeds in response to the virus. As some of us know, England’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was very adamant in his opinion on social distancing, as well as on the pandemic itself. Most of the British Parliament seemed to hope that if enough of the population was exposed to the virus, they would become immune, and there would be no need to shut down the country. But as it turns out, being exposed to the virus did not make most of the population immune. Sadly, Boris Johnson was himself infected and was recently released from the hospital, after spending some time in the ICU. Now let’s look at the response of Italy, the first European country to be majorly affected by the virus. Italy was infected and completely unprepared. Even though it only took a couple of weeks for the government to get a grip on the situation and close all nonessential businesses, the damage had already been done. The country quickly reached over 100,00 confirmed cases of the virus. Both countries were unable to respond properly to the coronavirus.

Currently, the United States holds the number one spot in both total number of infected people and total deaths caused by the coronavirus. Not long ago, this title was held by Italy, but it seems that they have finally peaked, and soon their numbers should come down to a manageable range. England’s death toll is still on the rise, just as in America. Both countries are still struggling with COVID-19, and it appears that this will continue for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean that we should completely give up hope. Italy has been enforcing social distancing for a while, and their hard work is paying off with a drop in cases. England hasn’t been infected for as long as Italy, but one can assume that if they, too, abide by social distancing, their case numbers are bound to drop.

Now, what should we do? England was infected at the same time as us, so there isn’t much to learn from them (other than to social distance ourselves). Italy is where we can learn how to respond. Since they were infected before most western countries, they are essentially a window into the future for us. All we need to do is listen. For now, we should stay inside and wait for our own numbers to drop; while doing so, we should be carefully watching Italy’s cases. This will allow us to see how long it will take their cases to become minimal, and for them to slowly return to a (somewhat) normal lifestyle. Only then will we be able to make an accurate prediction of our own future. For now stay safe, social distance, and wash your hands.

Sources: The Washington Post, ABC News

Miranda Connolly

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