COVID-19 Pandemic: What Can the West Learn From the East?

Document Type: Perspective

Authors

1 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

2 HIV/STI Surveillance Research Center, and WHO Collaborating Center for HIV Surveillance, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 Center for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

4 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, London, ON, Canada

5 Department of Family Medicine, Western University, London, ON, Canada

6 Department of Population Health, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Strassen, Luxembourg

Abstract

Differences in public health approaches to control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic could largely explain substantial variations in epidemiological indicators (such as incidence and mortality) between the West and the East. COVID-19 revealed vulnerabilities of most western countries’ healthcare systems in their response to the ongoing public health crisis. Hence, western countries can possibly learn from practices from several East Asian countries regarding infrastructures, epidemiological surveillance and control strategies to mitigate the public health impact of the pandemic. In this paper, we discuss that the lack of rapid and timely community-centered approaches, and most importantly weak public health infrastructures, might have resulted in a high number of infected cases and fatalities in many western countries.

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