TAIWAN: How An Island 80 Miles From China Dodged Most Of The Coronavirus Crisis

Written by Wes Walker on April 24, 2020

How did a country in the shadow of China, with massive population movements back and forth to China wind up with only 6 Coronavirus deaths?

Conventional wisdom would have us expect that a history of 10% of your population moving back and forth between viral hot zones would doom a country to feel the brunt of a massive outbreak.

Other places with much less direct connection to Chian were crushed under the strain. But that other shoe never dropped in Taiwan.

What did they do right that others did not?

Bi-khim Hsiao, Senior Advisor to Taiwan’s National Security Council, was interviewed by Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen on the ‘What The Hell Is Going On’ podcast… because they wanted to know the answer to exactly that question.

Taiwan was sounding the alarm as early as December 31st, warning the World Health Organization that China was treating a new strain of atypical pneumonia; that they were treating these patients in isolation, which was a tacit admission of human-to-human transmission.

This is a story, among other things of the contrast between a free China — Taiwan — whose handling of this threat was as close to flawless as anyone in the world, and the Communist China who unleashed this virus not only upon millions of their own citizens but (because of their gross mishandling of the spread and their deliberate misinformation) also unleashed it upon the unsuspecting world.

 

What did Taiwan (Free China) do right?

Bi-khim Hsiao credits Four main factors that put them in a state of readiness to get ahead of the threat and be proactive to it rather than reactive.

1) Threat Awareness — Since they had suffered greatly under the SARS pandemic, they were much more proactive in watching for and responding to viral threats.

2) Exclusion From WHO — Since China has made sure that Taiwan does not have a seat at the WHO, they are responsible for acquiring their own information concerning health issues. They didn’t have to buy the WHO’s obvious lies about the status of the outbreak in Wuhan because they had been gathering their own information. Information that had not been corrupted by corrupt sockpuppets repeating lies of the Chinese Communist Party.

3) Natural suspicion of official Chinese reporting — Taiwan has a long history of believing that China lies. About pretty much everything. So rather than take any official reports at face value, they did their own digging.

4) Punitive Actions By China — Ironically, China tried to hurt Taiwan economically and influence an election by forbidding tourism from the Chinese mainland for a period of time. This may have actually HELPED Taiwan more than it hurt them.

 

Taiwan’s Response To The Viral Threat

Taiwan got aggressive in their response to this threat.

1) Medical / Health — Aggressive identification of high-risk people; government tracking by cell phone; isolating/quarantine of high-risk people for the duration of contagious period — including government-designated hotels where necessary

2) Critical Medical Supplies — Cooperation between government and industry over supply chain of key supplies like masks… ramping up production from 2Million a day to 15M/day to avoid shortages, hoarding, and gouging

3) Public Information — Taiwan aggressively sought maximum transparency with respect to the outbreak, with a point of identifying and countering significant Chinese misinformation.

What Were Their Results?

At the time of this recording, earlier this week…

There are only 393 reported cases. Of those 393, 338 of those cases were imported, and only 55 cases of community-to-community transmission have been identified.

Sounds pretty good so far? We’re not done.

In a population of some 23 Million souls, there were tens of thousands of people placed in mandatory isolation. Does that seem like a lot?

How many Americans are in some sort of mandatory isolation right now?

That’s right, like so many other things in life, perspective is everything.

What are the takeaways from her assessment?

Preparedness is key.  Stop taking what WHO and China say as gospel truth. And maybe think twice before letting the worst-case-scenarios of some supposed experts panic us into locking down the whole damned country again. Especially if the advice is coming from the radically risk-averse liability insurance lawyer types.

By definition, most worst case scenarios do not happen. In real life we walk a tightrope between risk and reward. Or even competing risks.

Those are compelling explanations for what went down. But in the interest of fair reporting, we will include a link to another compelling explanation, for why both they AND Hong Kong — who got hit with it early but since recovered — have weathered the storm without shelter-in-place orders.

We’ll leave you to decide which explanation, or combination of both, best fits the facts.