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Believe it or not, one country has gone 200 days without a COVID-19 case

Published Oct 29th, 2020 8:07PM EDT
Coronavirus update
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  • Most every coronavirus update these days is a frightful summation of more pain to come from the pandemic this winter, but there’s one country that’s beaten back the coronavirus to a truly impressive degree.
  • Taiwan, an island nation of 23 million people, has not recorded a local COVID-19 case in 200 days.
  • Moreover, Taiwan has only recorded 550 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, as well as only seven deaths.

If you only listen to certain expert voices right now to get a sense of where we are in the coronavirus pandemic, you’d be forgiven for feeling pretty downcast right now. As an example, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, speaking about the pandemic there during a press conference on Thursday, sounded truly depressing: “The virus is raging throughout the state of Ohio. There’s no place to hide.” As far as the country as a whole, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci sounded especially dire in various coronavirus updates he shared on Wednesday, such as during an appearance on CNBC’s The News with Shepard Smith which saw the doctor point to rising COVID-19 case counts in 47 states. That led Dr. Fauci to lament that pretty much the entirety of the US is “going in the wrong direction.”

The thing is, though, it doesn’t have to be this way. For proof, consider the fact that there is actually one country in the world that has not, as of the time of this writing, had a local case of COVID-19 in 200 days.

Taiwan’s coronavirus record, to an outsider, looks truly stunning. A fresh wave of the pandemic is exploding across the US and Europe at the moment, while in Taiwan, an island nation of 23 million people, its last local case was recorded on April 12. And there’s reportedly been nothing since then.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Taiwan has recorded only 550 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and just seven deaths. Taiwan, according to a TIME magazine report, has kept things at bay to that degree thus: “Experts say closing borders early and tightly regulating travel have gone a long way toward fighting the virus. Other factors include rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing. Further, Taiwan’s deadly experience with SARS has scared people into compliance.”

“Taiwan is the only major country that has so far been able to keep community transmission of COVID eliminated,” Peter Collignon, an infectious disease physician and professor at the Australian National University Medical School, told the magazine. Furthermore, he added that Taiwan “probably had the best result around the world,” something that’s “even more impressive” for an economy with a population about the same size as Australia’s — and with many people living in close proximity to each other, in apartments.

One caveat to all this: This should not be construed as saying Taiwan has been given some sort of all-clear signal. We stressed that it’s been 200 days since Taiwan recorded a local case, but the nation actually essentially imported 20 cases over the past two weeks, according to news reports. They came from other Southeast Asian nations, so it remains to be seen if those imported cases go on to spur a local outbreak.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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