9 votes

Japan as a coronavirus outlier: conspiracy, good fortune, or efficacy?

4 comments

  1. skybrian
    Link
    Yes, this is both confusing and potentially very important. A good one for the "unanswered questions" list.

    Yes, this is both confusing and potentially very important. A good one for the "unanswered questions" list.

    3 votes
  2. [3]
    silfilim
    Link
    I recently read a Japanese blog post on the subject from Mar 20: why there hadn't been an outbreak and the theory behind the government's strategy up to that point. Here are some rough notes and...

    I recently read a Japanese blog post on the subject from Mar 20: why there hadn't been an outbreak and the theory behind the government's strategy up to that point. Here are some rough notes and some excerpts from the notes:

    Keep in mind that Japan's R0 has been lower than that of other countries. Otherwise, Japan would've been in an overshoot situation by February like them.
    ..
    The real reason is unknown right now.
    ..
    It may have to do with the fact that many people already had a habit of personal protection in the form of hand washing and masks and no cultural norm to be physically close to other people, such as shaking hands or hugging.

    [..]

    Group infections we've seen so far have occurred in situations that meet these criteria:

    1. Closed space with poor ventilation
    2. Many people were gathered densely
    3. Conversations or vocalizations within short distance (be able to touch each other if you reach out)

    These three conditions explain why packed trains have not caused cluster infection (isolated infections are still possible): they satisfy the conditions of closed space and close quarters, but not close contact.

    If every citizen can reliably avoid these conditions, which should be fairly easy compared to lockdowns and quarantines issued in other countries, large-scale secondary infections can be prevented.

    By altering human behavior in a relatively easy manner, Japan may be able to prevent cluster infections (not all infections; this is the key difference) and suppress most of corona infections.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      I just read through the article, its comment section, and your comment, thinking, "Huh, some food for thought here." Then I scroll further down to What's Trending - Tokyo governor urges people to...

      I just read through the article, its comment section, and your comment, thinking, "Huh, some food for thought here."

      Then I scroll further down to What's Trending - Tokyo governor urges people to stay indoors over weekend as virus cases spike, and Tokyo inches toward lockdown as virus cases climb and national emergency looms.

      3 votes
      1. silfilim
        Link Parent
        There was a special program by the public broadcaster of Japan (NHK) on March 22, in which one of the experts admitted that their strategy up to that point may not be able to suppress the second...

        There was a special program by the public broadcaster of Japan (NHK) on March 22, in which one of the experts admitted that their strategy up to that point may not be able to suppress the second influx of infection that they were beginning to see (speculated to be from people returning home from overseas).

        On top of this recent surge, a widely known comedian passed away today due to the virus at the age of 70 -- this may influence people's general attitude towards the pandemic.

        Anyhow, I'm watching this chart hoping that all the lines start dropping.

        1 vote