In Japan, covid control has been easy in a country where the greater good is paramount

Japan has been extraordinarily successful (among nations with the largest economies) in controlling covid.

This New York Times articles explore some of the reasons:

To understand how Japan has fared better than most of the world in containing the dire consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, consider Mika Yanagihara, who went shopping for flowers this past week in central Tokyo. Even when walking outside in temperatures in the mid-90s, she kept the lower half of her face fully covered.

“People will stare at you,” Ms. Yanagihara, 33, said, explaining why she didn’t dare take off her mask. “There is that pressure.”

Japan’s Covid death rate, just one-twelfth of that in the United States, is the lowest among the world’s wealthiest nations. With the world’s third-largest economy and 11th-largest populace, Japan also tops global rankings in vaccination and has consistently had one of the globe’s lowest infection rates.

Although no government authority has ever mandated masks or vaccinations or instituted lockdowns or mass surveillance, Japan’s residents have largely evaded the worst ravages of the virus. Instead, in many ways, Japan let peer pressure do a lot of the work.

Even now, as average daily cases have fallen to just 12 per 100,000 residents — about a third of the average in the United States — a government survey in May found that close to 80 percent of people working in offices or enrolled in school wear masks and about 90 percent do so when using public transit. Movie theaters, sports stadiums and shopping malls continue to request that visitors wear masks, and for the most part, people comply. The term “face pants” has become a buzzword, implying that dropping a mask would be as embarrassing as taking off one’s underwear in public.

I like the quote from the guy who basically says that extreme social conformity cuts both ways, but it happened to be a godsend for covid control.

You can read the rest here.

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