Demographic Doom Podcast

36. Japan vs. Italy: Why is the virus exploding in one but not the other?

March 26, 2020

On March 26, 2020, the world was in the grips of "Lockdown Fever" when whole countries and regions were shutting down in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Transportation was restricted; nonessential businesses were closed, and workers were told to go home for an indeterminate period. Glenn Campbell regards these lockdowns as "national suicide", sabotaging the economies of the affected regions while saving few lives. In his words, lockdowns are "trying to kill a mouse with a sledgehammer." You may get the mouse eventually, but you destroy your own home in the process. There are better ways to control the disease, mainly by changing human hygiene practices and contact behavior. To illustrate why these methods work and lockdowns don't, Glenn the explores the vastly different outcomes of two countries: Japan and Italy. Japan, exposed to the virus first, has suffered only 45 deaths to date, while Italy, with half the population and exposed later, already has 7000. In Japan, few businesses have been closed. The subways remain packed with riders, and clubs are still open, while Italy is in full lockdown mode. What accounts for this radical difference in infection rates? If you understand that, you'll understand what really works in controlling the disease and why blanket lockdowns are such a tragic mistake. — Also see — Instagram & Twitter: @DemographicDoom — See the video version of this episode for notes, comments & corrections: [ep 36, 26 Mar 2020]

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