What The U.S. Might Learn From China’s Approach To COVID-19 – New York Times health and science reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. points to China as a model of how to stop a fast moving pandemic in its tracks.

China is not to blame for this virus. They didn’t release it on purpose, or accidentally from a lab. And they didn’t cover it up. The mayor of Wuhan covered it up and when Beijing found out about it they chastised him hard, forced him to apologize on national TV, and took swift, decisive action.

Chinese people were required to take mandatory testing and if they were positive, they were immediately taken away, separated from their families, and put in gymnasium-style hospitals where they slept on beds separate from each other, were tended by workers in PPE and – when they recovered – set free and home. It’s harsh but not cruel and it got the pandemic under control.

China has committed numerous awful crimes against its own people, but this was not one of those cases, McNeil notes. Quite the opposite; the Chinese government is demonstrating leadership and doing the right thing.

The US’s more wishy-washy approach is going to stretch out for years and cost many, many unnecessary deaths. This doesn’t mean autocracy wins; World War II teaches us that free societies can beat autocracies when those free societies have a national will and strong, intelligent leadership (rather than the current Republican Party).

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner