1/30 In two forthcoming pieces, I examine #Japan's response to the #COVID19 #coronavirus #pandemic. I'll summarize the main non-theoretical points here (long thread alert!).
2/30 #Japan’s figures have always looked good compared to many other countries, which initially led to suspicion that the ‘real’ numbers of #COVID19 #coronavirus infections & death were being played down.
5/30 The February #COVID19 outbreak in #Hokkaido was contained through a state of emergency & cluster-tracing, but was not followed up with widespread testing, resulting in a second wave. This lesson was also not learned on a national scale. https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-lockdown-lessons-hokkaidos-second-081728538.html
7/30 The effect of the 2020 Tokyo #Olympics was twofold: a pre- #COVID19 shift in resources away from pandemic preparation to terrorism that happened just when the reverse was needed; and during the early outbreak, a paralyzing fear that the Games would be postponed or cancelled.
9/30 After the announcement of the postponing of the #Olympics to 2021, the infection rates for #COVID19 in #Japan did suddenly jump and the pattern of increase thereafter assumed a more ‘typical’ pattern, although death rates remained low.
11/30 State #compensation following voluntary #lockdown policies were ludicrous and the ridicule over $40 meat and fish vouchers was deserved, especially in comparison to what was provided by countries like Canada.
12/30 Many observers have put forward a "cultural hypothesis", which proposes that #Japan has several sociocultural traits that make #infectiousdisease spread less rapidly and widely. These include:
13/30 A propensity towards #socialdistancing and reserve. #Japanese people generally try to avoid touching each other in public, and especially not skin-to-skin, for example holding hands, kissing, touching each others faces etc.
14/30 Everyday #hygiene. It is argued that #handwashing , even it is often perfunctory, is frequent; taking off shoes before entering the house in #Japan is normal etc.
15/30 Citizen #responsibility for #infectionprevention. Wearing of non-medical #facemasks is normal in #Japan, not to stop the wearer from being infected, but for anyone with a cough, cold and so on, to protect others.
19/30 What remains is the lack of skin-to-skin touching, and the use of #facemasks. It is no exaggeration to say that the non-medical facemask may be the most important everyday technology deployed in #Japan and other East Asian countries to fight #COVID19.
22/30 In addition, while #Japan has a reputation for social compliance, the broadly voluntary #lockdown measures to control movement, encourage people to work from home and not to go out to entertainment centres, have been far from universally observed.
24/30 Until recently, #Japan had not showcased any novel #technologies of #pandemic containment or monitoring. Unlike some neighbouring countries, there is no real case to be made for #surveillance overreach in Japan’s response to #COVID19 (so far).
25/30 A lot of #datacollection & collation in local government in #Japan is low-tech & uses pencils, paper, the fax-machine & hanko. There has been no change in these practices during the #pandemic. This had led to problems with both speed & mistakes in the copying of figures.
28/30 #contactracingapps are probably unnecessary and ineffective, however if an app is to be used, then a limited, #anonymized, #decentralized, #opensource app would be the most #privacy-respecting #technology. #Mamoriai appears to be among the less privacy-invasive approaches.
I should say that there are quite a few other things not in these tweets notably the possibility of the #BCG vaccination being protective; and the role of the Line app, which is ubiquitous in #Japan and increasingly difficult to live without...
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