Ontario vs. Tianjin during COVID-19

Province of Ontario, Canada — pop. 13.45 million — 16,608 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 1st, 2020

City of Tianjin, China — pop. 15.62 million — 190 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 1st, 2020

The similitude in population size made me want to probe into the cause of the huge disparity between the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In Ontario:

A. Few people wear PPE voluntarily. Reasons:

  1. “We should leave PPE to healthcare workers.” (Ridiculous. You can wear non surgical / homemade masks.)

  2. “Health authorities / our doctors haven’t told me to.” (Even more ridiculous. As the top authority in public health, the WHO has misjudged and downplayed the mess multiple times. Putting your life in others’ hands is what imbeciles would do. Denying proactive measures is even more foolish.)

  3. “People can’t use it correctly, so PPE is not effective for them. They don’t deserve the right to PPE.” (Hilarious. Were you able to use the life vest correctly when you boarded the plane for the first time? What made you able to use it? Besides, just because you can’t use it correctly doesn’t mean it’s not effective!)

  4. “It’s not right when stores ask me to wear masks but don’t supply them.” (Does Costco supply shirts and shoes for you to shop there? Grow up, man!)

B. Authorities lay emphasis on social distancing — 6 feet, 2 meters, whatevs. (So some people think the distance itself guarantees safety, which is a case of massive miseducation.)

C. People’s response: a limited number of residents are fully cooperative. Rejection, skepticism, confusion, and protests have been seen across the province and the country.

D. At present, Ontarians are struggling to fight against the virus and recover economy at the same time. The numbers of confirmed and deceased cases are still mounting. The curve is yet to be flattened.

In Tianjin:

A. Nearly all people have been wearing PPE voluntarily since late January, not on doctors’ advice. Reasons:

  1. Most people in China have no family doctors. They rely on their own wisdom.

  2. Doctors in China normally do not address commonsense issues. When air is heavily polluted, for example, most people put on face masks without consulting any medical expert. This is how commonsense works. Asking a doctor if you should wear a face mask when something like SARS starts to prevail is like asking a firefighter if you should run out of the house when flames overwhelm your property. “Why would you waste time asking stupid questions? Just do it right away.”

  3. Chinese people were so proactive as to have acquired face masks from all over the world (including their own country) in a short time before mid February. Local healthcare workers were affected to some extent. — This is not a good thing, but it reflects how quickly people’s awareness of PPE grew. And fortunately, they overcame the difficulties despite a temporary lack of PPE for medical workers.

B. Authorities mandated social avoidance (curfew around the clock), not social distancing, which is only theoretically effective but not pragmatic at all. After all, people can’t take a measuring tape with them to keep others at a distance at all times.

C. People’s response: almost all people are in an acquiescent mood. They avoid gatherings, even those with family members and close friends. Barely anyone questions the motive behind authorities’ decisions because they want to stay well and live longer and they believe the government is simply protecting them and helping them achieve this end. Little confusion is seen: “a virus came, we’re just hiding away, and experts will beat it. That’s it.” It’s not going to translate as “a loss of freedom.”

D. At present, people in Tianjin can travel anywhere they want. They can go to work, go shopping, hang out with friends, gather with family, etc. When not home they wear face masks. Many workplaces and stores still require face masks. No new cases have been reported since weeks ago.

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