15 May 2020

Congratulations to Slovakia

In the face of the claim that the United States is "leading the way" in coronavirus management, I'll post this summary of the response by Slovakia:
In March, when the severity of the coronavirus pandemic was becoming clear but many of the world’s leading nations had yet to formulate a response to it, one country was springing into action. Within 10 days of identifying its first case, it went into lockdown: Its borders were sealed, schools and restaurants were closed, and face masks were made mandatory in public places, with some of the country’s most visible public figures, including its president and prime minister, sporting them to set an example. 
Today, life there is slowly returning to its usual rhythm. Small shops are reopening and hotels, restaurant terraces, and hairdressers have been invited to join them. Should its infection rate continue to slow, schools and sporting events won’t be far behind. The remarkable thing is, this isn’t an especially rich country with a strong national health system, nor was it regarded as particularly well equipped to handle a pandemic in the first place. 
The country in question? Slovakia, the nation with the lowest per-capita death rate in all of Europe, and the one that on Friday recorded its first day of no new cases since March... 
Three key factors helped it. The first, and perhaps the most fundamental, was its national leadership. The country’s president, Zuzana Čaputová, and its nascent government administration, which came to power amid the pandemic, were among the first to model best practices for how to handle the outbreak—most notably by wearing protective masks and gloves for the government’s swearing-in ceremony. Their efforts played a crucial role in normalizing the use of face masks across the country... 
That signal from the top in Slovakia helped set the tone for the second factor: the widespread adoption of face masks. Despite often-conflicting advice about the efficacy of masks, Slovakia was among the first countries worldwide (and the second in Europe, after the Czech Republic) to make them mandatory in public spaces... 
The third and final factor that contributed to Slovakia’s success was its decision to impose a nationwide lockdown when it did. Although it wasn’t among the first countries to face the coronavirus on its soil, it behaved as though it were: Ten days after reporting its first case, the country mobilized.
Common sense, following standard scientific principles.  It's not that hard when you have intelligent leadership.  The story continues at The Atlantic.


  1. To be fair, Slovakia is smaller than New York City, and their first case was in March. To put that in perspective, the United States got its first case less than a week after the WHO said there was no definitive proof of human-to-human transmission of Covid-19. If they really behaved as one of the first countries to get it (US, France, Italy, UK) they would have been dealing with inaccurate info and an unclear human impact of both the virus and a shutdown.

  2. It sure is confusing sometimes because I see articles from both sides of the ideological aisle that state opposing thoughts about masks. Legitimate sources say they are absolutely necessary, and other legitimate sources say they are neither necessary or helpful unless you are sick. I've even seen some say that they are dangerous if you are not sick.

  3. here in Australia thing are slowly starting to reopen and our lock down is being reduced. as of today I'm allowed to travel 150km from home and most retail shopping is open, restaurants and cafes are limited to 10 indoor customers and can provide takeaway meals and alcohol. the reason for our reopening isn't because people protested, and there were some minor protests, its because our conservative government reacted relatively quickly and shut our boarders and put us in lock down. now our health system has to deal with 20 to 40 new cases a day nation wide. i know our population is a lot smaller than the United States population so maybe a better statistic is deaths per million population. in Australia that figure is 4 per million, in the US its 286. I'm not trying to gloat or make anyone feel bad and i honestly feel very sad for my American friends across the ocean. i only wanted to make the point that is not about politics, our conservative government handled this crisis as well as can be expected our neighbor New Zealand has a left leaning government which has also has excellent results. my personal opinion is that its more important to elect leaned and smart people to govern than it is to vote along party lines.

  4. I voted for Trump. I probably will again. But I absolutely want to get right in his face and YELL, "Stop being a moron! You are not a 'tough guy' because you don't wear a mask. You're just being stupid!"

    The truth is, even if I discount a good percentage of the news due to their loathing of Trump, I don't hardly know how the administration COULD have done a worse job--it's almost like they scripted for failure.

    At the very least, LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

  5. @Timothy

    It is simply not true that wearing a mask is ever more dangerous than not wearing a mask.

    As for masks not being necessary or helpful if you're not sick, two points: 1) most people are asymptomatic and don't realize they're sick, and 2)....



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