Authors: Kevin Bo, Chad Cai, Katelyn Ma
Editors: Tiffany Chen, Joyce Hai, Demi Leng, Katelyn Ma, Kira Tian, Molly Zhao, Leon Zhou Artist: Tiffany Chen
Ever since COVID-19 struck Wuhan first and then began spreading on a global scale, different countries have taken different steps in responding to the outbreak in their territory. Developed countries had the resources and the guidance to implement measures such as social distancing, lockdowns, and online schooling whereas developing countries did not have the means to do this. This in turn caused a difference in coronavirus cases and deaths in developed and undeveloped areas of the world.
China, a developed country in terms of response to disease, responded to the outbreak uniquely compared to other developed countries. After the virus became an apparent issue in the Hubei province of China, authorities decided to build a 1,000-bed hospital in only ten days to accommodate the influx of infected citizens in the area. The project was a success as they began bringing in patients in early February to combat the disease as quickly as possible. Along with the rapid speed of construction
for this hospital, China also launched 1,800 teams of investigators to work on contact tracing and banned all travel to and from Wuhan to ensure that the further spreading of the virus could be restrained as thoroughly as possible. The country also manufactured millions of testing kits and distributed them to the people during its worst times to deliver concise results to its citizens. As a developed and experienced country in manufacturing and disease response, China had the resources and manpower to take such measures in combating the coronavirus.
In Europe, the UK government imposed a lockdown in March 2020, banning all "non-essential" travel and contact with people outside one's home, including family and partners; almost all schools, businesses, venues, facilities, amenities, and places of worship were also forced to close temporarily. Those with symptoms and their families were told to self-isolate and the most vulnerable groups, those over 70 years old and those with underlying medical conditions, were told to stay in quarantine completely. The US as well as other countries in Europe, such as Italy and Spain, implemented similar policies. Being developed and sustained, many of these countries could afford their economies worsening by shutting down certain aspects of it without suffering the same detrimental consequences as undeveloped countries would.
In terms of education, developed countries such as the US, China, Italy, and England had the proper infrastructure to move classes online. By doing so, the countries successfully prevented the unnecessary spread of the coronavirus within schools which would have head to a greater escalation in the number of cases. Online classes have also allowed many students in these countries to continue their education uninterrupted by the pandemic—a measure undeveloped countries that lacked internet access were unable to take.
In undeveloped countries like Yemen, actions in response to COVID-19 have been quite different than those of developed countries. The civil war-ridden country had already been suffering a humanitarian crisis with famine and poverty before the COVID-19 pandemic. This outbreak has exponentially worsened the conditions of its citizens. The country itself has taken little to no action in beating the virus mostly due to its scarce amount of resources and unstable government. However, supranational organizations such as the United Nations (UN) have put in fundings and healthcare assistance to Yemen to help it contain the virus.
In Africa, Uganda is an example of an undeveloped country that swiftly imposed lockdowns on its citizens to prevent the spreading of the disease. However, in most underprivileged regions, people must work to feed themselves and their families. Therefore, a long-term shutdown of face-to-face contact is unsustainable for the population and the economy. As social distancing while working was implausible for many people in Uganda, the UN’s assistance and fundings were vital in ensuring the effects of COVID-19 were not detrimental to their public health and economies.
As COVID-19 swept through all regions of the world, it is apparent that developed countries have an advantage in taking action against the disease, simply because they are more advanced in many aspects. Consequently, undeveloped countries were unable to take proper pandemic response actions and must rely on outside help to protect their people. Whereas economically stable countries can implement drastic measures, developing countries must consider their lack of resources and funding—a difference that shows the true disparities between the people of the developing and developed worlds.