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The ‘zero-Covid’ approach got bad press, but it worked – and it could work again | Laura Spinney

The places that chose to pursue elimination suffered less overall. Unfortunately, few had the determination to do so

It was the alt-history, the policy that didn’t get enacted. No-Covid, zero-Covid or elimination aimed to stamp out community transmission of Covid-19 in a given area, rather than just reduce it to “manageable” levels. Most of the world eschewed it, and it got bad press from the start. Only autocratic regimes could pull it off, one mantra went. Countries like China and ah, New Zealand and, oops, that notorious police state Davis in California.

There was something of the self-fulfilling prophecy about this. Many people thought No-Covid was impossible, but the handful of places that embraced it proved them wrong. Now that some of those places are themselves shifting to a reduction or mitigation strategy, countries that opted for mitigation from the beginning are enjoying a “we told you so” moment. But No-Covid’s early champions had to shift in part because other countries let the virus rip. Even if their strategy didn’t remain the optimal one, it bought them time to prepare others. It’s important that we remember that when the next pandemic sidles along.

Laura Spinney is a science journalist and the author of Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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