Sadly, the United States continues to lead the world in cases and mortality from COVID-19, with more than 7.8 million confirmed cases and more than 215,000 Americans dead.
Japan continues to perform exceptionally well in keeping COVID-19 cases and deaths much lower than many other developed countries. Building on CSR’s October 7 podcast on lessons from Japan’s response to the pandemic, I was joined for a second interview by Dr. Tomoya Saito, director of the Department of Health Crisis Management at Japan’s National Institute of Public Health. Dr. Saito is taking part in his country’s COVID-19 response given, applying his deep experience in emergency preparedness and response, health surveillance, and biosecurity. We discussed several specific lessons that show the potential for strong pandemic prevention and response, including:
- Japan detected the infection patterns at a very early stage, showing the importance of disease tracking and early warning.
- Like all countries, Japan is navigating improvements in data collection and sharing. This also relates to the strength of a nation’s modeling and disease-trend prediction capabilities.
- Japan established effective contact tracing and cluster busting strategies early, and its “Avoid 3Cs” campaign helped with public communications and cooperation in preventing disease spread.
- The roles of health centers in communities around Japan in contact tracing and helping the public, and its accessible medical care for everyone, undoubtedly contribute to progress in containing the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Saito shares specific insights and examples from the work he and his colleagues continue to do in addressing the COVID-19 crisis in Japan. These can and should inform how the United States improves its responses to this current pandemic, and establishes the systems needed to halt future outbreaks before they sicken and kill millions.
Check out our full conversation in the video below, or click here.