New York City is at a standstill. So, too, is Washington, while the 40 million residents of the state of California have been ordered to stay home. Eerily quiet streets have become the norm in cities across the United States, while Europe too has grounded to a halt amid efforts to institutionalize social distancing.
In fact, Japan is actually the exception to the rule of a new pandemic-fearing world. Having been one of the first countries to be hit — and be criticized — about dealing with the new coronavirus, Japan is emerging as one of the few nations that have been able to push back against the pandemic. It's far too early, though, for Tokyo to pat itself on the back. In fact, it's telling that despite Japan's ability to keep COVID-19's spread in check, few countries have looked to the Abe administration as an example to follow.
That's not to belittle what has been achieved thus far. After a disastrous beginning in dealing with contagion on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Japan has succeeded in preventing the coronavirus from spreading further. In fact, from being one of the most infected, Japan was ranked in 26th place in infection rate as of Monday. The same narrative rings true for the rest of East Asia. From being the epicenter of the outbreak, the region has now seen the rate of spread stabilize while the rest of the world grapples with surging numbers of those succumbing to the virus.