Yes, it is possible, and not even all that hard to defeat the coronavirus. New Zealand did it — they just celebrated 100 days (more than three months) without anyone inside NZ catching COVID-19. And all domestic restrictions were lifted… in June. No more social distancing, no more masks, the economy is fine, schools are open, almost everything back to normal.
How did they do it? If you’ve been paying attention, I’ll bet you already know the answers:
- NZ locked down early, when it was easier to use contact tracing to find people who were exposed and isolate them. Nobody said stupid things like “it will just magically go away”.
- They ramped up testing early. Nobody left it to local governments. They worked together.
- They made sure that people would not violate isolation orders, which meant that they only needed to do it for a short time. Nobody decided to hold campaign rallies or motorcycle festivals.
- They closed their borders, preventing anyone who is not a resident of NZ from arriving. And they tested all arrivals, and had them quarantine for two weeks.
Are you seeing a pattern here? NZ responded early, and enforced restrictions, which allowed them to return to normal much more quickly. In other words, they did the opposite of what Trump did.
Currently, NZ has 23 active coronavirus cases. All of them are residents who returned from abroad with the virus, and were promptly isolated. They are tested three times before they can leave.
They even have officers stationed by quarantine facilities to make sure nobody in isolation sneaks out. It might sound drastic, but keeping the spread contained meant that far fewer people had to be isolated, and with restrictions lifted in June, far less inconvenience for everyone.
Bottom line: New Zealand had 22 deaths from COVID-19. The US is currently at 165,617 deaths. Adjusting for population the US already has — per capita — 112 times the deaths of NZ, and we are still dying here.
New Zealand had 1,219 confirmed cases. The US has passed 5 million cases (and rising).