Many people are asking why Japan has a very low death rate because of Covid-19.
Although not the country with the lowest Covid-19 mortality rate in the region, in the early 2020s, Japan has fewer deaths than the world average. This is particularly surprising because Japan has many factors that make them vulnerable to Covid-19. Not to mention that they have never taken any radical measures to prevent viruses like their neighbors.
To date, five months after the discovery of the first Covid-19 case, Japan totaled nearly 20,000 cases and nearly 1,000 died. The state of emergency was removed and the lives of people quickly returned to normal. When announcing about the removal of a national emergency in late June, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his pride in the “Japanese model” and hinted that other countries should study them.
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso think that the “superiority” of Japanese is a part of success. Mr. Aso once made a very famous comment when explaining Japan’s success to leaders of other countries. “He told them: ‘The difference between my country and your country is the level of the people’. This answer makes them speechless” – quoted Mr. Aso.
Japan has only nearly 20,000 infections and less than 1,000 deaths after 5 months of fighting the epidemic.
many Japanese, and some scientists, think that this Japan possesses the “Factor X” that protects its people from Covid-19. Perhaps the culture of little embrace when greeting has contributed a part when people implement social spacing measures but this is not the answer.
Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of the University of Tokyo, who studies how Japanese patients respond to the virus, believes that maybe a virus similar to SARS-CoV-2 has appeared in their country in the past, leaving “immune history”.
Japanese people have a habit of wearing masks when they have been ill for a long time ago.
Mr. Kodama explained: When the virus enters the human body, the immune system produces antibodies that attack invading pathogens. There are two types of antibodies: IGM and IGG. The way they react will show whether a person has been infected with the virus or the like before.
“In the case of primary viral infection, IGM usually reacts first and then IGG. But in cases of each infection, lymphocytes have memorized so only IGG responds quickly,” said Kodama.
“When we looked at the tests, we were surprised. In all patients, the IGG reaction occurred very quickly while IGM was slow and weak. It seems that they have been exposed to the same virus before.” “- Mr. Kodama commented.
Professor thinks that perhaps in the past, a virus like SARS has appeared in the region, causing the death rates in Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia lower than with the world.
Mr. Shibuya thinks that countries with good anti-epidemic results are successful in reducing the number of infections significantly. The Japanese began wearing masks more than 100 years ago during the 1919 flu pandemic and they have maintained this habit so far.
In addition, Dr. Kazuaki Jindai, a medical researcher at Kyoto University and a member of the task force to control the epidemic, said the data shows that more than one-third of infections have originated in familiar locations. like music shows. Therefore, the team identified places where “breathing is strong at close range”, including “karaoke bars, parties, clubs, bars and gyms”, which are most at risk.
In Japan, the government can rely on the compliance of the people.
The second thing the team found was that the spread would be reduced to a small percentage among those infected. An earlier study found that about 80% of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus did not infect others while the remaining 20% had high levels of infection.
These findings led to a national campaign launched by the goverment to encourage people to avoid three things: tight airy spaces, crowded places and direct contact.
Professor Shibuya said that the lessons of Japan are not so different from other places. “For me, it is a lesson in time. If emergency measures are delayed, we may experience a situation similar to New York or London. Japan has a low mortality rate. But A recent study by Columbia University showed that if New York applied the blockade earlier than two weeks, tens of thousands of people would not have died, “Mr. Shibuya noted.
Returning to the pride of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the “Japanese Model”, can other countries learn any lesson from them? Does Japan succeed in keeping infection and death rates low without requiring people at home to show the way forward? The answer is Yes and No.
The truth is that no “Factor X” has broken the chain of infection. However, in Japan, the government can rely on the compliance of the people. Even if Japanese officials do not order the entire population to stay at home, people still do so. “This is an amazingly lucky thing. The gentle Japanese blockade has the same effect as the strict level. People still adhere to without harsh measures” – quoted Professor Shibuya .