Covid-19’s Global Divide: As West Reels, Asia Keeps Virus at Bay

Covid-19’s Global Divide: As West Reels, Asia Keeps Virus at Bay

While a surge in coronavirus infections is forcing U.S. states and European countries to shut down bars, open field hospitals and limit social gatherings to small groups of people, such measures are becoming distant memories in much of Asia.

For months now, life across Asia, where the virus first emerged, has mostly returned to normal. With infections at low levels, bars and restaurants are bustling, subway trains are packed and live concerts and spectator sports have resumed.

While China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, combined, have been recording fewer than 1,000 cases a day since September, the U.S. alone was reporting more than 56,000 cases a day on average as of Monday, the highest number since early August.

Europe—where spring lockdowns successfully squeezed infections down to a trickle—is now experiencing a second wave, with an average of 88,000 daily cases as of Monday, more than ever before.