After China in December 2022 suddenly changed course from zero-Covid to total termination of all restrictions, all the usual Western China bashers were rejoicing. See, it was a failure! We handled the epidemic the right way, while Xi’s China bungled it! But if we make a comparison of the performance of the leading Western powers with China’s, it is hard to justify this rejoicing.

The European and US handling of the new corona virus (COVID-19) epidemic has been dominated by the story that this epidemic is unstoppable. We can perhaps slow the course, but finally the same amount of people will be infected, it was said. This might also be the best, as then an important part of the population would then be immunised and we would thus avoid a later flaring up of the epidemic. It was even said that efforts to stop the epidemic would be unscientific, a result of politicians eager to be seen ‘doing something’. That would be the turf of the populists. This is absolute and complete nonsense.