May 26, 2020
New Zealand implemented one of the earliest lockdowns and has largely succeeded in halting the spread of the coronavirus under the leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Michael Baker, epidemiologist and a member of the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s Technical Advisory Group, attributes the success to a combination of her leadership, trust in science, and clear communication during the crisis. He says that countries like the U.S. wagered human lives because of “complacent exceptionalism.” Western leaders thought that “somehow the virus might behave differently when it hit the Western world than in Asia,” he says. The United States continues to be overrepresented in coronavirus deaths worldwide. While it makes up roughly 4% of the world’s population, it comprises a quarter of all coronavirus deaths.