One Pandemic, Two Solutions: Comparing the U.S.-China Response and Health Priorities to COVID-19 from the Perspective of “Two Types of Control”.

Publication date: Jun 26, 2023

After three years of global rampage, the COVID-19 epidemic, the most serious infectious disease to occur worldwide since the 1918 influenza pandemic, is nearing its end. From the global experience, medical control and social control are the two main dimensions in the prevention and control of COVID-19. From the perspective of “two types of control”, namely medical control and social control, this paper finds that the political system, economic structure, and cultural values of the United States greatly limit the government’s ability to impose social control, forcing it to adopt medical control to fight the virus in a single dimension. In contrast, China’s political system, economic structure, and cultural values allow its government to adopt stringent, extensive, and frequent social control, as well as medical control to fight the virus. This approach departs from the traditional pathway of fighting the epidemic, i. e., “infection-treatment-immunization”, thereby outpacing the evolution of the virus and controlling its spread more rapidly. This finding helps explain why the Chinese government adopted a strict “zeroing” and “dynamic zeroing” policy during the first three years, at the cost of enormous economic, social, and even political legitimacy. It was not until late 2022, when the Omicron variant with the waning virulence became prevalent, that China chose to “coexist” with the virus, thus avoiding a massive epidemic-related death. While the United States adopted a pulsed-style strategy at the beginning of the epidemic, i. e., “relaxation-suppression-relaxation-suppression”, and began to “coexist” with the virus in just one year, resulting in a large number of excess deaths associated with the epidemic. The study contributes to explaining the difference in the interplay between public health priorities and COVID-19 response strategies in China and the United States, based on the specific public health context and the perspective of “medical control” and “social control”.

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Concepts Keywords
China coexistence policy
Enormous COVID-19
Healthcare medical control
Influenza social control
zeroing policy


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH infectious disease
pathway REACTOME Infectious disease
disease MESH influenza
disease MESH infection
disease VO immunization
disease IDO virulence
disease MESH death
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
disease IDO country
disease VO organization
drug DRUGBANK Spinosad
disease VO vaccination
disease MESH unemployment
disease VO effective
disease VO vaccine
disease IDO history
disease MESH emergency
disease VO time
disease MESH emerging infectious diseases
drug DRUGBANK Trestolone
disease MESH morbidity
disease VO efficient
disease MESH panic
disease VO Viruses
disease IDO process
disease MESH chickenpox
disease IDO host
disease VO population
disease IDO intervention
disease VO device
disease IDO quality
disease IDO production
disease VO ProHIBiT
disease IDO entity
disease IDO cell
disease MESH complications
disease VO protocol
drug DRUGBANK Huperzine B
drug DRUGBANK Medical air
drug DRUGBANK Isoxaflutole
disease VO vaccine effectiveness
disease VO vaccinated
disease IDO contact tracing
disease MESH pneumonia
disease MESH coronavirus infection
disease VO Gap
drug DRUGBANK Serine
disease VO ineffective
disease VO coronavirus vaccine
disease VO company
disease VO dose
disease IDO site
disease VO Comirnaty
disease VO TSA
drug DRUGBANK L-Phenylalanine
disease VO report
disease MESH premature death
disease VO effectiveness
disease MESH violence
drug DRUGBANK (S)-Des-Me-Ampa
disease VO Equity
drug DRUGBANK Ranitidine
disease VO organ
disease VO USA
drug DRUGBANK Cytidine-5′-Monophosphate
disease MESH shock

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