Taiwan’s Weapon Against Coronavirus: An Epidemiologist as Vice President

Students at a high school in Taipei, Taiwan, getting their temperature taken.
Ashley Pon/The New York Times

Date Published: May 9, 2020

Source: The New York Times

Mr. Chen Chien-jen is the current vice-president for Taiwan and has played a key role in the island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, using his training at Johns Hopkins in epidemiology. He served as a health official during the SARS crisis in 2003, and has since pushed for a series of reforms to prepare the island for the next outbreak including: building isolation wards, adding virus research laboratories, creating a disaster management centre, and increasing production of protective gear. Taiwan has less than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the national death toll is six. Mr. Chen balances the world of science and politics. He has embraced his rare dual role, using his political authority to criticize China’s initial concealment of the virus and analyzing epidemiological trends in transmission. Science is becoming increasingly political; with American and Chinese officials regularly attacking each other with unsubstantiated theories of the origin of the virus, he states in an interview: “evidence is more important than playing politics”.

Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/09/world/asia/taiwan-vice-president-coronavirus.html

Summary by: Joseph Chon