Update to this article. The Economist distilled my thinking on 12/5/2020:
Two factors tied to the pandemic help account for Taiwan's relative success this year. First, it was the only country to contain covid-19 without sweeping closures of schools, offices and shops. Its government, alert to new diseases in China, started screening visitors from Wuhan at the end of 2019, as soon as reports emerged of an mysterious pneumonia outbreak. Thanks to fine-grained contact-tracing and near-universal mask-wearing, life has carried on more or less as normal. Since July, revenues for retailers and restaurants alike have increased compared with a year earlier.https://www.economist.com/asia/2020/12/02/covid-19-has-ravaged-economies-all-over-the-world-but-not-taiwans
Trump's singular focus on keeping the economy going led him to the belief shared by many middle level authoritarians that ignoring COVID would be the best way to handle it. Bolsonaro comes to mind. So, I had an initial interest in seeing how the U.S. fared against the rest of the world in both controlling COVID and keeping U.S. GDP afloat.
My interest was piqued further by an article in The Economist. Some quotes:
"The crisis highlights the contrast between the competent responses of East Asian governments (notably China, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) and the incompetent responses of Western governments (such as America, Britain, France and Spain). The far lower death rates suffered by East Asian countries offer a lesson to all. They reflect not just medical capabilities, but also the quality of governance and the cultural confidence of their societies."
"What has shocked many in Asia is the reluctance of some Western governments to allow science and basic epidemiological modelling to determine sensible policy responses. After its initial cover-up of the outbreak in Wuhan (which was clearly disastrous), China firmly deployed good science and robust public-policy measures to break the back of the problem. It responsibly released the genetic data as soon as Chinese scientists sequenced the virus’s genome in January."
"Taken together, the competence and confidence of East Asia will reshape the world order. It has already begun. Twenty years ago, no Chinese national ran any UN organisation. Today they oversee four."
So, I decided to do my own investigation.