Spain, however, may be the most revealing example. As with the U.S., the country’s response to the coronavirus has hardly been flawless. Spain has recorded about a quarter of a million cases so far, and nearly 30,000 people have died from COVID-19 there, the worst per capita death rate in the world after Belgium and the U.K. Yet 49 days of near-total lockdown — the kind where residents were barely allowed to leave home — suppressed the disease to fewer than 400 new daily cases.
And after reopening, the country’s response to those 400 cases has been very different from America’s response to its 50,000 daily cases.
Case in point: Segrià county, an agricultural zone some 100 miles west of Barcelona. Last week, 524 new cases were diagnosed there, a doubling from the week before. Of the 14 outbreaks in Segrià, a region thick with hundreds of thousands of fruit trees, 10 are associated with companies that employ migrant workers, who live and labor in close quarters during the harvest.
In response, the regional government locked down all 210,000 inhabitants of Segrià, setting up 24 police checkpoints at the border and blocking all nonessential traffic in and out.