New York Times Describes Vietnam’s Early Success in Managing Pandemic as ‘Luck’

·3 min read

The New York Times is receiving backlash for a recent tweet describing Vietnam's early success in managing the pandemic as "luck."

About the tweet: The news company recently published an article about Vietnam's new wave of coronavirus cases and shared it on Twitter on June 2, which garnered negative reactions from the public.

  • "Vietnam prided itself on successfully containing the coronavirus," the Times wrote. "But the country's luck may be running out as it faces an outbreak in Ho Chi Minh City and the emergence of a new variant."

  • Some social media users were outraged by the Times “writing off” the hard work Vietnam put in to contain the pandemic.


Vietnam's Pandemic Strategy: Vietnam has a history of managing outbreaks including a SARS epidemic and a bird flu pandemic, which gave them the "experience and infrastructure to take appropriate action," according to Our World in Data.

  • Vietnam's success strategies included a "well-developed public health system, decisive government, and a proactive containment strategy based on comprehensive testing, tracing and quarantining." They reported 1,465 confirmed cases and 35 deaths due to COVID-19 as of Dec. 31, 2020.

  • International travelers, people who tested positive and those in contact with people who tested positive were placed in government-run quarantine centers.

  • Within a week of the first reported case, a committee was formed to coordinate a government strategy. After the second wave broke out, the government tracked and isolated 200 close contacts of those infected. They loosened restrictions and hit 99 days without community transmission in July, but resorted back to their strategies once cases began increasing.


Post reactions: An Instagram user shared the tweet along with reactions to the post saying the article reminded her of how "easy it is for the privileged to associate disadvantaged people's success that's gained through all the blood, sweat, and tears, with 'luck.'"

  • One Twitter user replied to the post saying that the Times "obviously does not know the meaning of the word 'luck,'" while another user wrote that "people in the U.S. have no idea how hard people have worked in other countries to responsibly control the virus and protect its population."

  • People from Vietnam chimed in, with one person commending their country's efforts during the pandemic to "reasonable policies of the authorities" and the "solidarity of our people" rather than luck. Users referred to Vietnam's efforts as "admirable" and "a damn model for the rest of the world."

  • "Luck? Here's me thinking it was expertise, dedication, hard work, commitment, united communities etc.," wrote another Twitter user. "If this was an American or European nation you wouldn't be writing off success as luck."

  • "We worked so f*cking hard and now they call it 'luck'?! The main reason why we now have to deal with a new wave is because countries like you failed to contain it even to this day! And your vaccine imperialism! Vietnam contributed a lot to vaccine development," tweeted one user.


Featured Image via Exemplars in Global Health

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