Maybe it’s genetics: An ancient coronavirus-like epidemic drove adaptation in East Asians from 25,000 to 5,000 years ago. A lot of commentators, including one I heard on the radio this morning, have suggested that China, Japan, South Korea, and so on have had few deaths from the Coronavirus because of some combination of an obedient, public-regarding culture and good government. But in China, the virus was raging undetected for two months or more, and during peak holiday season. Culture and government can’t respond to a pandemic that no one yet knows exists. In fact, back in the winter I was optimistic about how bad Covid would be, in part because the Chinese, even accounting for state censorship, didn’t seem to be hit that hard even though they had many weeks where the virus was silently spreading. So, a higher level of genetic or other immunity makes intuitive sense, and here’s a study that backs that theory up.
h/t David Bernstein