The data on mortality is very clear. The East Asian countries, having learned their lesson from the previous epidemic, carried out the full set of protocols recommended by epidemiologists. As a result, Taiwan had a grand total of 7 deaths. Vietnam had 35; Thailand had 59. Singapore had 27. Japan had 1,609, for a death rate of 1.27 per 100,000. South Korea had 425, for a death rate of 0.82 per 100,000. These countries clearly showed what can be done when you do what the experts say. All of these countries are now back in operation, their economies a bit under 100% of their pre-pandemic levels. That's the right way to handle an epidemic.
The UK was run by the reckless Mr. Johnson, who handled the pandemic only a bit better than than Mr. Trump. The UK was hit earlier and harder than the USA, so a direct comparison is a bit unfair, but their poor performance reflects their incomplete implementation of the protocols.
Yes, Sweden did not need government intervention. The Swedes are not like Americans: the government explained the need for masks, social distancing, and avoidance of large crowds. The Swedes, being rational people, implemented those protocols faithfully. Also the Swedish government had a strong trace, track, and isolate program. Some states have fairly good resources in this regard, but the federal government has nothing.
Meanwhile, most of the Western European nations did a fairly good job of implementing the protocols, although they didn't go as far as the East Asian nations and so suffered higher casualties. France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Finland, and Switzerland all did better than the USA -- in some cases, MUCH better.
Moreover, we don't need to merely point to results; we can explain WHY those different results were achieved: the degree of compliance with epidemiological protocols. The USA had one of the worst compliances, and Mr. Trump is definitely the man who made that happen. He refused to wear a mask; he completely ignored rules for social distancing; he assembled large crowds. Millions of his disciples followed his lead. That's why compliance in the USA was so poor -- which is why the disease has been so successful in the USA.
Oh, and by the way, cutting off travel from China accomplished nothing. The disease was already well established inside the country when Mr. Trump carried out his pointless show. It was truly a case of closing the barn door AFTER the horse had gotten in.
Many other countries were quite capable of controlling the disease without totalitarian methods. It's true that the totalitarian methods work faster, but we didn't need them.
As to the "second wave", that's not really happening. Here's the latest data on new cases:
The US has been holding steady at about 700 deaths per day. Yes, Italy has been having a "second wave": their daily death rate has increased from 6 to 20. Germany's "second wave" has shown daily deaths increasing from 3 to 10. South Korea is at about 5 deaths per day.
As you can see, America is a disaster compared to other developed countries. It's all due to Mr. Trump's idiocy. Had he implemented standard epidemiological protocols, we'd be suffering a few score deaths per day by now.
More important, our economy would not be running on a few cylinders. We'd all be back at work, just like the other developed countries. But now that the disease is endemic, and many Americans continue to refuse to follow the protocols, we are pretty much guaranteed a crippled economy for at least the next twelve months.
Just today the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals in the world, broke with tradition and made a political anti-endorsement. They did not endorse Mr. Biden, but they did urge Americans to throw out Mr. Trump, because his moronic response to the pandemic has cost America dearly. Here's a story on it: