Most countries have committed blunders during the coronavirus pandemic: failure to lock down effectively, unwarranted confidence in opening up after the first wave, lack of preparation for the second, incoherent vaccination policies, continuing to advocate pointless surface cleaning long after it was recognised to be mere theatre.
As the crisis drags on, the excuses wear ever more thin. Knowledge of the disease has accumulated gradually but we now have the wherewithal to defeat it.
A management problem
Take Britain, which in January was losing a thousand people a day to the disease – most the grim result of its government’s failure to anticipate the second wave. By last Saturday, April 10, it reported just seven deaths from Covid. On the same day, 78 Slovaks – ten times more in a country one-tenth the size – died from what is now a preventable disease.
The reason for the UK’s turnaround? A ferocious and – compared to the incoherence of its lockdown policies – superbly managed campaign to buy and administer vaccines. Whatever the doubts about suspected side-effects, or the morality of some countries getting access to vaccines before others, the evidence is now clear: they work.
So why are Slovaks still dying at a rate 100 times higher than Britons?