Sunday, 1 November 2020

Dying from Covid-19 mostly depends on your government

Whether or not you die from Covid-19 depends not so much on your age or vulnerability, but mostly on which government runs your country.

A look at the cases of coronavirus and numbers of deaths in all the world’s countries show that some are clearly winning the war against the virus, and some are not.

It’s mostly not down to luck. Or population size. Or the numbers of elderly or vulnerable. It’s mostly down to good governance.

Ironically, the two countries in the world that had previously been considered the best prepared for a pandemic – the USA and UK – have turned out to be among the worst.

Countries – or rather their governments – that have done best in beating Covid-19 include Vietnam, Taiwan, New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore.

In Taiwan, for example, they have reported only 555 cases of Covid-19 since the outset of the pandemic, with just 7 deaths and no recent new cases.

Among the countries with the worst numbers of Covid-19 cases and death rates are the USA and the UK.

  • The USA has reported over 9 million cases of Covid-19, over 230,000 deaths and with new daily cases currently running at over 78,000.
  • The UK has reported over 1 million cases of Covid-19, over 46,000 deaths and new daily cases currently running at over 22,000.

What makes for good governance in the management of Covid-19?

It’s becoming clearer by the month that the countries that locked down early and decisively, with excellent track and trace facilities, were able to manage the virus more efficiently.

According to the website,, this is a list of what makes the difference in winning the battle against Covid-19:

ACT QUICKLY - The earlier you act, the earlier things can go back to normal.

ISOLATE AWAY FROM HOME - Set up facilities to isolate infected individuals from their family members.


MASSIVE AMOUNT OF TESTING - Testing allows you to identify infected individuals and separate them from the rest of the community.

CLEAN AIR FOR EVERYONE - Reducing transmission by having everyone wear a face mask is simple, cheap, and highly effective.

CONTINUE SOCIAL DISTANCING - Stay away from crowded areas and keep as much distance between nearest neighbours as possible.

DON’T REOPEN TOO EARLY - Reopening too early runs the risk of triggering exponential growth again. This might erase all of the benefits gained from the lockdown so far.

IMPLEMENT CONTACT TRACING - Hiring contact tracers and adopting digital contact tracing technologies will save lives, create jobs, and allow for an earlier return to normalcy.

The British government has hesitated and delayed at every stage of the pandemic.

Many, many lives could have been saved if the government had acted with a greater sense of urgency, leadership and competence.

Of course, the UK government should have gone into lockdown sooner – now not just once, but twice.

Failing to set up proper test-and-trace facilities has directly led to more cases and deaths from the virus.

And here’s the thought for today. If a government is incompetent in a key area of governance, it’s likely that they will be incompetent in other areas too.

The government has chosen to impose on a devastated country a Brexit – and now quite likely, a hugely damaging no-deal Brexit – on top of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was avoidable. Brexit could have been delayed.

The government purposely decided to go ahead with Brexit, despite knowing the risks and likelihood of a catastrophic second wave of coronavirus on the horizon.

A government that isn’t capable and doesn’t care enough about saving its people from a deadly virus, is unlikely to be capable or care enough about saving the country from a destructive Brexit, especially at this time.
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