Latest Issue

© Tolga Akmen/AP/Shutterstock, ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Covid-19: The unofficial UK inquiry—why did so many have to die?

From the early mess on test, track and trace to dangerous immunity theories, there’s plenty of blame to go round. But a lot of drift and delay seeped down from the top

Governing is always difficult, and this is doubly true in the face of a grave and unfamiliar threat. The challenge of a novel, deadly and contagious coronavirus is one that has confronted governments around the planet. But a year into the crisis it is plain that nations have not risen to it with equal efficacy. 

Going by the figures collated on in mid-January, a randomly chosen Briton is now 35 times more likely to have died of Covid-19 than a random Australian, 39 times more likely than the average citizen of Japan and 55 times more likely than a typical South Korean. The lethal danger in Britain is 249-fold that in New Zealand, and 369 times that in China, where the virus emerged. The UK government can point to the differences in demographics, population density or culture in some cases, and question the reliability of statistics in…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect