How a string of failures by the British government helped COVID to mutate

The recent surge cannot be blamed on a mutant virus alone; in fact, government mismanagement of the pandemic meant that many more people became infected, creating the conditions for mutations to occur.

The failures of the government’s pandemic response are legion. An earlier lockdown by just one week in the spring could have halved the death rate, according to Nick Davies, a Sage adviser. Ministers wasted billions on outsourcing an allegedly “world-beating” test-and-trace system to private companies. It has failed to monitor rates of self-isolation and provided scant financial support to those asked to quarantine at home, relying on workers who don’t get sick pay, such as those in the gig economy, to isolate while losing wages. After Britain’s spring lockdown, infection rates fell, but the government again failed to do what was needed in time to suppress the virus.

The government’s poor control of Covid-19 has increased the force of the infection and allowed more mutations to happen. On top of the economic costs of lockdown measures, the UK has now been effectively placed in quarantine by the international community. The prime minister’s repeated dithering, delays and seeming inability to make unpopular decisions have led Britain to have one of the worst death rates in the world. We have now cancelled Christmas and triggered international alarm. We can only hope that we’re not still in this position by Easter.