As bad as things are in the US with Trump's ridiculous lack of response to COVID-19, it's far worse in the UK, where PM Boris Johnson's refusal to lock down the nation quickly enough is now responsible for 32,000 deaths in a country of 67 million, roughly .05% of the nation has died to it, with a third of a percent of the entire country infected, and that's just the confirmed cases.
The coronavirus lockdown will not end yet, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday, urging people to “stay alert” to the risks as he outlined plans to begin slowly easing measures that have closed much of the economy for seven weeks.
While his directions were for England, the government wants the United Kingdom’s other nations to take the same approach. But there were immediate divisions, with the leaders of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland saying they were sticking with the existing “stay-at-home” message.
In a televised address, Johnson announced a limited easing of restrictions, including allowing people to exercise outside more often and encouraging some people to return to work.
“This is not the time simply to end the lockdown,” he said. “Instead we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures.”
The government has faced criticism over its handling of the pandemic and Johnson is wary of taking the brakes off too soon. Britain’s coronavirus death toll - 31,855 - is the second highest in the world, behind the United States.
With both the death rate and hospital admissions falling, it would be “madness” to allow a second spike in infections, he said.
But the decision to replace the government’s “stay-at-home” slogan, drummed into the public for weeks, was criticised by opposition parties who called the new “stay alert” message ambiguous.
Johnson said people should continue to work from home if they could, but those who cannot, such people working in construction and manufacturing, should be “actively encouraged to go to work”.
From Wednesday, people will be allowed to take unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise, he said, and can sit in the sun in their local park, drive to other destinations, and play sports with members of their own household.
Until now, people have been told only to exercise outdoors once a day and do so locally. Social distancing rules must still be obeyed, Johnson said, adding that fines would be increased for those who break them.
Johnson said he would set out further details to parliament on Monday, when a “roadmap” document will be published.
But opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer said Johnson had raised more questions than he had answered and there was now the prospect of different parts of the United Kingdom pulling in different directions.
“What the country wanted tonight was clarity and consensus, but we haven’t got either of those,” he said in a statement.
Only the dead get both clarity and consensus, it seems.
The death toll per capita is twice as high in the UK as it is here in the US, but it's nearly as bad as here if not even worse in Spain, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden. Johnson and Trump are far from alone in their failures.
Keep that in mind as they try to rewrite history in Europe, too.