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The UK’s app failure sums up our fatally flawed coronavirus response | John Naughton

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July 25, 2020 at 04:00PM

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Thanks to dithering and ineptitude, we may never have contact tracing on our smartphones

I’ve just been looking at the coronavirus death toll in various countries as tallied on the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 tracker. At the time I checked, the UK had 45,407 deaths, Poland had 1,642, Ireland had 1,753, New Zealand had 1,555 and Greece had – wait for it – 197.

“Ah, yes,” you say, “but of course the UK has a much bigger population than most of those countries – 67.9 million compared to (respectively) 37.8 million, 4.9 million, 4.8 million and 10.4 million.” So, as a simple mathematical exercise over breakfast, why not work out the number of deaths per 100,000 for each country? And then try not to choke on your muesli, for these numbers tell an unambiguous story. It is that by the standards of a number of other comparable democratic states, the UK government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has been an unmitigated fiasco, second only, among developed countries, to the unfolding catastrophe in the United States.

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