So how does the UK and its component parts compare?
“International comparisons are difficult, as testing and reporting regimes vary from country to country. Other governments are not above putting a gloss on their data. Fortunately just as the UK has the ONS, all European countries have an independent statistics office and other bodies free of political spin…..
….The z-score is effectively the number of standard deviations the measurement is away from the expected value….
…At the height of the pandemic, the top five in terms of peak z-score were England 42.75 (Wk 15), Spain 34.41 (Wk 14), Belgium 29.91 (Wk 15), Italy 22.16 (Wk 14) and France 21.17 (Wk 14)….
…England is also the worst-performing country on these islands. The peak z-score was 19.71 for Wales (less than half that of England), 8.90 for NI, 7.03 for Scotland and 3.95 for Ireland all in week 15.
What is more frightening, however, is that the English z-score is still around 20 in the latest data – easily the worst in Europe. All other countries are below five. The next highest is Sweden at 4.8.
Something must have gone very badly wrong. In a fast-moving crisis, mistakes will naturally be made by all governments, but HMG seems to have failed on nearly all fronts….
….England is relaxing lockdown at a time the z-score is the highest in Europe without a fit for purpose TTI system in place. The potential for things to go catastrophically wrong is high, and even more so in a potential 2nd wave as summer winds down and people spend more time indoors. If the z-score of 20 is correct, this is only marginally lower than France’s as the height of the pandemic.
Few countries have responded worse than the UK. The major exception has been the US, which under Trump’s leadership has been truly disastrous. As Fintan O’Toole has written, the US is to be pitied rather than envied. This sadly gives some limited cover to HMG. The superiority of the UK’s Covid-19 response to that of the US is evident. Doing less badly than the US may be perceived as a success by many Brexit fans.”