The headline story is very much a descriptive ‘how’ we got here. It’s not a Scottish (West of?) ‘how.’ This account doesn’t tell us why it happened or why we are where we are now because, if it had, we might get at least some comfort from it.
Regular readers of this and other sources will know that we are here now with 5 000 covid-related deaths for a number of reasons.
The first and most important is the 4 Nations approach. With pandemic measures reserved to Westminster and pressurised then as now again, to have the same UK-wide approach, the Scottish Government went along with the UK Government’s decision based on UK advisory group SAGE, locking down too late and not stopping visits to care homes, because they were told it was ‘very unlikely that residents would be infected.’
From the end of March, with powers devolved, the Scottish Government, based on clearer, consistent and more open messaging, leading to greater confidence, imposed a stricter and longer lockdown with impressive results including almost complete suppression of the virus in July.
The inability of Scotland to control airport arrivals and a failure of some individuals to quarantine the led to the second surge.
Despite that, today, the death rate over the whole pandemic at 618 per 1m population is significantly lower than in Wales at 724 and England at 830 (34% higher). More than 1 000 lives have been saved by the Scottish Government’s strategy and by the compliance of the people with it, because they had confidence in. I won’t repeat the many polls showing that greater confidence and trust and its impact, here.
There are, of course, other factors in why we are here, but these are the ones that really made a difference.
Looking forward, with half the infection rate and a government determined to push the level low enough to allow some kind of Christmas, I look with despair at bullish English Tories pushing their PM toward another opening up too soon.