In London or Paris, the same errors facing the Covid-19

Outside the Palace of Westminster, London, August 31.


There is something fascinating about experiencing the pandemic from London while keeping an eye on its progress in France. These two countries, which like so much to compare themselves in order to better oppose each other, have so far suffered the health crisis in a very similar way, France showing a slightly less catastrophic record than the United Kingdom during the first wave ( 30,000 against 41,000 deaths approximately), but now appearing to be a little behind in its reaction to the arrival of the second wave.

In the spring, the epidemic had spread across the Channel with one to two weeks delay, but the government of Boris Johnson had not taken advantage of this interval to confine the country – a probably fatal ignition delay, experts say.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also UK unity put to the test by health crisis

Then the British executive had aroused the same controversies as in France, with, each time, a little time lag. The reproaches focused on its lack of preparation, the cruel lack of masks among healthcare workers, the appalling lack of tests, the country’s appalling dependence on Chinese imports, the ravages of the virus in nursing homes with poorly protected and underpaid staff. …

The British, however, escaped the many French positions on the mode of “nothing will ever be the same again” and the omnipresence of a media professor Raoult. On the other hand, they were entitled to Captain Tom, the centenary veteran decided to raise millions of pounds for the national hospital system (the NHS) of the country, or to Joe Wicks, the gym teacher with the look of a surfer, who made you sweat parents and children almost daily on YouTube.

Minimize economic damage

The country was then suspended from the state of health of Boris Johnson, sick with Covid-19 to the point of spending three nights in intensive care in early April. He was indignant at the beautiful escape of Dominic Cummings, his special advisor, who fled London with wife and child, violating the rules of confinement, without being sanctioned. It was around this time – during May – that the British Prime Minister’s popularity curve began to falter: the leader was only 35% in favor by mid-October, according to the YouGov institute.

On both sides of the Channel, the summer marked the return of a certain recklessness, less perhaps in the United Kingdom, where deconfinement only really took place at the beginning of July and where entire areas of the country – large agglomerations from the Midlands and the North of England – continued to suffer from restrictive socialization rules.

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