How is the world doing managing COVID-19 and its effects? This time, a story in just two parts: infection rates per million of people, and progress on vaccination:
First, infection rates per million. I think it is pretty clear that there are three groups in this chart. Those with awful records of infection control (UK, US, Netherlands, and historically, Spain and Italy) those with middling records (Canada, Germany), and lastly those with a great record: Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, and arguably best among them: New Zealand.
Then to vaccination. There are some leaders. One of the UK's weaknesses in infection control (an obsession with Brexit) is suggested as a strength in early approval and distribution of the vaccine. The National Health Service also provides a strong infrastructure for a vaccination effort - everyone has a record, there is a clear national programme for vaccination, and so on. But it is very early in the whole process - note the scale and that even leaders in vaccination are only at about 2% of the population - and even if you add the vaccinatin rate to the proportion of the population that have had Covid-19, they are a long way from herd immunity. That leaves 'room' for death rates to soar unless infection is controlled. Hence the return to lockdown in the UK. The real effect of vaccination won't be felt until over about 70% of the population has received a vaccine - including a booster shot. If you want to see who is closest to that, check out the interactive controls in the chart below. While vaccination offers hope for a way out of this mess, infection control is likely to be the more important public health measure until much later in 2021.