Current Affairs Health Politics

Covid-19 Has Killed More British People Than The Blitz In World War II

Between the United Kingdom’s declaration of war on the German Reich in September 1939 and the latter’s capitulation in May 1945 some 61,000 civilians were killed in the UK by enemy action, principally in the so-called “Blitz” or aerial bombardments of June 1940 to May 1941. Despite the ludicrously low official figures published in recent weeks by the British authorities it’s now estimated that in the first six months of 2020 some 65,000 people have died in the UK through contact with the Covid-19 pandemic. And that this number is likely to rise during the rest of the year. If we exclude the statistics for military losses suffered by Britain in the conflict with the Axis powers and look instead at non-combatant fatalities alone it’s almost certain that more British people have suffered premature deaths over the last twenty-four weeks than were killed during the entirety of World War II.

That is an incredible statistic. Yet it is one that the political and media classes in London seem, if not at ease with, certainly not infuriated by. With a few notable exceptions there is an almost blasé reaction to all this preventable mortality and the subsequent suffering and grief it has caused. The population of an average town in England has disappeared in the space of a few months and many English, Welsh and Scots have reacted as if this were nothing more than a freakish blip in the ever-triumphant history of their exceptional island nation. The desire to “get back to normal” is creating an almost immediate form of collective amnesia in the British press and commentariat, with the debate moving on to concerns about the economy and trade, the opening of shops and schools, of pubs and restaurants, of soccer matches and music festivals, and putting the pandemic out of sight and out of mind.

At least until the next substantial wave of coronavirus swamps the United Kingdom in a few months from now.

8 comments on “Covid-19 Has Killed More British People Than The Blitz In World War II

  1. Shocking and depressing if accepted. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gendjinn


    The UK has a terrible government, with terrible, venal and incompetent people. It is starkly reminiscent of GWB and his cabinet. With COVID being their “Heckuva a job Brownie” Hurricane Katrina disaster in NOLA.


    New Zealand is about the only government that wasn’t incompetent. Theirs, while exemplary, should have been the bare minimum all countries after China should have accomplished. No one should be patting themselves on the back. There are merely degrees of failure. Failing to stop the first wave. Failing to bend the curve. Failure to prevent a second wave. Failure to bend the second wave’s curve.

    The problem is that this particular constellation of traits in a pandemic was the perfect combination to leverage humanity’s blindspots. Emerging global pandemics have long been a concern, HIV kick it into overdrive in the 80s. Of all the various flavours of pandemic that were considered this particular type, long asymptomatic incubation period, high R0, low mortality rate was not on the radar. That low mortality rate did not instill fear the way ebola or bubonic plague would have. No one was ready for that and few dealt with it successfully. New Zealand being a shining exception.

    Everyone dropped the ball.

    Let’s not drop the ball during the second wave. Nor the succeeding waves that are inevitable until there is an effective vaccine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The English are at war with themselves the class and economic divide has got deeper, the cult of Brexit the new religion


  4. Sadly it’s not uncommon for pandemics and epidemics to claim more lives than wars. The numbers to back that up are easy to find. If anything it’s typical that disease kills more people than direct violence. Heck! Before WWI, most war deaths were related to infectious disease not actual combat.

    To some degree I think you have to recognize that pandemics ARE a hard problem to deal with. This is not to say that governments never screw up their management as they do. However, some countries such as Italy have suffered horrifically from this virus, even though their govts were not notably negligent. Some countries have intrinsic advantages/disadvantages for dealing with a pandemic.

    Also for the first several months of this pandemic there was effectively no good option for containing it. The only thing that most countries could agree would help, were the lockdowns, shutdowns, “stay at home” and “shelter in place” orders. Those while they were for a time seen as the only know and sure way to contain the virus, WERE problematic in their own right. Lockdowns despite the lives saved have reaped their own harvests of misery and suffering.

    Some governments may have screwed up, but in a way their were no truly happy answers to this one. Now it might change as mask wearing seems to be effective as a way to control the virus. Some scientists even think that if the whole world had over 95% adherence for 28 days the pandemic would largely be over. Then there may be some stop gaps to a vaccine in terms of short term partial immunity via DNA plasmids that make your muscle cells produce antibodies or repurposed existing live vaccines. Also there are possibility from pooled testing and Covid-19 sniffing dogs to tracking the virus in sewage.


  5. Taking it on the chin. True British spirit. They did not die in vain. We will remember them.

    And then, we’ll do it all again when winter comes and there’s the second wave.

    Yes makes one proud. Dulce et decorum est in pro patria mori.


  6. Speaking of Covid-19, I here The Irish Republic is getting a contact tracing app. Think people will use it? Like it? At least prefer it to being confined?

    How is The Irish Constitution on privacy rights? I understand they went with a bluetooth “handshake” model, rather than a GPS tracking one (a choice I think is right from not just a privacy but an accuracy standpoint). Will many people challenge it on grounds of privacy? Or just refuse to participate?


    • gendjinn

      Yeah, but we’ll leave the cell sitting on the mantelpiece when we go out.


  7. So, when push came to shove, the Shinners opted for the Dominic Cummings approach to Covid social distancing (i.e Do as I say, not as I do / Rules are for the hoi polloi) to say goodbye to “Big Bobby” – who, it turns out, was yet another misunderstood, peace-loving genius and gentle giant, with a wonderful sense of humour.
    Same thing happened re a SF councillor’s funeral a few weeks before, but he was nondescript so It didn’t attract the same attention.


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