As the Prime Minister’s language – in body and word – seemed to demonstrate on Saturday evening, the latest lockdown measures are a defeat. They represent a failure of both state capacity and policy.
Those of us who supported the first lockdown did so in the expectation that we were buying time for the Government to better protect us. Back then, we knew little about Covid itself. Its reproduction and mortality rates were alarming. It had knocked over health services in Lombardy and, later, Madrid. Medics had little idea of how to treat its victims. Public health experts seemed uncertain about how we could stop the contagion. Lockdown made sense, not least because the time it bought us, we hoped, would make future lockdowns unnecessary.
This time round, we know much more about the virus. We know how it spreads, and how we can take precautions to protect ourselves and