WHILE I agree that the British Government was slow to respond to Covid-19, I think other factors should be considered before blaming our terrible death rate entirely on the Government.

When the first patients were hospitalised and it was realised that the virus was much more virulent than the many earlier coronaviruses, the disease was already well established in the population.

The initial death rate was exceptionally high because the symptoms took many forms and finding effective treatments was a steep learning curve.

The recording of coronavirus deaths is not the same in all countries. In Britain, recording Covid-19 as a cause, if the person has recently tested positive for Covid-19, produces a disproportionately high death rate and it may be that some countries are under-recording their Covid-19 death rate.

Differing social and environmental conditions between countries may affect the virus’s ability to spread.

Some blame should be directed at the many people who have gathered in crowds, or visited crowded places, in defiance of government restrictions and to the large majority of people who ignore the two metres “rule” indoors and out.

We should be thankful for the Covid-19 vaccines, follow the safety guidelines and share some of the blame.

John Heslop, Durham City.