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As Kenya races against time to beat the virus, there are plenty of lessons Nairobi can learn from the mistakes of western nations worst hit by the pandemic. Here are some:

United States

Confirmed cases: 533,378

Deaths: 20,601

Recovered: 32,0126

The world’s sole superpower on Saturday surpassed Italy in the total number of confirmed deaths from the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

Yet, despite the chilling numbers, the US government believes that the deaths are yet to reach the peak.

President Donald Trump has been accused of squandering a crucial six weeks, when he played down the virus instead of preparing the country to fight it.

An investigations by the New York Times published on Saturday shows that Mr Trump was warned about the potential for a pandemic but that internal divisions in his administration, lack of planning and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response.

Mr Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, mainly the November presidential election.

This despite the fact that experts in his government — from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.

United Kingdom

Confirmed cases: 78,991

Deaths: 9,875

Recovered: 344

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is perhaps the only head of government in the West who has so far contracted the disease.

Until he was taken ill, he had faced criticism, just like President Trump, for not taking the pandemic seriously enough despite warning signs as early as January from Wuhan, China.

Throughout the time the pandemic has ravaged the UK, there have been concerns about the message he has personally given out.

The PM appeared at press conferences and caused consternation by appearing to endorse the idea of allowing much of the population to become infected to develop a “herd immunity”.

He shook hands with patients after a hospital visit and bragged about it, telling the media: “I was at a hospital where there were a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody”.

He half-heartedly made the initial concession to physical distancing — by asking people to avoid pubs but did not close them.

Many people, including his own 79-year-old father, said they still planned to go out for a drink.

Nevertheless, Johnson expressed confidence such limited measures were working and could “turn the tide” within 12 weeks.

Italy

Confirmed cases: 152,271

Deaths: 19,468

Recovered: 32,534

Italy is paying the price of the early mixed messages by scientists and politicians.

The people who have died in staggering numbers recently were mostly infected during the confusion after the country reported its first case of the lethal virus

In the critical early days of the outbreak, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte sought to downplay the Covid-19 threat, creating confusion and a false sense of security that allowed the virus to spread.

The PM attributed Italy’s high number of infections on aggressive testing of people without symptoms in the north, which he argued only created hysteria and tarnished the country’s image abroad.

It is these reassurances from leaders that confused the Italian population.

“In Italy, we went from the risk of an epidemic to an infodemic,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on February 27, disparaging media coverage that highlighted the threat of the contagion, and adding that only “0.089 per cent” of the Italian population was quarantined.

On the same day Nicola Zingaretti, the leader of the governing Democratic party, travelled to Milan, whose wider Lombardy region is the epicentre of the outbreak, where he met a group of students.

“We must not change our habits,” he wrote in a post on social media. “Our economy is stronger than fear: let’s go out for an aperitivo, a coffee or to eat a pizza,” he said.

On the same day, Beppe Sala, the mayor of Milan, shared a video with the slogan “Milan does not stop”.

The clip contained images of people hugging each other, eating in restaurants, walking in parks and waiting at train stations.

Nine days after his trip to the city, by which time the death toll had risen to 233 and confirmed cases 5,883, Zingaretti announced he was suffering from the virus.

On March 8, when 7,375 people had already tested positive for coronavirus and 366 had died.

Mr Conte announced measures of restricting movement for about a quarter of the Italian population in the northern regions that serve as the country’s economic engine.

Italy’s piecemeal attempts to cut it off — isolating towns first, then regions, then shutting down the country in an intentionally porous lockdown — would later prove fatal as they always lagged behind the virus’s lethal trajectory.

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