The political and policy implications of a crisis often take time to emerge. The immediate task of politicians is to avert a catastrophe. It is all hands to the pump - and leave the questions about how the crisis occurred until later.
Only in the months and even years following the 9/11 attacks on Washington and New York, for example, did the failures of officials and politicians come to public knowledge. When the danger was imminent, the first concern, obviously, was not about why warnings had been ignored and decisions not taken.
So it may be with the current crisis. In the first year of the pandemic, the public just wanted to avert the worst. There was a real risk of hospitals being overwhelmed, and the task of the leaders and officials was to stop that happening. This, they did - and we should be grateful to them for that.
But we are now in a new phase of the pandemic. Patience is already wearing thin as businesses feel pressure. In the resorts of the Snowy Mountains, hotels are empty because skiers are stuck in Sydney. There are increasing signs of anger on the streets as people in precarious jobs - or no jobs at all - find the lockdown harder than those in, for example, the public service might.
And we are seeing how decisions taken at the early stages of the pandemic may have been plain wrong.
A choice was made to keep the virus out by shutting the international border rather than going full-steam ahead for vaccination. We know now that the virus cannot be kept out and that Australia is one of the slowest countries to get a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated. The plan is to open the border when 80 per cent of the population is vaccinated - but that is a very high threshold.
And there will be questions about the shifting advice on AstraZeneca. Scientists have to weigh up the risk of side-effects against the risks of catching COVID-19, and that balance of risks changes according to how many cases there are. As more people catch Covid, a greater risk of side-effects - even fatal ones - may be acceptable.
But that kind of cold logic is unhelpful in a pandemic when consistent advice is all important for a public trying to make sense of a complicated situation. The balance of risk may change but it's best not to change decisions frequently.
Questions are emerging and they will need answering. Why has the vaccine roll-out been so slow? Why has advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine changed?
As we report in today's paper, the federal government was warned of the need for a centralised pandemic response agency more than two years before COVID-19 reached Australia. In 2017, the Australian Medical Association underlined an "urgent" need for a National Centre for Disease Control. It warned that "diseases and health threats do not respect borders".
The model would have been the Centre for Disease Control in the United States. It may well be that this kind of institution wouldn't be right for Australia - but we need to make a proper assessment.
Now is obviously not the time for a Royal Commission, but the time will certainly come for a thorough enquiry of some sort. When it does come, it should be constructive. It should look to the future to prevent a recurrence of the current disaster, rather than seek to apportion blame for past mistakes.
The place for blame (or the lack of it) will be at an election. Scott Morrison knows that. He still has time to up his game.