I don't think is such a position in Poland...
The fact that you don't even know if such a position exists demonstrates my point. I suppose that as the Minister for Health, Szumowski is a doctor, he fills both roles. The problem with that is that he's first and foremost a politician and mouthpiece of PIS ie JK. Hence the announcement that elections will be held via postal vote for at least the next two years.
is on the whole not necessarily worse than other countries
It's a lot worse than Ireland. You get proper facts there every single day and proper in depth analysis and coverage. For example over the next ten days, in order to deal with the clusters of infection in nursing homes, all 30,000 staff and 28,000 residents nationwide will be tested. What's happening with clusters in Poland?? What's happening with the 12 hospitals in Warsaw that had to close? In Poland you have the government trying to silence medical staff who have spoken out.
Hardly any coverage of that in any country AFAICT
Well then read the Irish and UK press. The tackiest tabloid in the UK has a good explanatory article here:
Without a vaccine,the virus can be contained and the spread halted within the general population by keeping the R0 number below 1.0 but to do that social distancing will have to remain in place.
It's a PR move AFAICT
I think it's an attempt to get the economy moving again. Let people go back to 'normal' but with faces covered. Even though the Polish government doesn't inform the public about the R0 number, they know about it. Social distancing has to continue so they'll take a stab at allowing people to move more freely and hope the face coverings will do the trick. That's why the fine is so punitive if you don't wear it. It should ensure compliance. Unfortunately, there isn't enough information about the effectiveness of face masks in stopping the spread and as many people will have inadequate face coverings and stop observing the 1.5 or 2 metre rule, I don't think it's going to work.
On a lighter note, I've composed a Coronavirus ditty. It came to me as I was doing the dishes the other day, a time I reserve for contemplating the meaning of life. It's inspired by improvised face masks. For an added touch of cruel irony, it can be sung to the tune of If You're Happy and You Know It:Tie your knickers in a knot around your face
There's an epidemic raging round the place
If we keep our faces covered
Then the lurgy will be smothered
So maintain your social distance
Leave a space!