Computers were once one of the UK’s most important cities, a center for the production of industrial textiles with a booming economy.
But Salford is now riddled with shops and brothels, and last week it overtook London as the worst-hit city for UK coronavirus rates, with 174 deaths – 113 per 100,000. .
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news and updates
Now residents have revealed how years of poverty, unemployment, low life expectancy and horrific crimes have only compounded the problem – many families struggling more than ever in the midst of the pandemic.
And while many distance themselves socially as best they can to reduce the risk, a couple say that some people in the area treat the foreclosure “like a vacation”, while others have spotted people drinking on the streets.
With severe deprivation, families living in large groups, obesity problems and closed local poverty support groups, residents suffer more than most.
It’s a deadly combination and has made Salford the UK’s coronavirus hotspot.
Unfortunately, a family recently experienced the devastating effects of the coronavirus firsthand when mental health support worker Paul Ardrey died at the age of 59 only after a battle with the virus.
Manchester City fan Paul, who lived in Swinton, died on April 16 at the Royal Salford Hospital.
Paul, who is fondly remembered for his great sense of humor, has been described by friends as “one of the best in Salford” and someone who has always taken care of others.
His daughter Lauren Hughes, 22, said, “Dad had a lot of flu-like symptoms of the coronavirus but we couldn’t get him hospitalized at first, despite the fact that he was more at risk because of his diabetes.
“He was only admitted when his breathing worsened, but his condition deteriorated rapidly when he developed pneumonia and died six days later.
“It was terrible because mom and I couldn’t even be at her bedside because of the lock.
“I never thought he was going to die and losing him so quickly was such a shock.”
It was Paul’s funeral on Friday and although only ten people were allowed to enter the crematorium, many others paid tribute outside.
Lauren thinks that Covid-19 has the hardest places like Salford because it is poorer and has a high concentration of people with underlying health conditions.
“It was certainly the case with my father,” she said.
“In addition, there is more pressure on services and more unemployment while working people earn less and cannot afford to take time off, even during foreclosure, which puts them at greater risk . “
Last Friday, a bulletin from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that those living in the poorest regions of England and Wales die twice as many as those in the wealthiest regions.
It seems that the virus is not the “big leveler” that some politicians have claimed after all – Covid-19 rather amplifies existing inequalities.
“Dirty old town”
Salford, often overshadowed by Manchester on the other side of the Irwell River, has deep-seated social and economic problems spanning decades.
It exploded due to the textile industry, but never developed into a shopping center in the same way as its noisy neighbor and fell into decline from the beginning of the 20th century due to increased competition from l outside the UK.
The city – inspiration for the iconic song “Dirty Old Town” and the paintings of L.S. Lowry – once had some of the worst slums in the country where overcrowding and disease were common.
It experienced significant economic and demographic decline after the Second World War and, despite extensive redevelopment in the 1980s and 1990s, poverty and unemployment remained high.
Since then, he has struggled to recover and social deprivation has fueled the growing gang crime of drugs, guns and armed robbery – which further destroys communities.
Much has been done to straighten out his fortune, including the Media City complex, where the BBC and ITV are headquartered, but it remains one of the poorest regions in the UK.
Government statistics released last year ranked it 18th among the most disadvantaged local authorities (LA) in England (out of a total of 317), with almost a third of the city – around 76,000 residents – classified as very disadvantaged.
Statistics – which measure seven “deprivation areas” – show that Salford scores particularly poorly on crime (16th worst in England), burglaries, violent crimes, theft and criminal damage all increasing alarmingly.
Rankings for health (17th worst), income (24th worst), employment (30th worst) are also poor.
Health inequalities are widespread and Salford has rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer in adults and children higher than the national average.
Life expectancy is also among the lowest in the country.
ONS statistics for 2016 to 2018 show that life expectancy at birth is 73.2 years for men and 80.9 for women, compared to 79.3 years for men and 82.9 years. for women across the UK.
In this context, it is not surprising that Covid-19 has killed so many people.
And this prompted Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, to call on the government to provide more aid to the poorest areas amid suggestions that the foreclosure could be eased in parts of the UK.
“These figures underscore the need for a security-oriented approach as we move forward,” he said.
“It is becoming clear that the damage caused by the virus has been greatest in the poorest communities.
“The government must recognize this and fund the North West councils accordingly.”
Broughton, where 28 people have died, is the worst area of death from coranavirus in Salford.
It is one of the most disadvantaged parts of the city, with the lowest life expectancy, the highest unemployment rate and the second largest number of dependent children living in low-income families .
Too little, too late
Mocha Parade, where Tommy Robinson held a rally last May while campaigning for an MEP, is a dilapidated row of stores used by the local community.
Amrat Amistry, 65, who has run a pharmacy there for 30 years, says “Broughton’s demographics, the higher number of people living together and the higher number of disadvantaged families” make him vulnerable to the virus.
“People have distanced themselves and protected themselves as best they can and general practitioners and other services have risen to the challenge, but we have always become a Covid-19 hotspot,” he said.
But three Spanish friends, Lorena Ramirez, 31, Javier Saez, 27, and Anna Mendoza, 25, believe that the UK has not responded quickly enough to the pandemic.
Javier said, “People were dying in Spain, but people here just didn’t take it seriously at first,” he said.
“They didn’t take social distance or take enough precautions and it’s always a problem I noticed, especially when I go to the supermarket. “
Lorena said Broughton’s “social problems and poverty” were also a factor, with many low-income people forced to continue working.
“People treat foreclosure as a vacation”
In the nearby housing development, residents complained that local youth refused to obey the rules of social distancing by hanging around the corner or hosting parties in their gardens.
An elderly couple, who did not wish to be named, said, “People have also gathered by the river, treating the lockdown as if it were a vacation.
“There are a lot of poor families here, but if people are too stupid to keep their distance, it’s no wonder the virus is spreading.”
Educational assistant Caroline Duff, 54, says the lack of adequate local services has exacerbated the problem.
“Lots of older people live here, but they have nothing decent about shopping,” she said.
“Many have left the region to pick up things, which puts them at greater risk.
“Salford is surrounded by cranes and new skyscrapers, but we don’t have adequate infrastructure.”
“People go out to drink on the streets”
It’s a similar story in Little Hulton, another disadvantaged area of Salford severely affected by coronavirus, where residents blame a combination of social deprivation and violation of social distancing rules.
Brian McCoist, 52, said the television reports had encouraged others to break the rules when many were now “fed up” with the lockdown and did not want to stay at home, especially in hot weather.
The mother of two, Fern Cunningham, 29, said, “People go out to the streets or to their gardens for a drink and completely ignore the rules.
“But it’s a poor region and we have lost a lot of services and the community is counting on the support of places like Mustard [a local anti-poverty charity] which has been closed. “
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said: “Any death from this disease is a tragedy and we work extremely hard, day and night, to protect the public health of the country.
“We are providing financial support to the poorest in society by increasing universal credit payments and accelerating the payment of statutory sickness benefits, as well as by introducing the coronavirus job retention program, the income support plan self-employment, mortgage leave and better tenant protection. ”
“There are links between Covid-19 mortality rates and deprivation”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Salford City Council added: “There are many issues related to the number of registered deaths from Covid-19 in Salford, and locally we are still analyzing the numbers ourselves to make sure that we understand the spread in our communities.
“There are emerging links between Covid-19 mortality rates and deprivation, trends that are observed at the national level. Salford is the 18th most disadvantaged local government area in the country, so this may well be a contributing factor.
“We know that BAME and disadvantaged communities have been particularly hard hit, and some of the hardest hit areas in Salford reflect this.
“We also need to take into account our proactive local testing and surveillance regime in Salford social care facilities. We have been testing locally under our own steam for over a month – and we believe that as such, we have found many more positive identifications of Covid-19 on deaths, despite the fact that the government does not force not all people who unfortunately died during the pandemic to be tested for Covid-19. “
Although they said they couldn’t confirm exactly how the virus originally spread before the lockdown, Salford’s preliminary data suggested it had peaked earlier – signaling that it could cross the worst period.
The spokesperson added, “But locally we are clear on one thing – despite these problems, we think our local response between the NHS, CCG, local council and the community and voluntary sector has been incredibly robust. As we hope to reach the peak of the pandemic, our local response to the coronaviruses will continue to protect the residents of Salford by working with the ever-changing nature of the current situation. “
David Buck, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund think tank, said: “Data from the ONS shows that Covid-19 follows the pattern of almost all other diseases, hitting the poorest the hardest.
“While this is a shock, it is not a surprise – before the coronavirus crisis, men living in the most deprived areas of England could hope to live nine years less than those in the wealthiest areas.
United States backs Britain to salute our largest VE day generation
REALITY STARS ‘RAGE
Glam weary and millions of chippies – why Manchester is not a hole ***
The story of VE Day – told by the men and women who lived it
Desperate to have a friendly face? Lone lockdowners spot them EVERYWHERE
Late lock-in to obesity, why the UK has the highest number of deaths in Europe
“We also know that people living in deprived areas are more likely to have long-term health problems, spending, on average, a much larger part of their already shorter lives in poor health.
“Tackling these deep-rooted inequalities and any other inequalities that may arise from the coronavirus will require intergovernmental action through a new national strategy.”