In the city with the worst coronavirus infection rate in the UK – triple average English


It is one of our most remote cities, on the edge of the Lake District and miles from the nearest highway.

Barrow-in-Furness also has a population of just 67,000 – but it has become the national coronavirus hotspot.

The industrial city has an infection rate of 882 cases per 100,000 population, or 0.88%.

This compares to rates of 368.7 in Wales, 246.4 in England, 253.1 in Scotland and 222.8 in Northern Ireland.

And as of May 1, 61 people had died from Covid-19 in Barrow – a rate of 91 per 100,000 people.

Barrow is a city of two halves, with miles of beaches against the hills of the Lake District.

But standing on the promenade, its industrial heritage is clear, as the factories on which the city’s economy depends stand above the sands.

And that could be his problem.

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Joseph McMullen Says Social Distancing “Almost Impossible” At City’s Largest Employer – Huge Shipyard

While Boris Johnson told the nation to stay home, many people in Barrow simply couldn’t.

The city’s largest employer is the owner of the Barrow shipyard, BAE systems, which manufactures submarines.

And locals say most people couldn’t work from home.

Joseph McMullen, 50, has lived in the city all his life.

The construction worker says, “There are 9,500 people working in the shipyard.

“It is practically impossible to distance yourself socially. They’ve cut staff capacity now so they can

“I don’t think we locked early enough. There are also many people who live and work in nursing homes here. “

Social researcher Liz Murphy, 39, grew up in Barrow and returned from Leeds, where she works, to stay with her mother while in isolation.

She thinks it’s no coincidence that the cities with the highest infection rates are all very similar.

She said, “I guess in some ways it’s a shock when you hear that it’s this little hidden town.

“But when you look at the other areas that are the highest, it is not really surprising that eight out of 10 of them are the coastal cities of the northwest and northeast that have health inequalities , industry and low investment.

Barrow has a death rate of 91 per 100,000 people – the flowers in this cemetery remind us of the human cost of the figures

“Places like Middlesbrough and Sunderland have a lot in common with Barrow. It’s sad to read and it makes my heart ache.

“I went out for my daily exercise and I see walkers and joggers, but no real evidence of breaking the rules, and there is a lot of community spirit, people helping the vulnerable and fundraising for food banks.

“I also think we were ahead of the test curve.

“But Barrow is an industrial area with a lot of big employers, which means that people are less able to work from home. “

Thomas and Christine Bowers say death rate in their city is “scary”

Public health director Colin Cox says high Covid-19 levels in the region should be treated with caution due to the higher test levels.

The local hospital trust began testing health workers and families in late February – three weeks before other test pioneers, such as Sheffield.

Cox said, “The test rate has been exceptionally high due to the early and proactive approach taken by the Morecambe Bay Trust University Hospital.

“With regard to Barrow in particular, although the infection rate figures are undoubtedly artificially high due to the screening rate, it is still possible that Barrow may prove to have a higher infection and mortality rate than the average.

A sign of thanks for the NHS heroes in front of the city hospital

“Indeed, one might expect: we know that death rates are higher in older populations, urban areas and the most disadvantaged areas – all of which are relevant to Barrow.

“Barrow also has a small population, so any epidemic with a certain number of deaths will have a disproportionate effect on the figures. And there have been some major epidemics in Barrow’s nursing homes. “

Despite the figures, local hospitals were not overwhelmed. But that does not mean that the locals are not worried.

Lee Roberts, deputy head of the Barrow Borough Council, said, “These numbers are concerning. We know that the hospital trust started testing earlier and more thoroughly, which significantly contributed to the higher rates we see in the data.

Amanda Killelea of ​​the Mirror visited Barrow in Cumbria to find out why the death rate is so high

“What these figures do not give us is an additional detail that could tell us whether other factors have had an impact – such as age demographics, more densely spaced dwellings in certain parts of the borough or higher deprivation indicators.

“We need a data survey to see more closely if Barrow’s figures are actually above average and, if so, what’s behind it.

“All the data that indicates a trend like this must be examined to make sure that everything is being done to protect the public as we progress through the crisis. “

Taking advantage of their daily walk along the prom, retired Thomas and Christine Bowers said most of their friendship group sticks to social distancing – and so far, they don’t know anyone who has been affected by the virus.

Thomas, 61, said, “I think the high infection rate may be due to the fact that many entrepreneurs come from outside to work.

“And it’s a small town and a tight-knit community, people live together. “

Christine, 65, added, “It’s scary. “


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