- EXCLUSIVE: Blackburn with Darwin in the UK most affected by the coronavirus pandemic since the start of the pandemic
- An average of 19,000 per 100,000 people in the region have tested positive for the deadly virus
- Figures show how northern parts of England have borne the brunt of the Covid crisis
Official figures show that about a fifth of people in Blackburn have tested positive for Covid since the pandemic began.
The Lancashire Authority has been the most affected area in the UK, recording 12 times more cases per population size than the least affected parts of the UK.
Data from the Department of Health shows that about 19,000 people per 100,000 people have had the virus in Blackburn since March 2020, compared to just 1,500 in Scotland’s Orkney Islands.
Burnley – also in Lancashire – was the second worst affected area in the UK, with the virus infecting just 18 per cent of the population. It was followed by Knowsley (17.9 per cent) in Merseyside, Hyndburn (17.0 per cent) in Lancashire and Derry City and Strauben (16.8 per cent) in Northern Ireland.
Covid was least prevalent in the remote islands and coastal areas of Scotland, Wales and England. After the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands – the northernmost part of the UK – had the next lowest case rate, with 2.9 per cent of people testing positive.
It was followed by Wales (3.1 per cent), Moray (4.2 per cent) in north-east Scotland and Comhair non-Illian sear in north Norfolk (5.2 per cent).
Broadly speaking, the figures highlight that the northern parts of England – which are usually the most disadvantaged – have borne the brunt of the crisis.
Blackburn initially became the country’s hotspot last summer and was put into local lockdown to contain the rising number of cases. The outbreak is believed to be the result of low adherence to social distancing among disadvantaged and hard-to-reach ethnic minority groups.
Case rates in that area increased once again when the delta variant burst through the population in May. The strain was imported into the country in large numbers through travelers returning from India.
Experts told MailOnline that the true proportion of people contracting the disease would be even higher, especially in the first wave, and asymptomatic spread because of the lack of testing. Only 8 million people have officially tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began.
Official figures show that about a fifth of people in Blackburn have tested positive for Covid since the pandemic began. The map shows: the proportion of people testing positive in each local authority in the UK
10 most affected areas
Blackburn with Darwin
Derry City and Strauben
% of Pops who had Covid
10 least affected areas
western island council
% of Pops who had Covid
Professor Lockdown says ministers may have to resort to winter Covid ‘plan B’ if daily admissions are only 1,200. violates
England may have to resort to its winter Covid ‘Plan B’ if the daily hospital admissions for coronavirus are 1,200, ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson said today.
Boris Johnson announced last month that face masks, social distancing and vaccine passports may need to be brought back if the NHS comes under continued pressure.
Ministers said the trigger point will now be hospital rates when jabs have made case numbers less significant – but they have not imposed any limits on admissions.
Professor Ferguson – a key government adviser whose modeling prompted the first lockdowns last March – suggested England should have no more than 1,200 daily hospitalizations. For comparison, the Covid penetration level exceeded 4,000 during the darkest days of the second wave in January.
Speaking to a cross-party committee of MPs today, he said that the country is currently registering around 600 Covid admissions per day.
He added: ‘If this figure was double, we would have to think about going to “Plan B”.’ The epidemiologist based at Imperial College London called for ‘more rapid’ restrictions if there is a sharp increase in admissions.
To get ahead of the winter wave, he said a second dose could be brought forward for 16 and 17-year-olds and advised that we are ‘more aggressive’ in giving boosters.
Professor Christina Pagel, a mathematician at University College London, said the UK has seen the highest case rates in the most disadvantaged communities, which then progressed to a more serious and deadly disease.
She told MailOnline: ‘The true number of infections would be much higher than 20 percent of the population, because many people who had COVID would not have been tested – especially in the first wave.
‘The general pattern we have observed is that the more disadvantaged communities have been exposed to COVID with a much higher rate from the pandemic than the least disadvantaged.
‘This is due to a combination of factors: overworking outside the home, overworking in crowded or public jobs – eg factories, hospitality, security guards, transport – living in overcrowded and multi-generational housing More likely, less access to green spaces.
She added: ‘Then, once infected, people from more disadvantaged communities are also more likely to need hospital, more likely to die and more likely to develop a long covid.
‘With higher case rates, children from disadvantaged communities have dropped out more school and are also less able to study…