Only a handful of areas in England and Wales have escaped without suffering any coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began, official figures revealed today.
Office for National Statistics data showed only 36 out of 7,209 districts — or 0.5 per cent — had not recorded a single Covid-linked fatality by the end of January. Most of the areas that escaped lightly were scattered around the South West.
For comparison, in the worst-hit postcode in Sheffield there were 72 Covid fatalities, and in an area of Hastings there were 62 victims.
The figures — unveiled today in an interactive map — revealed January was the second deadliest month on record, with 68,796 fatalities from all causes in England and Wales. It was topped only by April last year (88,153), when the country was in the grips of the first wave.
Covid was the leading cause of death in January, the ONS said. The disease was listed on 27,307 death certificates — roughly four times as many as dementia, which was the second biggest killers.
The virus has had a disproportionate impact on cities and deprived areas in the country compared to some rural communities, where the virus has struggled to take hold. Experts say packed living quarters, wealth inequalities and the emergence of the more infectious Kent variant are all to blame for the disparities.
Britain has suffered one of the worst death tolls from Covid in the world since the pandemic began. This has been linked to discharging people potentially infected with the virus to care homes in the first wave, the Kent strain and delays in implementing policies to contain outbreaks.
January 2021 was the second deadliest month on record in England after 68,796 deaths were recorded from all causes. The deadliest month is April when the country was in the grips of the first wave
Mortality rates due to coronavirus surged in March and during December and January, after cases also spiked
The ONS data was ordered by Middle Layer Super Output Area, which they said is roughly the same as postcode areas – although in some cases it has amalgamated several of them.
The worst-hit area since the pandemic began was Crabtree and Fir Vale in Sheffield. The city’s director of public health has said the high toll was linked to its ‘high concentration’ of care homes. There are six in the area.
The head of public health intelligence at Sheffield council, Louise Brewins, told a meeting in June: ‘More than two thirds of those deaths (from Covid) have been associated with care homes in that area rather than the wider community. She added: ‘Of the people who have died, over 95 per cent had one or more long term conditions as well as being elderly.’
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