Coronavirus: Northern England ‘worst hit’ by pandemic

Publishedduration1 hour ago

image copyrightReuters

image captionThe Northern Health Science Alliance made 12 recommendations to the government

The north has been hit harder than the rest of England during the coronavirus pandemic, “exacerbating” regional inequalities, according to a study.

The Northern Health Science Alliance also found the mortality rate, even after factoring in deprivation, ages and ethnicity, was worst in the north.

It said in the “Northern Powerhouse” area an extra 57.7 people per 100,000 population died between March and July.

A renewal of efforts to tackle child poverty was among its recommendations.

The report by the northern health partnership said 12.4 more people per 100,000 population died with Covid-19 in the area of the Northern Powerhouse from March to July than elsewhere in the country, with 57.7 more people per 100,000 dying of all causes.

The Northern Powerhouse dates back to the 2010-15 coalition government which began an initiative to boost economic growth in the north of England, particularly in the “core cities” of Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

The study, led by scientists from the universities of Newcastle, Manchester, York and Liverpool, put a conservative estimate on the economic cost of the increased mortality in northern England at £6.86bn and estimated the impact on the region’s mental health would cost about £5bn a year.

The report said since the start of the pandemic adverse trends in poverty, education, employment and mental health for children and young people had worsened.

It listed 12 recommendations to the government to “level-up” the country including:

  • More regional resources in the Northern Powerhouse region to boost the NHS Test and Trace system
  • Targeting vulnerable and deprived communities in the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout
  • Reducing child poverty by increasing child benefit, extending free childcare and free school meals and more investment in children’s services

Miranda Barker, chief executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said she was “extremely concerned”.

“It’s clear that throughout the pandemic at different moments, different areas have been the worst hit.”

Ms Barker said Brexit could bring “a second wave of uncertainty” for manufacturers and exporters who are currently supporting the economy.

“It really is the perfect storm,” she added.

‘You just can never relax’

image copyrightRachel Saxton

image captionRachel Saxton is “very concerned” about how the north will recover from the pandemic

Rachel Saxton, from Lymm, Cheshire, is recovering from a brain haemorrhage and has been shielding.

“Although I can’t see my precious family, I just get on with life and am very careful whatever I do,” the 48-year-old said.

“I’m very concerned for how the north will recover, thousands have lost their jobs.”

“You just can never relax.”

image copyrightPhilip Addison

image captionPlumber Philip Addison said “it feels inevitable” he will catch the virus as he continues to work

Plumber Philip Addison said a hard lockdown was needed to “get the virus beaten”.

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