Where did the second wave of Covid hit the hardest?

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Where did the second wave of Covid hit the hardest?

More than half of local authorities in England and Wales were hit harder by the pandemic in January than at the peak of the first wave, official fi

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More than half of local authorities in England and Wales were hit harder by the pandemic in January than at the peak of the first wave, official figures reveal. 

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows 54 per cent – 182 out of 336 – registered more deaths from Covid in the first four weeks of this year than between March 28 and April 24 last year. 

East Sussex suffered the biggest hit in the second wave compared to the first, with three of its five local authorities in the top ten worst affected areas. These included Hastings, where Covid fatalities surged 19-fold, and Eastbourne, where they leapt four-fold.

And Norfolk faced the second-biggest toll, after two of its seven local authorities were also on the list. Norwich saw Covid deaths spiral eight-fold, and Broadland saw them spike three-fold. 

Across England and Wales almost 29,000 deaths linked to Covid-19 were registered during the periods of both the first and second waves considered, revealing the uneven pressures faced by people living in different areas.

It comes after the ONS today revealed the two UK nations had suffered their second deadliest week of the pandemic at the end of January. 

WHICH AREAS WERE WORST HIT DURING THE SECOND WAVE? 

Hastings

Norwich

Rother

Ceredigion

Arun

Wrexham

Eastbourne

Ribble Valley

Broadland

West Lindsey 

116

93

147

29

159

115

157

48

135

49 

The first wave was dated for four weeks from March 28 to April 24, after England’s first lockdown was declared. The second wave was dated for four weeks from January 2 to 29, after England’s third lockdown was declared.

Hastings and Norwich suffered the biggest hits from the second wave, after Covid deaths jumped from six to 116 fatalities and 10 to 93 respectively.

Rother, in East Sussex, suffered the third biggest hit after Covid deaths jumped seven-fold between the waves from 19 to 147.

It was followed by Ceredigion, in Wales, where they jumped six-fold from 4 to 29, Arun, in West Sussex, where they jumped four-fold from 31 to 159, and Wrexham, also in Wales, where they jumped four-fold from 23 to 115.

In Norfolk Broadland was also among the top ten with the biggest impact from the second wave, where deaths leapt three-fold from 32 to 135.

Of the 56 local authorities where Covid-19 deaths in the second wave were at least double that in the first, 15 were in the South East and 16 were in the East of England.

The far larger impact in the south of the country is likely down to the more infectious Kent variant, scientists say, which spread rapidly in the run-up to Christmas.

It has a key mutation – dubbed N501Y – which is thought to allow it to jump between humans and trigger more infections more easily.

These will inevitably lead to more deaths from the virus, because it will spread to more people in total than the old virus was able to.

Top scientists have also warned the strain – dubbed B.1.1.7. – is slightly more deadly, but they say as this accounts for less than ten additional deaths for every 1,000 caused the impact is minimal. 

In East Sussex, for example, its Conquest and Eastbourne District General Hospital grappled with five times more Covid-19 patients last month than during the first wave, with approximately half of its beds used up by those suffering from the virus.

Nonetheless, the impact was not as great in London – with only Kingston-upon-Thames suffering at least double the number of fatalities as in the first wave – despite the new variant already being more widespread there.

It has been suggested this could be linked to higher levels of immunity to the virus in the capital, which surveys have consistently shown has higher levels of antibodies – virus-fighting proteins – in its population compared to other areas.

But it may also be connected to the impact of the first wave on the city, which was the country’s hotspot and the first place to take the full force of the virus.

WHICH AREAS WERE WORST HIT DURING THE FIRST WAVE?

Salford

Harrogate

Cheltenham

Craven

Trafford

West Lancashire

Gateshead

Leeds City

Sunderland

Stockport 

207

84

93

38

116

72

137

368

227

201 

The first wave was dated for four weeks from March 28 to April 24, after England’s first lockdown was declared. The second wave was dated for four weeks from January 2 to 29, after England’s third lockdown was declared. 

The areas that suffered the biggest impact from the first wave compared to the second are mostly based in the North of England, ONS data reveals.

Salford had the biggest impact, with fatalities four-fold higher at 207 in April compared to 45 in January.

It was followed by Harrogate, in North Yorkshire, where fatalities were three-fold higher at 84 compared to 25.

And Cheltenham, in the South West, where they were also three-fold higher at 93 compared to 34.

In Craven, North Yorkshire, deaths were three-fold higher in the first wave at 38 compared to 14 in the first four weeks of January.

In Trafford, Greater Manchester, they were up by almost three-fold at 116 compared to 45 in the next wave.

As many as five out of the ten areas suffering the biggest hit in the first wave compared to the second were in the North East and Yorkshire, with four in the North West and one in the South West.

It wasn’t clear why this could be the case, although experts have previously pointed to months of tougher restrictions in the regions compared to the rest of the country to explain a lower death toll.

They said that these kept the lid on cases for longer, meaning the there were fewer infections and hence fewer deaths.

Under the first and second tier system the harshest measures were quickly imposed on the north of the country, as official data suggested cases were rising, but were not brought in for the South until later on.

They add that the more infectious variant of Covid-19 was not widespread in the North, compared to the south, leading to fewer infections and therefore fewer deaths.

The four weeks after January 2 were chosen for the second wave because these were just after England’s third national lockdown was declared on January 4.

And the four week from March 28 were chosen for the first wave because these were just after the first national lockdown was declared on March 23. A lag of a week was given to ensure both peaks were comparable.

It comes after furious Tories savaged Matt Hancock over a ‘forever lockdown’ today after the Health Secretary warned border restrictions may need to stay until autumn — despite figures showing the UK’s epidemic is shrinking.

Lockdown-sceptic backbenchers took aim at Mr Hancock when he unveiled the latest brutal squeeze aimed at preventing mutant coronavirus strains getting into the country.

The Department of Health announced 12,364 more coronavirus cases and 1,052 deaths in the past 24 hours as the winter wave continues to shrink because of lockdown.

Both figures have dropped by more than a quarter compared to last week, with today’s infections down 26.6 per cent on last week’s figure and deaths by 27.4 per cent. The number of Covid patients in hospital has also fallen by a fifth in a week, with nearly 27,000 beds now taken up by Covid sufferers.

The DoH also revealed another 356,291 coronavirus jabs were administered yesterday, with 12.6million Brits having now received their first dose. With six days still to go, No10 is within touching distance of delivering on its target of injecting the 15million most vulnerable by February 15.

But hopes the world-beating vaccine roll-out will mean lockdown curbs can be significantly eased any time soon were shot down today by Mr Hancock, who unveiled the latest suite of border curbs, which he warned could last until the Autumn when booster vaccines will be available. 

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