COVID-19 diagnosis gap widening across UK
England’s COVID-19 regional divide is widening according to new figures showing that deaths are accelerating in England’s North West, North East and Yorkshire. In recent weeks, the proportion of tests that prove positive has been increasing across the country, but is highest in northern regions. More than three quarters of COVID-19 deaths are now occurring in the North of England and the Midlands. The North West remains the hotspot for COVID-19 deaths, with all three of its health systems driving the rise in fatalities, following months of higher-than-average community transmission. London, the South East, South West and East of England saw only 48 deaths in the week up to 28 September — up from 15 in the seven days to 3 September.
Admissions in London have stopped increasing and it appears they have flattened out in the Midlands as well. They are low, but increasing, in the East of England, suggesting the second wave could start to make itself felt in this part of the country. Two-thirds of the population in northern England and a fifth of people in the Midlands are facing extra restrictions, while no local authority in England south of Solihull is currently imposing these measures. When restrictions were first eased in May, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, described it as a ‘London-centric’ approach, because many of the regions had not yet seen the decreases in deaths and cases experienced in the capital.
Northern England faces a "winter of dangerous discontent" unless the test and trace system improves, the mayor of Greater Manchester has warned. Statistics have shown that coronavirus cases appear to rise in most areas that get put under local lockdown measures, raising questions about how well they work at containing smaller outbreaks. Professor Neil Ferguson, whose work influenced the Government to start the first UK-wide lockdown in March, said today that the situation in Britain would 'probably be worse' if officials were not taking the whack-a-mole approach. He said there is still a risk that the NHS could become overwhelmed if cases aren't stopped – even if infections have started to come under control it can still take weeks for people to get sick enough to need hospital treatment.