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Has any research been done yet to explain how Covid spread to every corner of England so quickly?

(45 Posts)
pinktaxi Fri 19-Jun-20 10:16:21

I mean how did Fred Bloggs living in a remote English village catch it? I can understand cities like London, with so many people using public transport, but how does an elderly couple living in their home in a small town of village, 200 miles away, catch it? And almost on the same time scale ?

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feelingverylazytoday Fri 19-Jun-20 10:22:29

Did they? It seems to have been clustered around towns and cities for the most part.

Redolent Fri 19-Jun-20 10:23:52

I’m not sure there is research yet on the nature of the UK spread (we know that it was mainly seeded within the UK by travellers from Italy, Spain and France).

But I’m not sure what you mean by ‘quickly’. The damage was being done throughout February half term. And unless that elderly couple were in isolation, I’m sure they went out and about, to cafes, on buses, restaurants, church, or simply meeting indoors with their adult children who may have sat on the same train as a superspreader who was in London.

pinktaxi Fri 19-Jun-20 10:24:18

Yes. Just had an elderly couple who lived in the north somewhere, own home, and both caught it, all around the same time.

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SudokuBook Fri 19-Jun-20 10:25:04

I don’t know but do they not now think it came in through lots of different people and not just one patient zero?

Drivingdownthe101 Fri 19-Jun-20 10:25:52

Is that what happened? London and cities in the Midlands were hit harder and quicker than anywhere else.
We live in the sticks but DH works in London and we’re pretty sure he brought it back from there (wasn’t tested as there was no widespread testing at that point but diagnosed by a Dr).
People don’t stay where they live. People commute, travel to see friends and family, go shopping etc.
30% of infections were brought in from Spain apparently. It isn’t only people from cities who go on holiday to places like Spain and Italy.

dementedpixie Fri 19-Jun-20 10:26:17

I read it was brought in in over 100 different places and there wasn't a patient zero

ohthegoats Fri 19-Jun-20 10:28:19

There were 1300 separate 'seeds' from Europe over half term (mostly). Those 1300 people could have lived anywhere in the UK. A family coming back from skiing in Italy could live in London, a village in the NW, Cardiff.. wherever. That family visits granny, granny goes to a coffee morning in the next village... and there you have it.

dementedpixie Fri 19-Jun-20 10:28:24

Ooh I'm wrong by a good amount - over 1300 people brought it back

pinktaxi Fri 19-Jun-20 10:28:36

I guess it just shows how widely people travel throughout the country. I only go to work in a big town but could easily have met up with someone who had travelled abroad, or whose relative had.

Thinking about it is pretty horrifying how easily this spread. Yes, I know it's staring the bleeding obvious, but it is shocking how interconnected we all are.

OP’s posts: |
ohthegoats Fri 19-Jun-20 10:28:57

RedCatBlueCat Fri 19-Jun-20 10:29:23

It was brought in multiple times - The Guardian is suggesting 1300 separate people brought covid into the UK

nagynolonger Fri 19-Jun-20 10:31:03

It must be so many travelling to and from London. I know so many who travel from the East Midlands at least one day a week normally for work. Also lots holiday abroad all year round.

HAB86 Fri 19-Jun-20 10:31:06

Rural people also have lives and mix with people.
For example: I live in a rural village in the North, my husband was skiing in Italy in late Jan, just before it was obvious there was a problem. He could have easily picked it up and brought it back, spreading it round our local town at the shops etc.

pinktaxi Fri 19-Jun-20 10:32:13

Yes, 1300 would make more sense. It's mind boggling, but perfectly logical that one person comes into close contact with hundreds of people in just a week. 1300 is more sensible than just one patient zero. It's scary how easily it spreads.

OP’s posts: |
SquishySquirmy Fri 19-Jun-20 10:34:40

It didn't spread all that suddenly. We spent weeks ignoring it and allowing it to spread.
Think about all those half term holiday trips... it's not just city dwellers who catch flights abroad!!!

So a family who lives in a remote village goes on holiday, maybe to a hot spot, or maybe they just sit next to an infected person in the airport on their way back
They return to their village in a remote corner of the UK.
Their kids go back to school.
They go to work, keep shopping, keep socialising, go to church etc, and continue to shake hands/hug/share food as normal in all those places.

ohthegoats Fri 19-Jun-20 10:34:46

My friend came back from skiing in Austria the day they locked down. She went straight from the airport to her boyfriend in Surrey. Went to the pub there, stayed overnight, then travelled home to Kent. That week she went sailing 3 times with people who work in London and also who travel back and forth to France for work. Her boyfriend carried on going to work in his town in Surrey, where he works for a haulage company that does lots of routes all over the UK and Europe.

My friend was ill a week later, around the time the UK locked down. Who knows if she had it. Her boyfriend was also ill at the same time, maybe he had it. How many people had they been in contact with in that time?

People travel A LOT.

I work in a school full of international pupils. I have 4 Italian children in my class who came back from Milan at the end of February after an extended half term. I had children arriving from India in that time, Nigeria and Nepal. We had over half the class off with 'symptoms' by first week in March. Who knows?!

SquishySquirmy Fri 19-Jun-20 10:40:07

And the advice at the time was to carry on as normal.
Physical contact (handshakes etc) large gatherings and travel were not discouraged in any way. If anything business as usual was encouraged for as long as possible.

Looking back it would be astonishing if it had remained contained within big cities.

TheCanterburyWhales Fri 19-Jun-20 10:48:31

Well, there's a UK patient zero somewhere.

It's just that as everything happened so late, unlike elsewhere, they'll never be found. And no point looking now.
But yes, Italy was already imposing restrictions and people on my FB were flying back to the UK chuckling that they'd had a fab holiday skiing and they're absolutely fine and no, they would never have cancelled their holiday.

Italy was already two weeks into total lockdown and my friend was still on a crowded tube going into London to work every morning. How many tourists (UK and otherwise) were on those tubes at the time?

I'm in Italy and have been here 27 years. I don't personally know anyone here who has had Coronavirus. In the UK, where, after 27 years, I know far fewer people, I know of three separate families who have been affected (one death) in, respectively, rural Surrey, the north west, and a small town in the East Midlands. And that's just me. You only have to read MN to see how many cases in "non hot spot" areas there have been.

zafferana Fri 19-Jun-20 10:49:35

A few ideas:

1) It looks like Covid has been here for much longer than anyone first realised. People in the UK were reporting flu-like illness back in November/December and this tallies with reports of excessive 'flu' season in China.
2) This led to the virus moving undetected around the world for several months - Italy shut down flights from China in January, but they had already been infected. That infection slow-burned in parts of northern Italy around Milan for a number of weeks before anyone realised it was Covid and raised the alarm.
3) Most of the infections in the UK in the early stages of our epidemic came from Italy, Spain and France, areas that people visited for skiing holidays over Christmas/New Year and where older people often go for winter sun between Dec-Mar.
4) Older people are more likely to have regular GP and hospital appointments and GPs/practice nurses rarely wear PPE in normal times, hence spreading via GP surgeries and hospitals before anyone was looking for Covid in the UK.
5) This was exacerbated by lack of PPE in early stages of epidemic, even when we knew that Covid was spreading in hospital wards treating people for non-Covid illness.
6) Hospital discharges to care homes in Mar/Apr infecting carers.
7) Asymptomatic people continuing to work, travel and move around their communities. Estimation for how many people are asymptomatic with Covid range from 20-80% of those infected.

pandafunfactory Fri 19-Jun-20 10:52:40

The elderly weren't the first to get it, they were the last. There is a real question about whether lockdown actually helped at all. For certain it's fecked up our economy,kids education and all our mental health.

dementedpixie Fri 19-Jun-20 10:55:44

there wasn't 1 patient zero, there were over a thousand of them. Elderly werent first to get it but once it was in care homes/hospitals it was hard to contain

Comefromaway Fri 19-Jun-20 11:00:58

Members of a particular community choir were reporting symptoms back in December/early January. The pub landlady where they met after rehearsals was taken into hospital with pneumonia. The husband of one of the choir members went on a business trip to Wuhan in November.

We live in a ruralish area but we travel to major cities a lot for work and education. My kids went to London during February half term and my son became ill with a cough and a virus shortly afterwards. He could have spread it round the community.

BrieAndChilli Fri 19-Jun-20 11:01:40

Also the way the population lives makes a difference. In a lot of countries people live in thier home town surrounded by thier family and don’t often travel to other places. On the U.K. families are spread so far apart that people regularly travel up and down the country.
London is also a hub for business etc, people from all over the place travel to London for meetings etc, lots of people in London then commute out to the Home Counties/second homes in Devon. Lots of people going abroad on holiday.
Plus I think it was here a bit earlier so had time to spread around a bit before the cases suddenly exploded.

Redolent Fri 19-Jun-20 11:15:36


The elderly weren't the first to get it, they were the last. There is a real question about whether lockdown actually helped at all. For certain it's fecked up our economy,kids education and all our mental health.

It’s the virus that fecked the economy, not the lockdown. Look at Sweden’s dire economic forecast for this year, without a lockdown. Stockholm was like a ghost town for months as people stayed at home of their own will. Do you think people would have been happy going about their normal business, consuming shopping and working, with the virus unchecked, and hospitals overflowing with patients @?

Well I guess we’ll see the results now in the United States. Bars and restaurants that reopened are finding cases and having to close constantly for deep cleaning. I’m not sure how that’s sustainable.

Children’s education and mental health is a separate issue. Much much more could have been done.

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