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North south divide in covid outbreak

(104 Posts)
weepingwillow22 Wed 16-Sep-20 14:06:03

I was struck by this map on the zoe app showing the number of current infections per million people.

There is such a marked divide between the north and south of the UK, from the Highlands of Scotland where there are 2900 cases per million to the north of England where it drops to an average of around 2000, to the midlands which are at about 1500 and then to the south east which is around 500 to 1000 and then finally the south west which is below 500.

Does anyone have any views on the reasons for this regional disparity. I am wondering if it is climate related as an earlier autumn in the north means faster spread of the virus.

If this is the case though it does not bode well for all of us heading into winter. Any views?

OP’s posts: |
Mintjulia Wed 16-Sep-20 14:13:01

Yes, it is noticeable isn't it. I guess the possibilities are variations on:

Density of population (more cities)
Density of housing
Availability of health advice & guidance
Cultural reasons - multi-generational households maybe?
Ability to work from home
Underlying health of the population

Waxonwaxoff0 Wed 16-Sep-20 14:25:14

Type of jobs maybe? The north and Midlands is more industrialized, I'm in the Midlands and the majority of people in my town work in the local factories. The south east is likely to have more professionals who can WFH. South west is more sparsely populated.

2020isnotbehaving Wed 16-Sep-20 14:26:02

Wales only has about a million people over 8000 square miles. Find it hard believe if calculated every county that every rural area with miles between houses has same level of covid as the capital city with over crowding and poverty?

user1471588124 Wed 16-Sep-20 14:27:40

Income most likely. We know a high income is one of the protective factors against covid infection, and northern towns have been plagued by under investment and low wages for decades.

Witchend Wed 16-Sep-20 14:31:04

I think there's a mixture of things.
When it increases in one region, then it tends to gradually spread out like diffusion. Boundaries aren't rigid, so people will go over, to work, school, shop etc. I can go to 3 different counties within 10 minutes in the car.

At the beginning we saw that with London. London was the big one and then it spread outwards. Now it was the big places in the north that it's spreading through.

The earlier autumn is an interesting theory though.

EmMac7 Wed 16-Sep-20 14:31:22

There’s a stack of evidence building up now via studies that seasonality is important — particularly humidity.

ssd Wed 16-Sep-20 14:35:37

It's interesting how this spreads North eventually. I was quite smug, being in Scotland, thinking our numbers were low, but not now.

littlemsattitude Wed 16-Sep-20 14:36:39

It's hardly a north south divide when the edge of the red areas are Oxfordshire,Gloucestershire and Monmouth, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire. The second highest category goes down to Hampshire,Sussex and Kent.

MissEliza Wed 16-Sep-20 14:37:56


It's interesting how this spreads North eventually. I was quite smug, being in Scotland, thinking our numbers were low, but not now.

Why on earth would you feel smug? I'd imagine people in those areas are feeling quite anxious at the moment.

flowerycurtain Wed 16-Sep-20 14:46:39

Where do Waitrose stop?

I'm only semi joking. I normally do Aldi but Waitrose sent me some vouchers so I tried there.

Security guard cleaning every trolley
Still limited numbers in store
Everyone masked and sanitised
Most people using th app to scan on their phone
Everyone social distancing.

It was a revelation compared to Aldi where there's a token bottle of empty sanitizer hidden in a corner.

I'm sure the wealth factor has something in it. If people can afford to wfh, isolate kids for 2 weeks if need be, drive not public transport and have big spacious houses surely that's going f to help.

AlecTrevelyan006 Wed 16-Sep-20 14:51:41

It was rife in London before lockdown and as a result now London is, at or very close to, herd immunity.

pontypridd Wed 16-Sep-20 14:54:09

Is there such a thing as herd immunity with Covid?

Perhaps it could be the weather being warmer and sunnier in the south?

MadameBlobby Wed 16-Sep-20 14:55:26

I don’t think this is accurate. Where I live near Glasgow is in local restrictions and our rate is about 33 per 100000 so about 330 per million? Not dark red on this chart anyway.

AlandAnna Wed 16-Sep-20 14:55:40


It was rife in London before lockdown and as a result now London is, at or very close to, herd immunity.

Yes, this! Most people will get it eventually unfortunately. London and the SE were hit hard in March.

Srictlybakeoff Wed 16-Sep-20 14:56:54

Yesterday there were 3 new cases in the Highlands of Scotland. But population density is low. So this way of looking at it seems very skewed. Still think I would feel safer in the Highlands than in the middle of London

Papyrus Wed 16-Sep-20 15:00:43

I agree it’s likely to be a mixture of things. In the south west cities like Exeter and Plymouth have higher rates then the surrounding rural areas. The higher numbers in rural areas of northern England and Scotland has surprised me, but maybe they’re just ahead and we will start to see a similar pattern down south?

katienana Wed 16-Sep-20 15:04:12

The first lockdown happened early enough that it slowed the spread right down up here. Lots of us never got exposed. Restrictions easing and exposing lots more of us who haven't had it.
Plus there is the houses of multi generation thing, on a local level that does seem accurate to an extent

movingonup20 Wed 16-Sep-20 15:10:11

I've just driven south back home, it was noticeable back at my old house that people were doing whatever they pleased, 9 people in next doors garden

feesh Wed 16-Sep-20 15:12:54

Controversial, but I’ve noticed a strong class divide when it comes to wearers of masks vs refusers of masks......

Twilightstarbright Wed 16-Sep-20 15:20:51

@feesh who wore masks?

BadPoet Wed 16-Sep-20 15:22:02


Controversial, but I’ve noticed a strong class divide when it comes to wearers of masks vs refusers of masks......

So you are suggesting that 'a class divide' is mirrored in a north/south divide? Anyway, as others have said, the map is wrong.

RedToothBrush Wed 16-Sep-20 15:23:37

Its been relatively warm and not that wet throughout August and September when cases started to rise. I'm not buying into it being better weather down south. Not when it was over 20 degrees still yesterday up here.

I think its socio economic but also cultural.

You get people in the North who have a different type of comtempt and attitude to politicians who live in London and have no idea what their life is like because of the distance. Its stuff like how public transport is valued and subsidised by the tax payer in London but its something unheard of by many in the NW that has created this cultural divide over many years that grates. And theres a more two fingered response to authority in certain places compared to others (often based on whether somewhere is populated by the people who represent authority or not).

So you have more people who think the government are asking them to do things that they wouldn't do themselves and an attitude of 'why do this when there is nothing in it for me' or 'sod it I'm going to do it cos I've got nothing else to live for' because of poverty.

What I have noticed in particular is fundamentally different patterns of behaviour in middle class compared to working class communities.

That doesn't mean that middle class communities are more immune - indeed it can be the opposite if arrogance creeps in. Compliance in supermarkets in a 'good area' seems higher than in a less well off area. But middle class families can have garden parties more easily because they have the space to do so.

So I think its a real mixed bag of reasons but overall it can be described best as cultural differences.

weepingwillow22 Wed 16-Sep-20 15:23:59

I wonder if the earlier opening of the schools in Scotland also had something to do with the higger numbers there.

I have been watching the map over the last 2 weeks and the dark red has been gradually spreading south. Maybe colder weather in the north is already leading to more internal socialising. Here in the SE it has been high 20s all week and most people are in pub gardens rather than indoors.

OP’s posts: |
FiveGoToLidl Wed 16-Sep-20 15:24:47

we had it badly in London in Feb/March/April

if you were unfortunate enough to be commuting in that time (I was), you would have heard everyone coughing! I was tested for antibodies and have them (I got ill in March). I don't form part of the officially tested number as I wasn't in hospital and I imagine there are many many more like me who were ill in that time and actually had Covid.

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