Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Lockdown number 2 has started in London. It will last for four weeks, according to the government. This article by Carole Railton (frsa) talks about her time in the last lockdown, even at Level 2.
Regular readers of our blogs will have noticed that I live in London and have recently been writing about the problems we have - the transport and housing crises all caused by Covid-19. It’s time to update you on what is going on with this pandemic which is spreading across London with more than 13,000 official cases in the past week.
Originally it was the boroughs in the East of London that were hit, but now six of the 10 boroughs most seriously affected are in West London. Although the area of infection might have changed the ages most seriously affected have not. In this latest bout of Covid-19, 89 per cent of affected people are between the ages of 60 and 75. Youngsters in the City have seen a drop in the numbers infected, in sharp contrast to seniors where it is increasing. Unfortunately, you already know that those most likely to die are the obese and those over 65 years.
A couple of boroughs have a rate of above 200 new cases per week per 100K of population and, regretfully, there is only one borough below 100 cases per week. The highest rate of cases is in Ealing with 214.2 cases per 100K of population, that is 732 new cases in the week to October 22nd, compared to 153.3 for the previous week which stood at 524 cases, according to PA news agency.
Before this news, it was thought that the virus was more likely to affect poorer sections of the population but it seems that “wealthy areas” such as the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham have a rate of 382 cases per 100K. It is because of the increases in cases seen in West London that the whole of London has been locked down in a Tier 2 level. As of Thursday 5 November, the whole of London has now entered Tier 3.
A Tier 2 lockdown is bad enough. Under this tier, we cannot go out of houses and connect with more than one other person. We are only allowed to have three people in a house, unless they are close family living in the same house. We cannot eat out at a restaurant unless it is in a couple or in a family of six. And we can only have two others in our bubble which makes this tier extremely restrictive. As you might expect we have to wear our masks at all times in shops, transport facilities, bars, and restaurants when we arrive and walk to the table. To make sure this happens Transport for London (TFL) has imposed £100 fines for not wearing a mask on a tube, and has executed it, whilst a student has been fined £10,000 for having Covid-19 and not wearing a mask. It really is getting serious. A Tier 3 lockdown has been imposed in London and is already in operation in the Midlands and North of England.
There is talk that the nearly double number of cases recorded since last week is arguably due to the increased testing. Certainly, we can’t go into most restaurants or shops unless we have our temperature taken and use hand sanitiser as well as wearing a mask. On Thursday last week I had my temperature taken twice at The Apple store and once in a restaurant – both on the same day.
I had to go into the bank last week and I had a little giggle because in the past going into a bank with a mask would have caused a lot of trouble but now you can’t go in without one! Masks are not the easiest of things to wear, especially if you have a large beard or wear glasses that steam up.
These new restrictions are expected to take two or three weeks before they have any effect on the virus so it will be interesting watching the figures. Only the other day, students staying away from home who have Covid-19 were found to be registering their address in their home town, which may have possibly skewed the figures. While Hackney, which is generally thought of as a poor borough which butts up to the City of London in the East, has 527 cases per 100K of population.
The area in London that seems to be avoiding the virus is the South East.
Hospitalisations in London due to Covid are on the rise, to more than 100 a day.
However this figure is not the highest in the UK where the areas under a Tier 3 lockdown have much higher levels of cases and deaths.
Fingers crossed then that we will see a slowdown of cases in the capital, so our lives become a little less stressful.
Photo by Carole Railton (copyright). "A Tier 3 lockdown has been imposed in London and is already in operation in the Midlands and North of England. "