The North West has become the new epicentre of coronavirus as the number of hospital cases has overtaken London.
There are 2,033 people in hospital with COVID-19 in London, compared to 2,191 in the North West, according to figures released at Sunday’s Downing Street press conference.
The peak of the virus appears to have been on April 15 in the North West, while it London it is believed to have occurred on April 8.
On Sunday, the number of confirmed infections in Greater Manchester went up by 455 to 7,246 – by far the biggest daily increase so far.
The previous biggest daily increase was on April 5th – four weeks ago.
The greatest spikes were in Oldham, which was up by 100 cases to 758, and Wigan, which is up by 74 to 768.
Rochdale was up by 51 and Bury was up by 47 new cases.
This could be due to the government succeeding in reaching its target of 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said a total of 122,347 tests had been carried out on April 30 – more than 22,000 more than the government was aiming for.
Oldham has now overtaken Stockport as the borough with the highest number of confirmed infections per head of population.
Manchester has the highest number of confirmed positive tests at 1,154, but is the lowest of the ten boroughs for infections per 100,000 people.
Liverpool’s mayor, Joe Anderson, said the north-west hospitalisation figures are a “tragedy,” but said they were to be expected due to years of austerity and funding cuts to local NHS services.
He told the Guardian: “This is not a coincidence. I have been saying for the past 10 years that the high levels of poverty and deprivation in my city coupled with cuts to our NHS services will and has led to higher mortality rates.
Salford has one of the highest number of coronavirus deaths in the country, with 174 deaths recorded on Friday.
The ward area of Higher Broughton and Broughton Park has had the greatest number of deaths at 28.
In 2015, Broughton was listed as the second most deprived ward in Salford, where male life expectancy has decreased in recent years to 71.6.
Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “These figures underline the need for a safety-first approach as we move forward.
“It’s becoming clear that the harm caused by the virus has been greatest in the most deprived communities.
“The government needs to recognise that and fund councils across the north-west accordingly.”
A further 15 coronavirus deaths were recorded in Greater Manchester’s hospitals on Sunday.
The total number of COVID-19 deaths in the county’s hospitals now stands at 1,366.
This reflects a general downward trend with a fall in the number of deaths recorded in each of the last four days.
The coronavirus outbreak has left many people across Greater Manchester struggling for access to food, basics and other support. Many of them are self-isolating, often in fragile health and alone.
Public services have been working hard to find and help them, but we know they are over-stretched and working round the clock.
So the Manchester Evening News and the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity have launched Covaid-19 – a fundraiser aimed at supporting those who most need help, from elderly people with no support network to homeless families living in hotels.
The money will be distributed via the mayor of Greater Manchester’s charity.
You can donate by visiting our JustGiving page here.
It is believed many more have died at care homes and in their own homes across the region.
Speaking at a government press briefing on Sunday, Michael Gove said the Prime Minister will offer more detail this week about how Britain will begin returning to work.
Mr Gove said: “We’ve all learned to adapt, and we must carry on doing so after the Prime Minister sets out how we will get back to work later this week.
“His comprehensive plan will explain how we can get our economy moving, how we can get our children back to school, how we can travel to work more safely, and how we can make life in the workplace safer.
“But before we can ease the existing restrictions we must ensure the government’s five tests are met – that the number of cases are falling, that death rates are declining, that the NHS has what it needs, and that measures are in place to stop a second peak overwhelming the NHS.”