Rise in Covid-related deaths in Fallowfield not students’ fault, says councillor

Poverty and overcrowding have played a larger part in the high number of deaths

A local councillor has said poverty and overcrowding have played a part in the high number of Covid-related deaths in Fallowfield, not ‘student parties’.

An interactive map, released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), splits Fallowfield in two, with 18 deaths recorded in Fallowfield West and Whalley Range South and only 2 recorded in Fallowfield central.

Councillor Jade Doswell said to Manchester Evening News: “I want to dispel what’s been going round on social media where people say this has happened because students are not socially distancing, going to the park or having parties.

“The figures just don’t support that. Fallowfield Central is where most of the students live but it’s not where most the highest number of deaths were.”

Highlighted: Fallowfield Central. (Image: Office for National Statistics – Deaths involving COVID-19)

As stated by ONS: “Points on the map are placed at the centre of the local area they represent and do not show the actual location of deaths. The size of the circle is proportional to the number of deaths.

“Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the underlying cause or was mentioned on the death certificate as a contributory factor.”

The high number of deaths in Fallowfield are likely to be related to the fact that “there are quite a lot of care homes in the Fallowfield West and Whalley Range South area,” Coun Doswell noted.

She has also pointed to housing issues faced by low income families as another reason why the virus has ‘ravaged’ parts of her community.

“There’s a lot of poverty in Fallowfield which I don’t think people realise exists, and it’s going to get worse when you have people becoming redundant once the furlough scheme ends,” said Coun Doswell.

Coun Doswell, alongside Liam Smyth, Fallowfield Labour Branch Secretary, created the Facebook group Fallowfield vs Coronavirus in March. Fallowfield vs Coronavirus is a mutual aid and response group which has been made possible through joint working with local volunteers, and partner organisations like One Manchester and NHS Buzz.

(Image: Facebook, Fallowfield vs Coronavirus)

While the council continues to deliver food parcels across the city, volunteers provide emergency food and toiletries for those waiting to receive their packages.

Mr Smyth said to The Manchester Tab: “The demand from the students quickly filtered out. I imagine as many had gone home.

“However we were inundated with offers to volunteer from students. It’s been great to see the two biggest elements of Fallowfield the students and the normal residents coming together during such hard times.”

Coun Doswell also said to The Manchester Tab: “At the start of the lockdown we were helping many students who had to isolate to get some shopping via the Fallowfield vs Coronavirus group.

“Parents were contacting our group to get help for their son/daughter, but as the lockdown progressed many of the students have left Manchester and we are now mainly helping those who are elderly and shielding or in food poverty.”

“We’re just trying to do our best to help those who are struggling,” Coun Doswell told Manchester Evening News.

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