Residents living in the area hit by the second most coronavirus-related deaths during the pandemic have spoken of their fears.
Updated data from the ONS has shown that 44 deaths occurred in Higher Broughton, Salford, due to Covid between March to December 2020.
Deputy City Mayor, Councillor John Merry, has said a majority of the deaths occurred in care homes and that 28 of the deaths registered in Higher Broughton happened between April and May 2020, with another 18 deaths in March 2020.
The area has shown a steep decline in death figures throughout the year, with just three deaths recorded in December.
But only Castleton and Trub in Rochdale, which had 46 Covid related deaths, the highest in Greater Manchester, has seen more of its residents die during the pandemic.
Manchester Evening News spoke to some members of the community in Broughton about the figures and how they have coped with the pandemic in one of the worst hit areas in Greater Manchester.
Last month the M.E.N reported that police intervened to stop up to 100 people attending a wedding in the Broughton Park area.
And some residents like Tony Lane believe that not everyone in the area understood the devastating impact of Covid-19.
Tony, 63, lives on Leicester Road in Broughton with his wife. While both of had their first jab of the vaccine, he described the figures as ‘depressing’.
“It was a massive relief when the first lockdown ended and it was terrible having to go back into it because people didn’t take care,” he said.
“The numbers are depressing.
“People just didn’t understand what it was and how easily it was transmitted.”
Elaine Buckton has lived in Broughton for 45 years and has also recently had her first jab of the Covid vaccine.
She told the Manchester Evening News: “It’s bad in this area, I don’t think many people understood what was going on.
“There’s a Jewish community here and a lot of them don’t have internet and I don’t think they knew.”
Mr Baddiel is a part time teacher and member of the Jewish community who lives in Higher Broughton. A father of three, he says that during the first lockdown everybody in his family caught the virus.
“It’s been very very difficult.” He said.
“At the beginning people didn’t behave that well during lockdown but as it’s gone on people have adjusted and are taking it seriously.
“Me and my whole family had it at the same time, we weren’t well but we managed to cope.
“The Passover was quite difficult because that’s when we usually go to see our family, but this time we couldn’t do that, it was difficult but it was doable.”
Broughton is home to the second largest Orthodox Jewish community in the country.
Rabbi Arnold Saunders, a councillor for Salford’s Kersal Ward, believes the Jewish holiday that occurred just weeks before the country went into lockdown last year may have played a part in the high number in March.
“There’s no doubt the Jewish community has been badly hit, particularly at the beginning.” He said.
“People had mixed just before the lockdown because of the Jewish festival of Purim.
“It’s a festive occasion where families get together and I think that did cause a lot of problems.
“Ironically it occurs again next week, but we’re much more prepared for it now and know what to do and what not to do.”
The Tory councillor told the M.E.N that he has been ‘pleasantly staggered’ by the Jewish communities uptake of the vaccine and is urging everybody to take it when called upon.
“I have been pleasantly staggered way at the uptake of the vaccine, everyone has been saying BAME communities and Jewish communities wouldn’t but I have been absolutely staggered at how many people in the Jewish community have taken the vaccine.
“I would urge anybody who has been called up to take the vaccine because I believe this is our passport out of this dreadful thing.”
Kersal Ward councillor, Ari Leitner, also pointed to the large number of care homes in Higher Broughton and Broughton Park and believes more time is needed for the data to be understood.
“There are various things that need to be taken into account and broken down to look at the data.” He said.
“The data needs breaking down and it will take a long time to analyse, there are a lot of aspects, like the high number of old age homes we have here.
“Locally there have been outbreaks, and sadly deaths, but I don’t see us being worse hit than any other community.
“We’ve learned to live with it and abide it.”
Other than Higher Brouhton, other areas in Salford with high deaths included Monton with 42 deaths, Broughton Park with 35 and 26 in Weaste and Seedley.
The ONS say that the number of deaths mentioned above will not reflect the latest trends due to the data only being available until December.
However, they say that January data will be added to the map in late February.
Deputy City Mayor Councillor John Merry, from Salford City Council, said: “Higher Broughton saw 44 deaths from Covid-19 from March to December 2020. The majority of Covid deaths seen in Higher Broughton in 2020 were deaths from care home residents.
“Salford experienced high numbers of deaths early on in the pandemic. 28 of the 44 deaths registered in higher Broughton occurred between April and May 2020, which is the same picture we see in other Greater Manchester areas that have experienced a high level of Covid deaths.
“Our thoughts are with all those who lost their lives and their family and friends at this difficult time in their lives. When the time is right the city will look at a fitting memorial so all those who lost their lives during the pandemic can be remembered.
“We had concerns at the start of the epidemic about people not following rules and not wearing masks and we asked that people followed advice.
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“Since then the number of infections has tailed off but there is still a problem with some in the community not following rules.
“The virus shows no respect and does not discriminate – it affects all our communities so we must all work together to eliminate it.
“Asymptomatic testing has increased in Salford with a number of rapid testing sites for people who live or work in the city and who cannot work from home.
“They are encouraged to get tested twice a week so we can break any chain of transmission at an early state and contribute to reducing levels of infection.
“I would urge everybody in the community who is contacted about taking the vaccination to do so as soon as possible.
“People should stay at home where possible and follow the hands, face, space rules
“Anyone who feels unwell with Covid symptoms should get tested and if they test positive should isolate for 10 days.”
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