Coronavirus

Bradford blames Eat Out to Help Out scheme for widespread COVID-19 outbreak

A Bradford man who was hospitalised with COVID-19 has blamed the Government’s Eat out to Help Out scheme for the city’s outbreak.

Mohammed Mukhtar Khan, who spent six days in hospital with coronavirus, spoke to Bradford doctor, Professor John Wright, who is keeping a frontline diary for the BBC.

Mohammed said: “It’s hit hard here because people didn’t take it seriously – or they did for the first lockdown but that all changed with the Eat Out scheme.

“I think this is where the problem came – I think it’s people gathering together in the restaurants. In the first wave people were scared, and then when they started promoting the restaurant scheme it made it very bad.”

Tier 3 restrictions loom heavily over Bradford at the moment as the killer virus continues to sweep through the southern part of the city.

Three specific streets have been hit, causing devastation among those who live on Springwood Avenue, Avenue Road and Parkside Road.

It is not clear just how many people have become infected, but the community was significantly impacted when the chair of the Parkside mosque, Haji Amir Kabil Raja, passed away after becoming infected with COVID-19.

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Professor Wright, who is head of the Bradford Institute for Health, said: “We are increasingly recognising that unlike flu or measles, which spread like tidal waves across communities, the Sars-Cov-2 virus appears to spread in clusters with a small number of individuals and events contributing to the great majority of cases – perhaps only 10% of individuals causing 80% of infections, often in superspreading events such as weddings or funerals.

“The most efficient approach to controlling transmission would be to track back to these superspreaders and isolate them. However, when the prevalence of cases is so high, the test and trace systems can barely keep up with current cases let alone investigate back to the source.”

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