Birmingham’s Battle with Coronavirus

Since the beginning of the global pandemic, bigger cities have struggled to combat the infamous coronavirus. With their bustling streets and crowded subways, how is it possible for such busy places to keep safe? Well Birmingham is one such city that has struggled when it comes to handling the virus and ensuring it’s residents stay safe. During the tier system of restrictions, it got so bad that Birmingham and the West Midlands had an r rate of roughly 1.8 at the peak of infection, this means that for every 1 person infected, they were spreading the virus to nearly 2 more people.

Birmingham has a population of around 2.6 million people, this makes it extremely easy to spread the virus and is one of the main reasons why not only was the amount of people infected so high but also why the deaths were also very high. Of course, this is to be expected of the 2nd largest city in Britain, but how did it all begin? Well, it began with a business worker in late February attending a conference in another city, no doubt shaking hands mingling in the blissful ignorance we once could afford. They soon got a call from a COVID contact tracer to let them know they were on a list of attendees at the conference, with someone there becoming infected with the virus. This was case 1 in Birmingham, and from there, a battle began to keep the virus under control and save as many lives as possible.

Barely 3 months after this case 1 event and at the end of May over a thousand people had lost their lives to the virus in Birmingham with a further 339 people in Sandwell dying as well. This represents the pure, merciless power of a virus out of control, from one simple handshake to the deaths of over 300 people per month. Birmingham has come a long way when it comes to handling the virus but sadly this isn’t where the infections and deaths end. Implementing social distancing measures, encouraging people who can, to work from home, sanitising and maintaining cleanliness at work or in public areas. All of this is done in hopes of quelling the virus’ tirade through the streets of Birmingham and elsewhere, yet the virus shows no signs of stopping.

What does the future look like for Birmingham?

Well as we are currently in the second lockdown, currently Birmingham is completely locked down as the tier system didn’t appear to be working quite as well as intended. Ensuring the amount of infections lower is going to be a big ask and is going to require a lot of cooperation from the residents of Birmingham. Just to run through some of the restrictions that Birmingham is currently facing when it comes to the lockdown:

 You must not leave your house for any reason except:

  • For childcare or education if it cannot be provided online
  • For work purposes if you cannot work from home
  • To exercise on your own outside in a public place or with one other person from your household
  • For any medical concerns, appointments, or emergencies or to escape harm such as domestic abuse
  • Shopping for basic necessities like food and medicine

There are also a lot of restrictions when it comes to businesses with the basic advice being any non-essential business must close, this includes but is not limited to:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, these venues are still allowed to operate but only if they offer click and collect services or delivery services.
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars, and social clubs. In essence, any venue that does not provide food and drink for takeaway with the exception of alcohol before 10pm must close.
  • Accommodation of pretty much any kind unless it is strictly necessary such as the owners living there.
  • Leisure and sports facilities
  • Entertainment venues
  • Personal care facilities
  • Community centres
  • Places of worship

This all goes to show that whilst this is a very difficult time for Birmingham on the whole, there are measures being put in place to combat the virus and if they are followed appropriately, we have a higher chance of successfully fighting the virus.