London was better able to adhere to social distancing rules than the rest of the UK during the sultry summer months, new data has revealed.
Anonymous data on cell phone movement collected by Google showed that Londoners remained cautious as the rest of the country opened up after months of draconian lockdowns.
While night owls gathered in bars, restaurants, non-essential shops and offices across the rest of the UK between July and early September, Londoners opted instead to stay indoors or use more socially detached outdoor spaces, according to the numbers.
The difference could be responsible for London's comparatively lower hospitalization rates for coronavirus – and for the already declining statistics of the second wave.
In the summer months, visits to newly opened venues were between 50 and 30 percent less popular than before the London lockdown.
The rest of the UK was between 40 and 10 percent less employed, an analysis by the Daily Telegraph found.
London was better able to adhere to social distancing rules than the rest of the UK during the sultry summer months, new data has revealed. Pictured: An empty London restaurant this month
In London, visitor numbers to retail and leisure facilities fell 27 percent between September and November compared to pre-lockdown numbers
North Yorkshire also saw pre-lockdown numbers jump 2 percent between September and November (pictured)
Revelers hit Broad Street in Birmingham last month in Halloween costumes
The contrast is likely due to differences in lifestyle in London. There are different work and commuting patterns in the capital that make clinging to social distancing less difficult.
These data confirm similar numbers released in September that showed a 69 percent decrease in the number of visitors to non-essential shops in London – compared to cities in the north, where the decrease was much smaller.
In London, fewer than 150 per 100,000 people are hospitalized with coronavirus.
In the Northwest, Yorkshire, and the Humber the number is around 400 per 100,000 – but many factors can influence these differences.
Another 413 people died after testing positive for the virus. Official figures yesterday showed the UK death toll rose to 48,888 during the pandemic
The UK confirmed an additional 24,957 positive Covid tests yesterday, an increase of just 13.9 percent from last week's total
The Loughborough University policy and strategy researcher said: “London is a young city.
“Many Londoners may be able to work from home, which reduces mobility and risk.
"Some Londoners do not have this privilege because they are key workers who cannot avoid using public transport, which increases their risk."
However, he warned that the number of intensive care nurses in the capital was still high.
And the trends continue between September and November.
While London's visitor numbers to retail and leisure facilities fell 27 percent compared to pre-lockdown numbers, Cornwall saw visitor numbers grow 14 percent.
In North Yorkshire, the number of pre-lockdowns also increased by 2 percent.
The West Midlands – which includes major cities like Birmingham – saw only a 12 percent decline in the same category.
While London's visitor numbers to retail and leisure facilities fell 27 percent from before the lockdown, Cornwall saw visitor numbers increase by 14 percent between September and November
In the West Midlands – which includes major cities like Birmingham – the same category fell just 12 percent between September and November
Earlier this week it was revealed that London's second wave of coronavirus had already slowed before the national lockdown forced workers to stay home and high street shops to pull down the shutters.
More than half of the capital's 32 districts – including the three hotspots Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kingston upon Thames – recorded infections in the week ending October 30.
According to weekly data from Public Health England, the city's overall infection rate fell from 152 to 146 cases per 100,000 people over the same period.
The blatant numbers raise questions about whether London and its nine million residents could be spared a second lockdown if overzealous officials kept their fingers off the panic button for another week.
Officials only have two weeks of accurate infection data when the city's Tier 2 restrictions – a ban on indoor mixing – were imposed.
However, experts say it can take at least three weeks to see if the restrictions have reduced the increase in infections.
Liverpool, Lancashire and Manchester – all previously among the toughest third tier curbs – also saw sharp drops in infection rates, suggesting that the government's response came too early and should have been delayed. Boris Johnson even admitted yesterday that the Tiers were working before the crunch vote.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "Thanks to the efforts of the Londoners, we are seeing the first signs that the increase in infections in the capital is slowing." However, he warned that cases remain high and the number of patients in the hospital continues to increase. Data shows that only 990 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in London, miles away from the nearly 5,000 infected patients on the wards at the height of the first wave.
Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said Mr Khan must now "stop asking for more restrictions" and warned Londoners not to "forgive him if their favorite restaurants and shops fail to break the restrictions he imposes called so loud ".
The mayor was beaten for his overzealous decision to move the city to the second stage while other regional authorities fought with the government to negotiate concessions.
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