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The 70’s At 7!

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Why one of Sheffield’s poshest suburbs is an unlikely Covid-19 hot-spot

Written by on 10/10/2020

With an enviable position of accommodating some of Sheffield‘s most expensive housing, Ranmoor should statistically be among the last city suburbs to feature as a coronavirus hotspot.

Research has identified deprivation and cramped housing as key drivers behind Covid-19 infection spikes and neither are problems in the area.

But it has outstripped areas like Page Hall, plagued by poverty, poor housing and widespread abuse of social distancing rules, to emerge as the city’s worst hotspots.

The Ranmoor and Endcliffe area, which occupies part of the city’s most desirable south-west district, topped the city’s infection rate with 408 cases in just one week, including the first few days of October.

Far from panic on the streets, however, residents are relaxed and believe there is a simple answer: the area houses a student village and it is known rates among university students are rampent.

Pat Niblett, 66, lives close enough to the student village to use the on-site store, though for the moment that is a habit she has given up.

“I think it is down to students, and I don’t mean that unkindly,” she said.

“I have stopped going to the student shop in Endcliffe village. I am not worried, the village may be just up the road, but it’s a world away.

“It does make you think, though. Young people don’t seem to notice they have got it,” which is a good thing in itself,” she said.

Endcliffe Park regular Tony Foulds, who makes a daily pilgrimmage to tend the memorial to the American crew of bomber Mi Amigo, which crashed there during World War Two, shares the view that the infection rate reflects the student population.

He has been undeterred by the spike in infections, despite his 84 years putting him firmly in the at-risk category.

“When this first started the police came and said it was ok for me to come down to the memorial,” he said.

“I am not worried about catching it, I have been coming all summer and I am not stopping now.”

With the government expected to announce new ways of dealing with lockdowns early next week and Sheffield’s infection rates reaching increasingly high levels, the prospect of tighter measures in the city appear increasingly unavoidable.

For the moment, however, life in Endcliffe Park as well its surrounding streets and well-heeled shops is continuing without unnecessary fuss.