Most of the country's major university towns are now past the peak of the virus, latest data reveals

Camilla Turner
·2-min read
Cases in Newcastle, where students make up almost a fifth of the city's population, peaked on October 10 at 553.8 per 100,000 but have been falling since
Cases in Newcastle, where students make up almost a fifth of the city's population, peaked on October 10 at 553.8 per 100,000 but have been falling since

Most of the country's major university towns are now past the peak of the virus, the latest data reveals.

The number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 is now declining in all but four of the 18 largest universities towns in the country, according to an analysis of figures from Public Health England.

Major university towns, defined as those with over 20,000 students but excluding London, have generally seen cases begin to fall over the past few days.

Cases in Newcastle, where students make up almost a fifth of the city's population, peaked on October 10 at 553.8 per 100,000 but have been falling since.

Likewise in Liverpool, cases peaked at 691.3 on October 6 and Sheffield where the height was 500.3 cases on October 13.

Over 22,000 students across the country have tested positive for Covid since the start of term, according to an analysis by the University and College Union with thousands more forced to self-isolate in halls as lectures move online.

Watch: People in England face £10,000 fines for not self-isolating

Dozens of academics back a petition calling for a “minimum university premium” as they say students are being treated like convicts and kept in “inhumane” conditions in halls while they self-isolate.

Over 60 lecturers and professors along with thousands of parents, have signed a petition calling on universities to give students partial fee refund if they cannot guarantee the restoration of in-person teaching, extra-curricular and social activities as well as better pastoral care for isolating students.

Molly Kingsley, co-founder of the parent campaign group Us For Them which organised the petition, said many more academics offered their support in private but were too worried to publicly back the petition for fear of repercussions from their employers.

Last week, Manchester University's vice-Chancellor announced that the university is past its peak. At their height, cases in the city reached 583.5 per 100,000 on October 7 but have been falling ever since.

Dame Nancy Rothwell said that the number of infected students is "coming down very quickly" at both her own university as well as the neighbouring Manchester Metropolitan University.

"Let's not be complacent, infections can go up as well as go down," she said last week, adding that the rising cases was "very much a feature of something that seemed to happen very fast about a week to ten days after they returned, and now they are coming down."

Watch: How will England's three-tier local lockdown system work?