Covid - A Year On: North London reflects on the pandemic's impact

The Ham&High's front pages during a year of Covid-19

Since Covid-19 hit the UK, the Ham&High's brought you coverage of each twist and turn. - Credit: Ham&High

After more than a year of pain for our communities, coronavirus continues to dominate the headlines. 

The word first graced our front page in the first week of March last year, with concerns Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe might have caught it in Iranian prison. 

The front pages over the following weeks trace the frightening way in which Covid-19 came closer and closer to home. 

A parent at Hampstead Hill School caught the virus, then a cluster of cases appeared in Barnet. Then our world came to a halt as Boris Johnson took us into a national lockdown on March 23, 2020. 

That began our #ThereWithYou campaign, highlighting local heroes and a change in our communities. 

A survey by the Ham&High this month found that across north and north-west London,  the vast majority of people reported Covid-19 had changed their priorities.

The Ham&High's #ThereWithYou front page was our first after the initial lockdown was announced

The Ham&High's #ThereWithYou front page was our first after the initial lockdown was announced - Credit: Ham&High

Asked whether Covid had prompted a re-evaluation of what was important,  55% of respondents (75 people) said it had changed things substantially.

Just a handful of people said they'd not been following the lockdown rules, and 72% said the last 12 months had negatively affected their mental health. 


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Meanwhile, 70% they were doing less physical activity than they had been previously. 

In December, Josephine Faleye became the first person to receive a vaccine at the Royal Free and the roll-out has brought hope.

But New Year brought a second surge of Covid-19 cases, and more pressure for our hospitals. 

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The Covid-19 crisis is not over. Even as cases fall there were still 77 Covid patients at the Royal Free NHS and 37 at the Whittington on March 16.

It has also been a year marked by financial stress. More than one in five survey respondents said they had lost their job, with more than a quarter still worried about job security.

Many local businesses have struggled with repeated lockdowns and restrictions.

Looking forward, most people who answered our questions feel safer now the vaccination programme is picking up speed, and many people are looking forward to backing our high streets and pubs when they reopen. 

North London is split when it comes to holidays. More than half of people plan to go somewhere this year - but 37% of people plan on staying at home, just in case. 

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