Coronavirus is spreading more widely in Cardiff and Swansea at the moment than any other part of Wales.
Wales’ two largest cities currently have the highest rates of the virus and a higher percentage of tests that are producing positive results.
Despite most of Wales continuing to see rapid falls in Covid numbers, Swansea and Cardiff have stay persistently about 30.
How do they compare to the rest of Wales?
Cardiff currently has had 31.6 cases in the last week for every 100,000 people. Swansea’s rate is slightly higher at 32.8. With the exception of Anglesey, no other local authority has more than 20.
Anglesey also has high rates at 28.6 but because of population differences this is significantly less cases. For example Cardiff saw 116 new cases in the last week and Swansea had 81. On the whole of Ynys Mon there were 20.
On average Wales 2% of tests done in Wales produce positive results. Cardiff and Swansea’s comparable figures are 3.6% and 4% respectively suggesting higher community transmission. By contrast Monmouthshire’s positivity percentage is just 0.2%.
Figures for the week to April 3 also show that the cities have among the highest rates of coronavirus in under 25s in Wales. The infection rate in Cardiff is 51.2 cases for every 100k under 25s while it is 43.9 in Swansea. These are significantly above the average for all ages.
Where in the cities have the most cases?
These are areas of the cities with the highest infection rates (remember at this hyper local level the numbers, which show an infection rate for every 100,000 people in the last seven days can be very volatile week to week):
Ravenhill, Swansea 166.1 Grangetown North, Cardiff 145 Pwll-mawr & St Mellons East, Cardiff 107.7 Trowbridge, Cardiff 96.6 Cockett, Swansea 96.6 Butetown, Cardiff 83.3 Pen-y-lan North, Cardiff 77.3 Pontcanna, Cardiff 75 Grangetown South, Cardiff 72.4 Adamsdown, Cardiff 66.3 Llanrumney South, Cardiff 60.7 Killay, Swansea 59.8 Landore, Swansea 58.3 Mynydd-bach, Swansea 55 Townhill, Swansea 55 Cathays North, Cardiff 53 Birchgrove, Swansea 49.6 Splott, Cardiff 48.7 St Mellons West, Cardiff 46.2 West Cross, Swansea 46.1
Why are cases so much higher in these areas than other parts of Wales?
In recent weeks there have been several high profile incidents of rules breaking in both Cardiff and Swansea.
Sections of Cardiff Bay had to be fenced off after large crowds gathered for a massive party with very little social distancing.
Crowds gathered at Cardiff Bay throughout the week during Easter in the warm weather
(Image: Matthew Horwood)
(Image: Matthew Horwood)
Swansea Marina and surrounding areas were also left in a state after a similar incidents.
However it is too early to know if these events have contributed to the persistently higher cases in the cities.
Dr Giri Shankar, incident director for the novel coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “It is too soon to tell if the illegal mass gathering events at Cardiff Bay and SA1 have had any impact on Coronavirus case rates in Cardiff and Swansea.
“We continue to monitor the situation and we remind the general public that Coronavirus is still circulating in our communities.
“A large number of people have not yet been fully vaccinated, it is therefore vital that people observe social distancing, wear face coverings when in indoor spaces, and wash hands regularly. These actions will help prevent transmission of the virus.”
Residents have spoken about their growing concerns over continued anti-social behaviour around Swansea Marina throughout March
As is so often the case with Covid the reason may be complicated.
It is worth noting that built up areas have always been the most affected throughout this pandemic because there are so many more possible ways to transmit the virus as well as poorer areas. Both Swansea and Cardiff local authority areas are more densely populated than most over areas and have pockets of significant poverty.
It is unsurprising that the relatively rural and prosperous county of Monmouthshire currently has easily the lowest Covid rates at just 2.2 per 100,000.
This is further backed up by the situation in England.
If we look at the 10 local authorities in England with the highest Covid rates for every 100,000 people in the last week they are all predominantly built up areas with large pockets of deprivation.
Corby 110.8 Mansfield 107.9 Barnsley 98.4 Wakefield 84.1 Luton 81.7 Leicester 81 Bradford 79.3 Doncaster 77.3 Wellingborough 75.3 Sheffield 74
You can read a WalesOnline analysis of why RCT has been so hit by the virus here.