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Rural Welsh-speaking communities ‘likely to experience heavy population losses’ as result of coronavirus

24 Apr 2020 2 minutes Read
A village in the north of Wales

Welsh-speaking communities are “likely to experience heavy population losses” if coronavirus spreads around the UK, according to research by the University of St Andrews.

The research warns that death rates could be between 50% and 80% higher if the outbreak reaches isolated rural areas.

Researchers fear this could have long-term socio-cultural impacts on certain communities, particularly on areas which are strongholds for minority languages.

“The Covid-19 pandemic may also have long-term socio-cultural effects,” Professor Hill Kulu, who co-authored the study with his colleague Peter Dorey, said.

“The Welsh, Gaelic and Cornish-speaking communities with relatively old populations are likely to experience heavy population losses if the virus spreads widely across the UK.

“If the pandemic is to last long and the virus is to spread to all areas of the UK, remote small towns and rural communities are projected to have 50% to 80% higher death rates than the main cities because of their old population composition.

“Remote location may offer protection from Covid-19 to some areas but if the virus is to spread to these communities the effects will be devastating.”

‘Cluster’

The study investigates the contribution of population age structure to mortality from Covid-19 in the UK by geography.

Its analysis projects death rates by applying data on age-specific fatality rates to the area’s population by age and sex.

High-risk and vulnerable communities are concentrated in large areas of south-west England, coastal communities of east and south-east England, the north of Wales, northern England, southern Scotland and the north-west Highlands.

“Within urban regions there are also pockets of high projected death rates,” Peter Dorey said.

“Overall, the areas with high and low fatality rates tend to cluster because of the high residential separation of different population age groups in the UK.”

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Simon Gruffydd
1 year ago

This article seems to be based on a fear-porn piece by the Daily Mail which in turn is based on a research paper by 2 geography students Hill Kulu and Peter Dorey. So I read the paper. The paper admits they base their figures “on the study by Ferguson et al.” whose 500,000 death by Covid-19 (that prompted the lockdown) has now been admitted in error and scaled down to 20,000 with the proviso 2/3rds of which would have died anyway. Even given this false premise, the paper essentially states the obvious fact – that very elderly people with serious… Read more »

Ann Owen
Ann Owen
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Gruffydd

The question is how do we protect these communities from suffering these additional deaths – not just accept them! Especially we need attention to this in any framework for lifting the lockdown in Wales. At the moment testing is very low in our rural counties – this study emphasises the need for robust community testing, tracing, isolating, quarantining and EARLY medical attention in our rural areas – including our Welsh speaking strongholds.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago
Reply to  Ann Owen

Agree. Vietnam acted like lightning (probably as they know China oh so well!)

Bronwen
Bronwen
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Gruffydd

Bang on the nail Simon

John
John
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Gruffydd

Why is it people speak about other areas and the deaths of people there as if it’s anything at all to do with them.. I dont know why you read this Simon, your allways whining about something..

Plain citizen
Plain citizen
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Gruffydd

Well put. Of all the cv related deaths only 9% are purely from cv the rest are from at least one underlying condition. The analogy is if I, while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, am killed by a terrorist bomb, the official cause of death would be cancer! Crazy.

Mathew Rees
Mathew Rees
1 year ago

There are barely any Welsh-speaking communities left. You have to go back to the Second World War to find the Welsh language alive and kicking and a part of everyday life in a meaningful way. Two world wars and the modernism of the 60s has put paid to the future of these areas, adding on top the gentrification of the language which has seen people flock to Cardiff, London and beyond. Covid19 won’t really affect anything.

S Thomas
S Thomas
1 year ago
Reply to  Mathew Rees

Not true. Over 750k Welsh speakers, 1000’s of families speak Welsh as their first language at home (mine included); our children receive fantastic bilingual education; great Welsh music scene. Welsh is not just for old people. It is alive and kicking.

Mathew Rees
Mathew Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  S Thomas

Your idea of a Welsh-speaking community and mine differ completely. Welsh is useless unless it is spoken as a majority language with sole official administrative status in certain parts of the country. Hashtags and ukulele bands won’t save it. My village is now 60% English, many of whom have come from the English west midlands escaping ‘enrichment’. There are more Brummie accents than Welsh ones here now. But you carry on learning Welsh on DuoLingo and attending your Tafwyl and gigs at Clwb Ifor Bach. It’s just what we need.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Mathew Rees

If you live in Cardiff then what you describe in your last sentence could be part of your community activity. Elsewhere the community has different shapes with the Anglo cultural and linguistic influences having significant roles in how communities evolve. To date very few have taken up the struggle to defend communities. Politicians have gone out of their way to be nice to inward migrants regardless of how badly those people behave towards “Welshness” in its many forms. Some of the settlers have been very decent, adapted to their new environments and worked at integration. Sadly, over recent decades these… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 year ago
Reply to  Mathew Rees

Firstly, Matthew, don’t undervalue the adult learners who have seen the language turn the corner in terms of survival and revival. Go to N.E. Wales and you’ll see what I mean. Secondly, while you’re right about the colonists in the Bro Gymraeg (and justified in being angry, as indeed most Welsh people are over this), console yourself with the fact that the children of the white flighters will — whether their parents like it or not — be learning Welsh in school right now, and in Gwynedd and Ceredigion they will never lose it, since they get to be properly… Read more »

Mawkernewek
1 year ago

The premise of this article seems to be that rural areas haven’t experienced the first wave yet so would have an extra vulnerability to a second wave. There would be two things needed for this to be true, first that the novel coronavirus hadn’t spread widely geographically before the movement restrictions came in, which isn’t the case, because it can be seen from any of the online maps such as https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk https://coronaviruscymru.wales/ https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-uk-tracker-how-many-cases-are-in-your-area-updated-daily-11956258 that it has indeed spread to all parts of the country. Secondly that the areas that have been worst hit so far have had enough people infected… Read more »

John
John
1 year ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

They just put red areas over maps which mean nothing. According to the WHO it hasnt really spread that much.. 3% of a global population so far this week.. Waste of time thinking how many in the UK as thats just a guess. Herd imunity normaly takes years unless there is a vaccine to speed it up. And the imunity is looking grim at the moment..

Plain citizen
Plain citizen
1 year ago
Reply to  John

In mid Jan the WHO was praising the Chinese state (its paymaster) which falsely said there was no evidence of person to person transmission. Many researchers (incl Oxford and Stanford Uni) no longer accept WHO stats as they have found them unreliable. The WHO refuses to acknowledge the efforts of Taiwan which has been most successful in dealing with the virus.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago
Reply to  Plain citizen

Well spotted. And Taiwan blocked from WHO by China. A disgrace.

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