YOUNG people are driving Bradford’s high Covid-19 infection rate, the latest data has revealed.

The figures published by the Government show that the highest infection rates in Bradford are among people aged 20 to 39 years old.

These high rates are driving the average rate in Bradford higher than in surrounding areas, and is a particular problem given Bradford’s young population.

Rates are also too high in all working age adults, only dropping off to better levels in the over 60s and those aged 19 and under.

At a Bradford Council meeting earlier this week, it was discussed that large, multi-generational households are one explanation for the high rate, along with low digital literacy and English proficiency leading to the circulation of misinformation, and the poverty affecting swathes of the district meaning people feel they cannot afford to stop working when told to self-isolate.

The current infection rate in Bradford is 213.6 infections per 100,000 people in the seven days to February 11. While being at the lowest in the district so far in 2021, it is still way above the national average of 148.8 in England.

It is also the highest rate in West Yorkshire and in the whole of Yorkshire, and only Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Liverpool City Region, Middlesbrough and Sunderland have higher rates across the whole of the north. Bradford’s infection rate is the 19th highest in England.

The age group in Bradford with the highest infection rate is 30 to 34-year-olds, which has a rate of 365.9 infections per 100,000 people. The next highest rate is in 35 to 39-year-olds where the rate is 354.5.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: This darker colours on this graphic show the higher infection rate among 20-40 year oldsThis darker colours on this graphic show the higher infection rate among 20-40 year olds

It is followed by 20 to 24-year-olds who have a rate of 351.2, and for 25 to 29-year-olds the rate is 349.

The 40 to 54-years-old age ranges all have an infection rate of more than 250, with 55 to 59-year-olds having a rate of 219.9.

Numbers only start to drop off in the oldest and youngest populations with the figure for pensioners (over 65s) all below 120, while children’s rates are all well below the average too.

The age group doing the best to combat the spread of Covid-19 is 80 to 84-year-olds, where the infection rate is just 43.9.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of Bradford Council's Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday.

Duncan Cooper, a consultant in public health, said: “Bradford has seen a fall in infection rates, but not as big as in other of the country.

"That is partly down to the economic adversity facing many parts of the district.

“It is difficult to do something about this, as we can’t necessarily attract huge grants to help people to self-isolate.

“There is also an issue with digital inclusion. The more digitally included people are the more likely they are to get the right information about the pandemic rather than spurious information.

“A lot of people who don’t have access to IT and don’t speak English as a first language often rely on other people translating public health messages.

“Also there is the issue of large households in Bradford, often multi-generational households living together. That can be difficult to deal with, as people in these households have no option but to go home if they are infected.”