EVENTS are being held around Bradford today to mark the first anniversary since the first UK national lockdown began, signalling the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in Britain.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to put the country under lockdown rules on March 23, 2020, ordering businesses and schools to close, cancelling events and restricting people’s movements in an effort to control the spread of Covid-19.

What has followed has been an extraordinary 12 months which have changed our lives in terms of health, financial well-being and simple social contact with family and friends.

And it has been a year in which everyone became interested in the daily numbers of the pandemic. One year on, what does the data tell us about how Covid-19 has hit Bradford?

Cases and deaths

Since the early days of the pandemic, we have been provided with regular updates on the number of new positive cases and, sadly, reported deaths.

In Bradford, 47,039 people had tested positive for Covid-19 by the March 22, Public Health England data shows.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 1,233 deaths involving the virus were provisionally registered in the area up to March 13.

Of those, 858 have occurred in hospitals, with Bradford Teaching Hospitals seeing 598, Airedale recording 258 and the District Care Trust seeing two fatalities.

Health experts have repeatedly said “excess deaths” – the number of deaths above the annual expected number – are a better measure of the overall impact of the coronavirus pandemic than simply looking at mortality directly linked to Covid-19.

ONS figures on this show that 5,513 people died of all causes in Bradford between March 2020 and February 2021 – the latest available data.

That was 24 per cent above the 4,433 deaths which occurred over the same period a year earlier.

Jobs and Economy

As well as being the biggest health crisis in decades, the coronavirus pandemic has also brought rapid change to the UK’s jobs market.

Unemployment rates have surged along with a rise in job uncertainty, and many more people are seeking support from unemployment benefits.

To protect jobs, the Government created furlough and self-employed support schemes were created to help people stay in jobs by paying their wages.

By the end of May, just two months later, businesses had already put around 53,900 employments on furlough in Bradford.

At the same time, people in the area had made roughly 17,500 claims made under the separate Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

In January, 29,500 jobs were still on furlough in Bradford, with 17,200 still reliant on the SEISS scheme.

ONS figures show that in early March last year, 17,190 people in Bradford were claiming out-of-work benefits.

By mid-January, that figure had risen by 80 per cent to 30,960.

The figures include those aged 16 to 64 on Jobseeker’s Allowance and some Universal Credit claimants, who are unemployed and seeking work or employed but with low earnings.

What about house prices?

The property market has also felt the impact of the pandemic. The ONS said Government support schemes, particularly the stamp duty holiday, may be a factor behind the national rise.

In Bradford, the average cost of a property was £135,073 in February, just before the Covid-19 crisis hit, according to Land Registry figures.

By December, that had risen to £154,899 – an increase of 15 per cent.


After an extremely difficult year for many of us, the vaccine rollout is providing a glimmer of hope for a life not bound by restrictions.

NHS data shows 175,276 people in Bradford had received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by March 14, around 38 per cent of the adult population in the district.

How you can mark the day

To mark today’s anniversary, events are taking place to remember those who have died. A minute’s silence is being observed at midday and in the evening City Hall will be illuminated and people are urged to take to their doorsteps to shine a light in memory of those who have died.

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Not one person has remained unaffected by this crisis.

“It is right that we take the time to reflect on the last year and remember those we have lost and the impact that the pandemic has had on all our lives.

“We must take the time to remember and continue to support one another.

“We should take great pride in the community response to the crisis and it has never shone brighter.

“We have hope for the year ahead, and we are encouraged by the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. But we are not through this yet.

“We must please keep following the guidance and doing all we can to keep ourselves and each other safe.”

Mel Pickup, chief executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, has also reflected on the past year in which her staff have been put under unprecedented strain.

She said: “The past year has truly been a year like no other.

“We have witnessed unbelievable sadness as many people lost their lives to Covid, but we have also shed tears of joy as well over 3,600 patients recovered and went home after surviving this terrible virus.

“I am so proud to have had the opportunity to work with our fantastic colleagues at Bradford Teaching Hospitals and our partner organisations across the district over the last 12 months.

“Every day I have been, and still am, inspired by what they collectively achieve and the sacrifices they have made to care for patients.

“We have also had tremendous support from our local community, the people of Bradford, for their NHS and seen the huge efforts everyone has made to help return us to normal life.

“We can look forward to better times soon as the vaccine continues to be rolled out at pace and more and more people are protected.

“As we approach the beginning of the end of lockdown restrictions it’s important that we still all follow the guidance so we can once again enjoy seeing the people we love and doing the things that mean so much to us.”

Kersten England, Bradford Council chief executive, added: “It has been a year like no other we have experienced.

“We will all know of people who have suffered terribly with this virus. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected.

“But across our district the spirit of the people has shone through and this has been inspirational.

“So it is a time to reflect, but also time to redouble our efforts as the vaccination programme continues at pace.

“I want to ask everyone to please keep following the guidance so that we can beat this virus, keep our loved ones safe, and start to build a brighter future for our district.”