Balham has had one of the highest Covid infection rates in London – but locals don’t seem to care

By James Mayer, local democracy reporter

Balham has had one of the highest Covid infection rates in London recently – but locals don’t seem to care.

The area’s infection rate in the week leading up to July 14 was 707.8 per 100,000 of the population – according to government figures.

But by and large, families in the Wandsworth town feel safe, and have blamed the infection rate spike on overpopulation and young people socialising in the neighbourhood.

Andrew Barbu (pictured), a 23-year-old local of Balham has put down a spike in coronavirus infection rates in Balham to the area being overpopulated.

The 23-year-old said he “didn’t care about Covid from the beginning to the end” of the pandemic and added: “I’m not afraid of Covid.

“Humanity is all the time crushed with some virus over the years so some people have to die.

“I do not believe that much in the media, I think the [Covid] numbers are fake, sometimes only to scare people to get vaccinated or wear a mask.”

Pauline Edwards, 75, and a Balham resident since 1969 said: “I feel very safe. I’m not worried about Covid because I take enough stuff to protect me.”

Pauline doesn’t have the Covid test and trace app and is not planning to be vaccinated, but said: “It depends on what you eat.” as

She believes she stays healthy drinking two litres of water in the morning, as well as eating ginger, turmeric and various oils.

She was unaware of Balham’s high infection rate but puts it down to “the youngsters”.

“I don’t think they understand what Covid is, that they could die, they just enjoy themselves,” she added.

Martin Henneberry, 70, who was visiting Balham from South Wimbledon said: “I’m not really conscious of Covid to be honest, I think you just take precautions.

“I agree with having masks on the tube, because it’s comforting for other people. I’ve had my two jabs and I think mentality-wise I am upbeat.”

Martin deleted the Covid test and trace app and said he has no intention of reinstalling it, saying it is a “sledgehammer” and “needs to be refined”.

He blamed the high Balham infection rate to the social young demographic in the area.

Martin added: “I don’t think you can be complacent about it but you’ve got to live. You’ve got to have an economy that functions, otherwise you won’t have a national health service.”

“The government should have had the balls to retain the law on wearing face masks, not leave it to other people.”

Balham’s Covid infection rate has since slipped from the top spot last week and has been replaced with Lambeth’s Brixton Hill West.

 


 

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