You have heard about the wet markets in Wuhan, the overwhelmed hospitals of Lombardy and the super-spreading ski resort of Ischgl. But for a sobering story of coronavirus contagion, Britain does not need to look so far from home. In fact, as a strikingly underreported new study has revealed, hidden away in the heart of London is a small section of society that has suffered one of the highest recorded levels of infection in the world.
The capital’s strictly Orthodox Jewish, or Haredi, community has an infection rate of at least 64% — UK-wide estimates range from 7% to 30%. And according to the new study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), that figure rises to a staggering 74% among adults and secondary school children.
When I visited the area in North London last week — the study’s researchers have asked the press to refrain from naming the community’s precise location for security reasons — there was little to suggest that it has endured a pandemic quite unlike any other in the world.
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