Canvey Island Jewish leader suggests most members of community have had Covid
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Canvey Island Jewish leader suggests most members of community have had Covid

Joel Friedman said 'there’s literally only one or two who haven’t' contracted Covid-19, as the local area become one of the UK's virus hotspots

A scene from the Promised Island, the BBC documentary looking t the newly-established Charedi community of Canvey Island. 

Image credit: BBC/Spring Films/Laurie Sparham
A scene from the Promised Island, the BBC documentary looking t the newly-established Charedi community of Canvey Island. Image credit: BBC/Spring Films/Laurie Sparham

A local Jewish leader in Canvey Island has suggested that ‘herd immunity’ may now apply to the 250-strong strictly Orthodox community there because almost all its members have already had Covid-19.

“In the Charedi community generally, but specifically in Canvey, most people have had it,” said Joel Friedman, who left Stamford Hill for Essex more than five year ago. “There’s literally only one or two who haven’t.”

As the area became one of the UK’s coronavirus hotspots, with almost 2,000 positive infections per 100,000 population, he said: “What’s happening in Canvey right now, where almost one in two have it, that happened to us during Sukkot.

Joel Friedman

“Many people here [in the Canvey Jewish community] also had it between March and June last year. Then it went down, together with the country, then came back again around Yom Kippur until after Sukkot.

“A lot of people [in the community] had it around then, a couple quite badly, but since then only one person has had it. The shul is open, with strict measures of course.”

He said numbers had also gone down in Stamford Hill, the UK’s largest Charedi community, adding: “This is simply because a higher percentage of people have had it already.”

Last week Chinuch UK, the umbrella group representing most Charedi schools in the UK, said it was preparing for the roll-out of mass testing of staff and pupils at Orthodox schools “supported by local public health teams and community organisations such as Hatzola”.

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