Escape to the country to avoid the virus? No thanks

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Coronavirus survey finds urban flight is a middle-class thing, that communities matter more – and Boris Johnson has done a bad job

Cities are not dying, and many Britons are fed up with claims that the pandemic has sparked a mass exodus to the countryside, according to the latest coronavirus diaries study. Consultancy BritainThinks polled more than 2,000 people across the UK about their health and wellbeing nine months on from the first national lockdown.

“You have to be in a certain bracket to consider running off to the countryside,” said Joanne Barrett from Manchester, who didn’t believe vast swathes of the population – and especially black, middle-aged women like her – would consider moving out of cities. “It’s been overblown in headlines: you might get some young families moving out a bit further anyway for their children, but I don’t think the virus has really affected that.”

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