It's safe to say that the 2020 Cheltenham festival will not be remembered for the racing. Many celebrities and punters claim to have picked up the virus at the racing festival. Though we'll probably never have an exact number on how many people contracted the disease at Cheltenham, data from around Gloucestershire shows that the disease was rife in the area around the racetrack. In late April, the coronavirus death toll in the Cheltenham area was more than twice that of some areas of similar size in the UK.
Of course it's not just UK citizens who contracted the disease there. Many, many Irish people were in Cheltenham, and odds are, many people brought Covid-19 home.
In Mayo right now, Cheltenham seems to have played some role in the spread of the disease in the county. There are 501 Covid-19 cases in Mayo according to the most recent data and Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar has the highest number of people suffering from coronavirus of any hospital outside of Dublin and Limerick University Hospital.
While speaking to Keith Bourke of the Western People today, MUH general manager Catherine Donohue said the hospital has treated a number of people who contracted the disease at Cheltenham. Compared to other rural counties, Mayo has a high rate of coronavirus infection.
Ms Donohue told the Western People that she couldn't really explain why the disease was prevalent in the county compared to nieghbouring counties.
Surely Cheltenham didn't help. There have been calls in the UK for enquiries into the role that Cheltenham had in spreading coronavirus. One wonders if a similiar enquiry will someday be required here.