But experts said one explanation could be that more people in coastal locations are shielding, meaning they are better protected, adding that the figures showed seaside towns had little to fear from the recent influx of visitors.

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said: “This looks like positive news for people living by the coast who may have been worried that stay-at-home holidaymakers would bring extra Covid-19 deaths to their more elderly resident populations.  

“Older retirees with more indicators of deprivation, living in individual homes and less likely to be going out, are presumably much better insulated against Covid-19 infection and death than their less deprived metropolitan counterparts, for whom close contact with other people, including carriers of the virus, will be harder to avoid.”

Scientists also said age groups may not mix as much in areas of low employment. 

Dr Konstantin Blyuss, reader in mathematics at the University of Sussex, said: “With coastal towns having, on average, older populations who may not be doing so much commuting, combined with a smaller proportion of younger people who are generally socialising more, this all results in reducing levels of people mixing for extended periods of times in close proximity to each other.

“That could be one of the reasons why coastal towns in England and Wales have so far experienced smaller rates of Covid-19 deaths.”

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