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People in big households more likely to test positive for COVID-19

27 September 2021

People who live in a household of three or more occupants were more likely to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) than those in single occupancy households.

Those in younger age groups were more likely to test positive than those in older age groups, according to analysis of results from the Coronavirus Infection Survey for the fortnight ending 11 September 2021.

Those living in more deprived areas were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those in less-deprived areas

People who had received one or two doses of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine were less likely to test positive than those who were not vaccinated.

People who never wore a face covering in enclosed spaces had an increased likelihood of testing positive.

Socially distanced contact with 11 or more people aged 18 to 69 years outside the home also increased the odds of catching COVID-19.

Results of the analysis are presented as odds ratios. When a characteristic has an odds ratio of one, this means there is neither an increase nor a decrease in the likelihood of testing positive compared with a reference category. An odds ratio of higher than one means there is an increased likelihood of testing positive, compared with the reference category and an odds ratio of lower than one means there is a reduced likelihood.

People in the UK living in a household of three or more occupants were more likely to test positive for COVID-19

The likelihood of testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs by core demographic characteristic, UK, 29 August to 11 September 2021

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Download the data for likelihood of testing positive by demographic characteristic (XLSX, 12KB)

In the second wave, case rates were higher in households from lower socio-economic backgrounds than in more affluent ones. In the third wave, there was little difference between socio-economic groups other than for people who had never worked or were long-term unemployed, who had the lowest rates.

Overall, case rates were lower among disabled people than non-disabled people.

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Infections decrease in England but remain high across UK

24 September 2021

Overall coronavirus (COVID-19) infections decreased in England for the first time in several weeks, but have increased among children aged 2 years to school Year 11.

The trend for the latest week, ending 18 September 2021, was uncertain for those aged 50 to 69 years but positivity rates decreased in all other age groups.

Overall, rates still remain high across the UK.

Infections have increased among children aged 2 years to school Year 11 in England

Estimated daily percentage of the population testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs by age group, England, 8 August 2021 to 18 September 2021

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Data for estimates of people testing positive by age group in England (XLSX, 41KB)

In Wales and Northern Ireland, the trend for overall COVID-19 infections in the latest week was uncertain while in Scotland, the positivity rate appeared level.

The estimated percentage of the community population (those not in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings) that had COVID-19 in the latest week was:

  • 1.14% in England (1 in 90 people), compared with 1.28% in England (1 in 80 people) the week before

  • 1.67% in Wales (1 in 60 people), compared with 1.62% in Wales (1 in 60 people) the week before

  • 1.65% in Northern Ireland (1 in 60 people), compared with 1.36% in Northern Ireland (1 in 75 people) the week before

  • 2.28% in Scotland (1 in 45 people), compared with 2.29% in Scotland (1 in 45 people) the week before

In England, the percentage of people testing positive continued to fluctuate across regions in the week ending 18 September 2021.

The positivity rate continued to increase in the North West and decreased in Yorkshire and The Humber, London and the South East. Trends were uncertain in all other English regions.

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More people travelling to work

24 September 2021

Almost two in three (65%) working adults in Great Britain reported travelling to work in the past seven days.

This is an increase of 8 percentage points compared with the period between 25 August and 5 September 2021 (57%).

This figure counts those who exclusively travelled to work as well as those who were both working from home and commuting.

The percentage of adults reporting always or often maintaining social distancing (45%) remained stable, having previously decreased as restrictions eased. This figure is now around half of what it was in mid-February (91%, 10 to 14 February 2021).

Under half of adults reported social distancing

Percentage of adults always or often maintaining social distancing when meeting up with people outside their household, February to September 2021, Great Britain

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Around one in six (18%) adults reported that essential food items had not been available to buy at some point during the past two weeks. A quarter (25%) said they had not been able to purchase other non-essential food items, while 4% reported not being able to buy medicine or fuel. Around 6 in 10 (61%) reported everything they needed had been available to buy.

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Online job adverts at 133% of February 2020 level

23 September 2021

The total volume of online job adverts grew by 3% in the week to 17 September 2021, bringing the level to 133% of that in February 2020.

According to data from Adzuna, the rise in online job adverts was the highest weekly rise since 30 July 2021. Of 28 categories, 23 saw a weekly increase, which was the highest number of categories to see growth in the same week since 2 July 2021.

The total volume of online job adverts on 17 September 2021 grew by 3% from the previous week, to 133% of its February 2020 average level

Volume of online job adverts by category, index: 100 = February 2020 average, 4 January 2019 to 17 September 2021, non-seasonally adjusted

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Further category breakdowns are included in the online job advert estimates dataset. Details on the methodology are contained in using Adzuna data to derive an indicator of weekly vacancies. Week-on-week changes in online job advert volumes are outlined as percentages.

The category with the largest increase in online job adverts was “transport, logistics and warehouse”, which grew by 8% compared with the previous week. Since 12 March 2021, this category has had the highest volume of job adverts relative to its February 2020 pre-pandemic average level and is at 352% of this level in the latest week.

In EUROCONTROL data, the seven-day average number of UK daily flights was 3,593 in the week ending 19 September 2021. This is 54% of the level seen in the same week of 2019.

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Pandemic deprivation learning gap in England’s schools

22 September 2021

School children in England who were eligible for free school meals learned less during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns than those in more prosperous areas.

The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) analysis of data from Teacher Tapp showed that teachers at schools with the highest free school meal (FSM) eligibility rates (quartile 4) covered less material with remote learners relative to in-school learners throughout the COVID-19 period.

Free school meals can be used as an indicator of deprivation because they are available to children whose parents receive some benefits or are on low incomes.

Teachers at schools with the lowest FSM eligibility rates (quartile 1) said the material they had covered with remote learners was closer to what they were able to cover with in-school learners.

A survey conducted by the  National Foundation for Educational Research found that pupils in the most deprived schools were twice as likely than those at the least deprived schools to have little or no access to Information Technology (IT). 

Teachers in the most deprived schools also reported only being in regular contact with an average of 50% of their pupils, compared with 67% of pupils in the least deprived schools. 

Remote learners in schools with the most FSM-eligible pupils covered relatively less material 

Amount of learning materials covered by schools for remote learners as a proportion of learning materials covered by in-school learners, April 2020 to June 2021, split by FSM quartile 

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Download data on learning materials covered by schools for remote learners by FSM quartile (XLSX, 18KB)

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Cough, fatigue and headache still most common COVID-19 symptoms reported in the UK

22 September 2021

In August 2021, the most commonly reported COVID-19 symptoms were cough, headache and fatigue.

These symptoms have been the most common over the period studied between 1 December 2020 and 31 August 2021, and remained the most common over the summer, during which the majority of cases in the UK have been compatible with the Delta variant.

Among people in the UK with a strong positive COVID-19 test result (not in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings), 58% reported symptoms. "Classic" symptoms including fever and shortness of breath were more commonly reported than gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting), or loss of taste and smell only. Symptoms were self-reported and not professionally diagnosed.

"Classic" symptoms are still more common in the UK than gastrointestinal or loss of taste or smell only

Unweighted percentage of people with symptoms, including only those who have strong positive tests (Ct less than 30) by month, UK, 1 December 2020 to 31 August 2021

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  1. All results are provisional and subject to revision.
  2. The data presented are unweighted percentages of people with any strong positive test result, meaning they had a Ct value less than 30.

Data for the percentage of people with symptoms by month (XLSX, 20KB)

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UK COVID-19 deaths rise to highest since March

21 September 2021

The number of deaths from all causes in the UK in the week ending 10 September 2021 was 12,503, 19.7% above the average for the corresponding week in 2015 to 2019.

Deaths were above the five-year average in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Of these, 994 deaths were registered involving coronavirus (COVID-19), accounting for around 1 in 12 deaths (8.0%). The number of deaths from COVID-19 was the highest since the week ending 19 March 2021.

Comparisons with the previous week should be treated with caution, because the number of death registrations were affected by the Summer Bank Holiday.

UK total deaths include non-residents.

Deaths involving COVID-19 increased for the 13th consecutive week

Number of deaths registered by week, UK, week ending 8 January 2021 to week ending 10 September 2021

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Data for weekly deaths involving COVID-19 (XLSX, 20KB)

Using the most up-to-date data, the total number of deaths involving COVID-19 in England and Wales is 145,958 (registrations up to 10 September 2021). Between 13 March 2020 and 10 September 2021, there have been 113,002 excess deaths above the five-year average.

Our data are based on deaths registered in England and Wales and include all deaths where “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” was mentioned on the death certificate. Weekly figures are available by local authority and health board.

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COVID-19 mortality rate rises for second consecutive month

21 September 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the third leading cause of death in England in August, accounting for 5.3% of all deaths registered.

Taking into account the population size and age structure, the age-standardised mortality rate (ASMR) for deaths due to COVID-19 in England (45.7 deaths per 100,000 people) rose significantly for the second consecutive month.

Based on provisional data, 40,460 deaths were registered in England in August 2021 – 3,650 (9.9%) more than the five-year average (2015 to 2019).

The ASMR for deaths due to COVID-19 in Wales was 24.5 deaths per 100,000 people, significantly higher than in July 2021. COVID-19 was the seventh leading cause of death in Wales during August.

In Wales, the provisional number of deaths registered in August 2021 was 2,614 – 119 (4.8%) higher than the five-year average.

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Household emissions fell by 10% in 2020

21 September 2021

Household greenhouse gas emissions from heating, travel and other activities fell from 148 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2019 to 133 million tonnes in 2020, while total UK emissions fell 13%.

CO2 equivalent is a measure of the combined global-warming potential of various greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide as well as carbon dioxide.

The 10% drop in household emissions is the second greatest annual reduction since the series began in 1990. Only 2011 saw a greater reduction when household emissions fell by 12%, possibly caused by 2011 being one of the warmest years on record.

The fall in 2020 was largely driven by personal travel emissions, which dropped by 24% compared with 2019. Household emissions not related to travel increased slightly, by 1.5%, with more people staying at home and using energy for heating.

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User requests

We continue to respond to data requests from the public, media and government during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Responses are published in our list of user requested data.

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View all data used in this article


  • Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional

    Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19), in the latest weeks for which data are available.

  • Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain

    Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 8 to 19 September 2021 to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain.

  • Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society

    This page has been superseded by the Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators page (see link in Notices) . This will be the new title and location of the bulletin presenting the real-time indicators of economic activity and social change, for 13 May 2021 and future releases.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK

    Estimates for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. This survey is being delivered in partnership with the University of Oxford, University of Manchester, Public Health England and Wellcome Trust. This study is jointly led by the ONS and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) working with the University of Oxford and Lighthouse laboratory to collect and test samples.