Latest COVID-19 headlines
- Infections have increased in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
- England's COVID-19 mortality rate in June was similar to May
- Doubt about return to normality within a year
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Infections have increased in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
23 July 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continued to increase in England and have increased in Wales and Northern Ireland in the week ending 17 July 2021, while in Scotland the trend is uncertain in the most recent week.
The estimated percentage of the community population (those not in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings) that had COVID-19 was:
- 1.36% (1 in 75 people) in England, up from 1.06% (1 in 95 people) last week
- 0.47% (1 in 210 people) in Wales, up from 0.28% (1 in 360 people) last week
- 0.59% (1 in 170 people) in Northern Ireland, up from 0.34% (1 in 290 people) last week
- 1.24% (1 in 80 people) in Scotland, compared with 1.14% (1 in 90 people) last week
Across England, the percentage of people testing positive continued to increase in all age groups in the week ending 17 July 2021, except for those in school Year 7 to school Year 11 where the trend is uncertain.
Infections have also continued to increase in all English regions in the most recent week, except for the North East and North West, where the trends are uncertain.
The percentage of people testing positive continued to increase in most English regions
Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs, daily, by region from 6 June to 17 July 2021, England
England's COVID-19 mortality rate in June was similar to May
23 July 2021
Mortality rates due to coronavirus (COVID-19) in England were similar in June 2021 to the previous month. Before June, mortality rates due to COVID-19 had significantly decreased for four consecutive months.
This mortality rate accounts for the size and age structure of the population and is called the “age-standardised mortality rate” (ASMR).
The ASMR of deaths due to COVID-19 (where COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death) was 7.5 deaths per 100,000 people in England, compared with 7.1 in May 2021. This increase was not statistically significant. In Wales, there were two deaths due to COVID-19, which was too small to calculate a reliable ASMR.
The ASMR excludes non-residents.
Provisional data show a total of 38,611 deaths registered in England in June 2021. This was 1,275 fewer deaths than in June 2020 and 310 more than the June five-year average (2015 to 2019).
In Wales in June 2021, there were 2,560 deaths registered, 132 deaths fewer than in June 2020 and 26 more than the five-year average.
The leading cause of death in both England and Wales in June 2021 was ischaemic heart diseases (10.8% and 11.9% of all deaths respectively).
This compares COVID-19 as a leading cause in 0.9% of all deaths registered in June in England and 0.1% of all deaths in Wales.
Air travel to and from the UK remained low in January to March 2021
23 July 2021
In Quarter 1 2021, overseas residents made 96% less visits by air to the UK, while UK residents made 94% less visits abroad by air compared with Quarter 1 2020.
During January to March 2021 overseas residents made 195,000 visits by air to the UK as travel continues to be restricted by coronavirus (COVID-19) . Meanwhile, 774,000 visits abroad by air were made by UK residents in January to March 2021. Both figures are in comparison with the equivalent period of January to March 2020.
Of all visits to the UK made in Quarter 1 2021, 127,000 were made to see family and friends and 20,000 business trips were made. Just 7,000 of the trips made in the first quarter were holidays.
In January to March 2021, estimated spending in the UK by overseas visitors decreased by 94% to £248 million when compared with Quarter 1 2020. In the same period, UK residents spent £817 million on visits abroad, 90% less than the equivalent period in 2020.
Doubt about return to normality within a year
23 July 2021
Almost one in three (32%) adults felt that it would take more than a year for life to return to normal in the week (14 to 18 July 2021) approaching the easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in England on 19 July 2021. This figure slightly increased from 28% the previous week, while the proportion who felt life would return to normal in six months or less decreased from 20% to 15%.
A high proportion of adults continue to feel that compliance measures to slow the spread of coronavirus are either “very important” or “important”. One in nine (90%) think it is important to wear a face covering when shopping (the same proportion as the previous week), and 89% believe it is important to socially distance from those not in their household (88% the previous week).
Over the period 14 to 18 July 2021, a similar proportion of adults reported always or often maintaining social distancing (63%) to the previous week (62%). This figure has fallen from 85% in the week 14 to 18 April 2021 following step two of the roadmap out of lockdown in England.
Fuel sales rise and retail sales move more offline
23 July 2021
Automotive fuel sales volumes increased 2.3% in the month to June 2021 as people continued to increase their amount of travel, while the proportion of online retail sales dipped in favour of physical stores.
Retail sales volumes in the three months to June 2021 were 12.2% higher than in the previous three months, largely driven by particularly strong sales in April when non-essential retail reopened.
The proportion of retail sales made online remains much higher than before the pandemic, but dropped in June to 26.7%, down from 28.4% in May.
Overall, retail sales volumes in the month to June 2021 rose 0.5%, and are now 9.5% higher than their pre-pandemic levels (compared with February 2020).
Food stores were the biggest contributor to that monthly increase (up 4.2%), anecdotally linked to the start of the Euro 2020 football championship. Non-food stores reported a fall in sales volumes over the month of 1.7%.
Online job adverts 30% higher than February 2020 average
22 July 2021
The volume of online job adverts on 16 July 2021 had increased across all UK countries and English regions from the previous week, bringing the total UK volume to 130% of its February 2020 average.
This is 7 percentage points higher than the volume of online job adverts seen in the equivalent week of 2019, and is considerably higher than the volume seen in the same week of 2020, according to data from Adzuna.
On 16 July 2021, the total volume of online job adverts was at 130% of its February 2020 average level, 7 percentage points higher than that seen in the equivalent week of 2019
Volume of online job adverts by category, index: 100 = February 2020 average, 4 January 2019 to 16 July 2021, non-seasonally adjusted
Further category breakdowns are included in the online job advert estimates dataset and more details on the methodology can be found in Using Adzuna data to derive an indicator of weekly vacancies.
Users should note that week-on-week changes in online job advert volumes are outlined as percentages, rather than as percentage point changes. Percentage change figures quoted in the commentary will therefore not necessarily match the percentage point changes observed in the charts and accompanying dataset.
Just three of 28 job advert categories were below their February 2020 average levels in the latest week. These were "energy, oil and gas", "legal" and "graduate", at 87%, 95% and 99% of their February 2020 average levels, respectively.
The highest performing category relative to its pre-pandemic level remained the "transport/logistics/warehouse" category, at 302% of its February 2020 average level. This is a 153% increase since 8 January 2021 and is substantially higher than the number of adverts seen for this category in the equivalent weeks of 2019 and 2020.
Coronavirus lockdown shows marked effect on crimes
22 July 2021
Fraud and computer misuse offences have increased in England and Wales by 36% since the first coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown from April to June 2020.
Crime figures for the year ending March 2021, showed this increase in comparison with the year ending March 2019 (Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW)). This also accompanied a 20% decrease in theft offences.
While people were being told to stay at home during the first lockdown, acquisitive crimes such as burglaries declined, because criminals were unable to take advantage of homes being empty at predictable times, for example, for work.
Police recorded crime also showed a decrease in these types of offences and in crime overall (13%), excluding fraud and computer misuse. The first three months of the first national lockdown, from April to June 2020, showed the largest drop in recorded crimes, 19% compared with the same period in 2019.
Police recorded crime also captured a decline in the number of violent offences in the year ending March 2020, with a 16% decline in murders, 14% fall in firearms offences and a 15% drop in knife crime.
Total recorded crime, excluding fraud and computer misuse, has fluctuated across the year ending March 2021. Overall, there was a 10% decrease on the previous year.
Most of the differences can be attributed to the introduction and subsequent easing of national lockdown restrictions throughout the year.
The most substantial drop in crime came in April 2020, compared with April 2019, and remained lower across subsequent months in comparison with the same time periods in 2019. This coincided with the introduction of the first national lockdown.
The difference narrowed in tandem with the easing of lockdown restrictions over the summer of 2020 and widened again as restrictions were reintroduced.
COVID-19 antibodies continue to rise in line with vaccinations
21 July 2021
An estimated 91.9% of the adult population in England, 92.6% in Wales, 90.0% in Northern Ireland and 88.6% in Scotland would have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in the week beginning 28 June 2021.
During the same week, estimated vaccination rates continued to increase in all four UK countries.
The presence of antibodies suggests a person previously had COVID-19 or has been vaccinated.
Antibody positivity increases with age, reflecting age prioritisation in vaccination programmes. Estimated vaccination rates are lowest in younger age groups but are increasing, with the percentage of adults aged 25 to 34 years who have received one or more doses increasing sharply since the end of May.
Antibody positivity increases with age
Modelled percentage of: adults testing positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, adults who have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine; and fully vaccinated adults, by grouped age, UK countries, 7 December 2020 to 4 July 2021
Because of small sample sizes, some age groups are combined in Northern Ireland.
These statistics refer to antibody tests and vaccinations among people living in private households, and exclude those in hospitals, care homes and other institutional settings.
Our estimates of vaccination are provided for context alongside our antibodies estimates. The daily official government figures provide the actual numbers of vaccines issued.
Long COVID most often impacted general well-being
21 July 2021
Around 6 in 10 (57%) adults who said they may have experienced long COVID (“yes” or “not sure” to the question ‘Have you experienced “long COVID”?’) said it had negatively affected their general well-being.
Around 4 in 10 (39%) of such adults said their ability to exercise had been affected, while 3 in 10 (30%) said it had negatively impacted their work, with this rising to around 4 in 10 (38%) among working adults who said they may have experienced long COVID.
These findings are from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, covering the period 7 April to 13 June 2021.
Of adults who said they may have experienced long COVID, a quarter (25%) were likely to have some form of anxiety compared with 15% of those who reported they had not had COVID-19 at all. Three in ten adults (30%) who said they may have experienced long COVID reported experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms in the last two weeks compared with 16% of those who have not had COVID at all.
Those who reported they may have experienced long COVID were also more likely to report being often or always lonely (10%) than those who reported that they had short COVID (6%) or had not had COVID at all (6%).
This does not necessarily mean that experiencing long COVID itself increases the likelihood of either depression, anxiety or loneliness. More work is needed to disentangle the effects of long COVID from a variety of factors such as age, sex or disability.