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People with long COVID more likely to be out of the labour market

5 December 2022

Working-age people are less likely to participate in the labour market after developing long COVID, according to new experimental analysis.

More than a fifth (23.3%) of people aged 16 to 64 years with self-reported long COVID were economically inactive (meaning they were neither in work nor looking for work) in July 2022. This is compared with 21.4% of those without self-reported long COVID.

Long COVID is defined as ongoing symptoms at least four weeks after a confirmed or suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

The rate of inactivity grew more quickly among people with self-reported long COVID than without

Estimated percentage of people aged 16 to 64 years in private households who are economically inactive by self-reported long COVID status, UK: February 2021 to July 2022

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Participants not in full-time education who reported long COVID lasting 30 to 39 weeks after a test-confirmed infection were 45.5% more likely to be inactive for a reason other than retirement compared with pre-infection. Those reporting long COVID 40 to 51 weeks after infection were 34.3% more likely.

This relationship between self-reported long COVID and inactivity was strongest among people aged 50 to 64 years. Respondents in this age group who reported long COVID symptoms 30 to 39 weeks post-infection were 72.2% more likely to be economically inactive than pre-infection for a reason other than retirement.

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Visits to the UK remain below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels

5 December 2022

There were an estimated 3.5 million visits to the UK by overseas residents in August 2022, down 21% from pre-coronavirus pandemic levels of 4.4 million visits in August 2019. Holidays remained the most common reason for visits to the UK in August 2022 (47%, 1.6 million). This was followed by visiting friends or relatives (37%), which had overtaken holidays as the most popular reason for travel during the coronavirus pandemic. 

UK residents made 9.0 million overseas visits in August 2022, down 22% from pre-coronavirus pandemic August 2019 (11.6 million). The most common reason for UK residents visiting overseas was going on holiday, with 69% (6.2 million) of overseas visits in August 2022 being made for this reason.

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COVID-19 infections increased in England and continued to decrease in Wales

2 December 2022

COVID-19 infections increased in England, while trends were uncertain in Scotland and Northern Ireland, in the latest week (ending 21 November 2022). COVID-19 infections continued to decrease in Wales in the week ending 22 November 2022.

The estimated percentage of people living in private households (those not in care homes or other communal establishments) testing positive for COVID-19 was:

  • 1.60% in England (1 in 60 people)

  • 1.30% in Wales (1 in 75 people)

  • 1.57% in Northern Ireland (1 in 65 people)

  • 1.73% in Scotland (1 in 60 people)

Since the end of June 2022, most COVID-19 infections in the UK have been Omicron variant BA.5. A BA.5 sub-lineage, BQ.1, has been increasing considerably in recent weeks. The Omicron BQ.1 variant accounted for 43.9% of all sequenced infections in the week ending 13 November 2022. Other BA.5 variants (and sub-lineages, excluding BQ.1) comprised 34.6% of all sequenced COVID-19 infections.

COVID-19 infections increased in England and decreased in Wales while trends were uncertain in Northern Ireland and Scotland

Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs, UK, 18 November 2021 to 22 November 2022

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In England, the infection rate increased for groups in school Year 7 to aged 24 years and those aged 35 to 49 years. COVID-19 infection rates varied across English regions in the week ending 21 November 2022.

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Antibody levels among older ages increase with autumn boosters

1 December 2022

Antibody levels against SARS-CoV-2 have risen in recent weeks among those aged 65 years and over, likely as a result of the autumn booster programme.

In the week beginning 17 October 2022, the percentages of adults estimated to have antibodies at the 179 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) level (lower level) and 800 ng/ml level (higher level) were respectively:

  • 97.3% and 77.9% in England

  • 96.9% and 73.4% in Wales

  • 96.4% and 75.3% in Northern Ireland

  • 96.6% and 75.4% in Scotland

The presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 suggests that a person has previously been infected with COVID-19 or vaccinated.

You can see autumn booster uptake on our Vaccines page. See our more information page to read about antibody levels.

Antibody levels remained high in adults across the UK

Modelled percentage of the adult population with levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at or above 179 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) or 800 ng/ml, by age group, UK countries, 7 December 2020 to 23 October 2022

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In Great Britain, the proportion of children estimated to have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at or above the 179 ng/ml level continued to increase for those aged 8 to 11 years (79.9%) and remained high for those aged 12 to 15 years (95.1%) in the most recent week (ending 17 October 2022).

At or above the higher level of 800 ng/ml, an estimated 41.6% of children aged 8 to 11 years and 77.4% of children aged 12 to 15 years had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

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2.2 million people in the UK experiencing long COVID

1 December 2022

An estimated 2.2 million people in private households in the UK (3.4% of the population) were experiencing self-reported long COVID as of 6 November 2022. Of those, around half (55%) reported experiencing long COVID symptoms at least one year after first having (suspected) COVID-19.

Self-reported long COVID was more common in:

  • those aged 35 to 69 years

  • females

  • people living in more deprived areas

  • those working in social care

  • those aged 16 years and over who were not working and not looking for work

  • those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability 

The most common long COVID symptoms continued to be fatigue (70% of those with self-reported long COVID), followed by difficulty concentrating (48%), shortness of breath (46%) and muscle ache (45%). Symptoms adversely affected the day-to-day activities of 1.6 million people, or 75% of those with self-reported long COVID. 

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Around a quarter of adults consider COVID-19 an important issue

25 November 2022

Around one quarter of adults (24%) in Great Britain reported the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as an important issue facing the UK today, between 8 and 20 November 2022.

The issues that adults most frequently reported as important were the rising cost of living (93%), the NHS (84%), the economy (81%) and the environment and climate change (69%). These figures are based on responses to the question "What do you think are important issues facing the UK today?". Respondents were able to choose more than one option.

The proportion of adults in Great Britain taking preventative measures against COVID-19 has generally been decreasing since spring 2022. Around 1 in 10 (10%) adults took a lateral flow test in the last seven days (8 to 20 November 2022), which is a decrease from around 4 in 10 (43%) in the spring period (30 March to 10 April 2022).

There was also a drop in the proportion of people who had used a face covering when outside their home in the past seven days, from 65% in the spring period (13 to 24 April 2022) to 21% in the latest period. Those who used a face covering did not necessarily use it always or often.

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Mortality rate for COVID-19 increased in October 2022

23 November 2022

The mortality rate for deaths due to COVID-19 in England increased to 31 deaths per 100,000 people in October 2022, from 16.7 deaths per 100,000 people in September 2022. The rate was around two-fifths of the highest rate seen in 2022 (79.3 deaths per 100,000 people in January 2022).

In Wales, the COVID-19 mortality rate increased to 34.6 deaths per 100,000 people in October 2022, from 19.9 deaths per 100,000 people in September 2022. The rate was around two-fifths of the highest rate seen in 2022 (81.0 deaths per 100,000 people in January 2022).

In October 2022, COVID-19 was the eighth leading cause of death in England (3.3% of all deaths), rising from the 12th leading cause in September 2022 (1.8% of all deaths). In Wales, COVID-19 was the seventh leading cause of death in October 2022 (3.5% of all deaths), rising from the tenth leading cause in September 2022 (2.1% of all deaths).

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COVID-19 second highest cause of death for care home residents in 2021

22 November 2022

COVID-19 was the second highest leading cause of death for approximately 14,800 care home residents in England and Wales in 2021, down from 25,500 care home residents in 2020.

This meant that coronavirus remained the second highest cause of death for care home residents in 2021, following Dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Among the general population, COVID-19 was also the second highest cause of death in 2021.

In England, coronavirus remained the leading cause of death in care home residents aged under 65, but at a lower rate than in 2020. In 2021, the virus accounted for 8.7% of male care home resident deaths and 9.2% of female care home resident deaths aged under 65 in England. In 2020, 13.5% of male deaths and 13.4% of female deaths among these younger care home residents had coronavirus as a leading cause of death.

In Wales, the leading cause of death for most age groups in 2021 was Dementia and Alzheimer's disease. COVID-19 was the leading cause of death for male care home residents under 65, accounting for 14.3% of deaths (compared with 12.5% of deaths of male care home residents in 2020).

These numbers include all deaths that occurred in a care home and deaths of people recorded as living in a care home, whether they died at a care home or at a hospital or elsewhere.

Several factors may have led to lower total deaths in 2021 compared with 2020, including changes in care home occupancy, availability of vaccinations and availability of personal protective equipment.

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COVID-19 death risk higher for those with certain sensory impairments

18 November 2022

The risk of coronavirus-related (COVID-19) death is higher among people with a vision, hearing or both impairments than those without such impairments identified, experimental figures suggest.

That is according to analysis of deaths that occurred in England over three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic from 24 January 2020 to 20 July 2022. People with sensory impairments are identified through hospital records.

The biggest differences in COVID-19 related death rates between people with and without the identified sensory impairment types were seen in people aged between 30 and 69 years old.

Death rates among those in that age group with a hearing, vision or dual-sensory impairment were respectively 4.0, 8.4 and 11.7 times higher than for people without such impairments recorded on their hospital records.

Although no single factor can fully explain the increased risk for people with a sensory impairment, pre-existing health conditions and number of hospital admissions explained a large part of the difference between the two groups.

However, even after accounting for those health conditions and other characteristics such as age, residence type and vaccination status, people with a sensory impairment still faced a higher risk of death involving COVID-19.

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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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