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Deaths involving COVID-19 increased in the UK

In the UK, there were 603 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in the week ending 10 March 2023. This is an increase from 564 in the previous week. Deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 4.6% of all deaths in the UK in the latest week, which is an increase from 4.1% in the previous week.

In England, there were 521 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in the week ending 10 March 2023, which is an increase from 499 in the previous week.

The overall hospital admission rate of patients with confirmed COVID-19 in England increased to 10.14 per 100,000 people in the week ending 12 March 2023. In the same week, the intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) admission rate increased to 0.30 per 100,000 people.

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

  • 2.36% in England (1 in 40 people)

  • 2.21% in Wales (1 in 45 people)

  • 1.45% in Northern Ireland (1 in 70 people)

  • 2.00% in Scotland (1 in 50 people)

The infection rate increased in the  North West and Yorkshire and The Humber. In the same week, the infection rate decreased in the East of England, East Midlands and London, and trends were uncertain for all other regions in the week ending 7 March 2023. In the same week, COVID-19 infections continued to increase for those aged 70 years and over, and decreased for those in school Year 12 to aged 24 years and those aged 35 to 49 years. Trends were uncertain for all other age groups.

We will be pausing COVID-19 Infection Survey data collection from mid-March, and as a result the final weekly publication will be published on 24 March. As the UK Health Security Agency works to confirm its approach to surveillance, the ONS plans to work with existing participants to continue gathering valuable insight into the experiences of COVID-19, long COVID and other respiratory infections, details of which will be announced in due course. We thank our participants for their continued support.

Overall, there were an estimated 3.2 million visits to the UK by overseas residents in both October and November 2022. In November 2022, visits to the UK were 2% higher than that of the last comparable month since the pandemic began (3.1 million visits in November 2019). This is the first time since the beginning of COVID-19 that visits to the UK have been above pre-pandemic levels.

Vaccine effectiveness is the reduction in risk due to receiving a vaccine. Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation for COVID-19 was 52.2% for a first dose (between 21 March 2021 to 20 March 2022). Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation for COVID-19 was 55.7% for the second dose, and 77.6% for the third dose, respectively. Vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 mortality was 58.7% for a first dose, 88.6% for a second dose and 93.2% for a third dose.

During the autumn booster vaccine campaign, over 15 million people aged 50 years and over had received a booster by 6 March 2023, with around 330 people receiving a jab in the latest seven-day period. Adults aged 50 to 54 years are most likely to have received a vaccine in the last three months, while the majority of those in the oldest age groups were last vaccinated three to six months ago now (5 March 2023).

The proportion of patients in hospital in England with confirmed COVID-19 who were being treated primarily for COVID-19 was 36% in January 2023, down from a peak of around 75% between June and December 2021. It was lowest in London (20%) and highest in the South West (57%).

Mortality rates due to COVID-19 increased in England (from 22.2 to 42.8 deaths per 100,000 people) and Wales (from 30.1 to 56.0 deaths per 100,000 people) between December 2022 and January 2023. The proportion of deaths involving COVID-19, where COVID-19 was the underlying cause, increased between December 2022 and January 2023 in England (from 67.9% to 70.5%) and in Wales (from 71.9% to 72.2%).

Fewer than 1 in 10 adults (8%) took a lateral flow test in the last seven days during the period 22 February to 5 March 2023. This is the same as reported for the period 25 January to 5 February 2023.

Overview of the pandemic

Since COVID-19 reached the UK in early 2020, more than 500 million tests have been reported, more than 9 in every 10 people aged 12 years and over have received at least two vaccinations, and more than 150,000 people have died. 

The ONS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, run independently of government testing, has conducted tests on hundreds of thousands of weekly samples to provide the best estimate of the scale of the pandemic, with a peak of 1 in 13 people infected in England in March 2022.  

How infections, hospitalisations and deaths have changed during the pandemic

Estimated coronavirus (COVID-19) positivity rates, overall hospital admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) admissions, and number of deaths, England, 1 August 2020 to 12 March 2023

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Vaccines have effectively reduced the impact of infections on hospitalisations and deaths, but emerging variants have been much more transmissible. The hospital admission rate and number of deaths involving COVID-19 are lower now than earlier in the pandemic, despite similar, or higher, infection levels.

We are continuing to learn more about the impact of long COVID, which was affecting 2.0 million people (1 in 33) across the UK in January 2023.  

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