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This page was last updated at 07:00 on 12 May 2021.
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Infections and deaths
Number of COVID-19 deaths continues to fall
11 May 2021
There were 205 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales in the week ending 30 April 2021 – a decrease of 55 deaths compared with the previous week.
The number of recorded deaths from all causes also fell in the latest week to 9,692, which is 7.3% below the five-year average. This is the eighth consecutive week that deaths have been below the five-year average.
Around 1 in 48 deaths (2.1%) in the latest week involved COVID-19, the lowest proportion since the week ending 18 September 2020.
Deaths from all causes were below the five-year average
Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 30 April 2021
- Figures include deaths of non-residents.
- Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred.
- All figures for 2020 and 2021 are provisional.
- The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) definitions are as available in the Measuring the data section of the bulletin.
- The number of deaths registered in a week are affected when Bank Holidays occur.
- The average for 2015 to 2019 provides a comparison of the number of deaths expected per week in a usual (non-pandemic) year.
Using the most up-to-date data, the total number of deaths involving COVID-19 in England and Wales is almost 140,000 (139,429 registrations up to 30 April 2021).
In the week ending 30 April 2021, 58.0% of deaths involving COVID-19 were in people aged 75 years and over.
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.
The percentage of people with COVID-19 has decreased in Great Britain and is level in Northern Ireland
7 May 2021
In the weeks ending 2 May 2021, the percentage of people who would have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased in England, Wales and Scotland and remained level in Northern Ireland.
In England, we estimate that 46,100 people (0.08% or 1 in 1,180 people) in the community (those not in hospitals, care homes or institutional settings) had COVID-19 in the week ending 2 May 2021; this is a decrease on the 54,200 people estimated to have had COVID-19 in the week ending 24 April 2021.
In Wales, we estimate that 1,500 people (0.05% or 1 in 2,070 people) had COVID-19 in the week ending 2 May 2021, down from 1,900 people in the week ending 24 April 2021.
In Northern Ireland, an estimated 2,400 people (0.13% or 1 in 750 people) had COVID-19 in the week ending 2 May 2021, similar to the 1,900 (0.11%) estimated in the week ending 24 April 2021.
In Scotland, we estimate that 6,900 people (0.13% or 1 in 760 people) had COVID-19 in the week ending 2 May 2021, down from 8,200 people the week before.
The percentage of people testing positive decreased in England, Wales and Scotland and remained level for Northern Ireland in the weeks up to 2 May 2021
Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs from 3 May 2020
- All estimates are subject to uncertainty, given that a sample is only part of the wider population. The model used to provide these estimates is a Bayesian model: these provide 95% credible intervals. A credible interval gives an indication of the uncertainty of an estimate from data analysis. 95% credible intervals are calculated so that there is a 95% probability of the true value lying in the interval.
- Official reported estimates are plotted at a reference point believed to be most representative of the given week.
- The official estimate presents the best estimate at that point in time. Modelled estimates are used to calculate the official reported estimate. The model smooths the series to understand the trend and is revised each week to incorporate new test results, providing the best indication of trend over time.
- Survey fieldwork for the pilot study began in England on 26 April 2020. In Wales, fieldwork began on 29 June 2020, in Northern Ireland fieldwork began on 26 July 2020 and in Scotland fieldwork began on 21 September 2020.
Excess deaths in care homes were higher in wave one of the coronavirus pandemic than wave two
11 May 2021
Since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there were 173,974 deaths of care home residents (wherever the death occurred) in England and Wales. This is a 19.5% increase of the five-year average (145,560 deaths).
Excess deaths (deaths above the five-average between 2015 and 2019) from all causes were higher in wave one (27,079 excess deaths) than wave two (1,335 excess deaths). This may be due to delayed access to care services and rapid testing during wave one; and lower care home occupancy, vaccine availability and mortality displacement in wave two.
Of the deaths occurring during the pandemic, 42,341 involved COVID-19, accounting for nearly one in four (24.3%) deaths of care home residents.
There were a higher proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 in wave two (25.7%) than wave one (23.1%), however the higher proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 in wave two could be attributed to undiagnosed COVID-19 cases in the first wave.
We defined wave one as deaths registered between 14 March and 12 September 2020 and wave two as deaths registered from 12 September 2020 (inclusive) until 2 April 2021.
Deaths at home increased by a third in 2020, while deaths in hospitals fell except for COVID-19
7 May 2021
Deaths in private homes, from all causes, were one-third higher in 2020 than in the previous five years. There were around 167,000 deaths from all causes in private homes in England and Wales in 2020, compared with an average of 125,000 between 2015 and 2019.
The majority of deaths due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) (where the coronavirus was the main cause) occurred in hospitals and care homes, while many deaths from other causes happened in private homes.
Our first release of the finalised mortality data for 2020 shows that “excess deaths” from all causes were 14% above the five-year average in England and Wales, with COVID-19 being the main reason for excess deaths.
Excess deaths are the difference between the number of deaths registered in 2020 and the five-year average (2015 to 2019). Using the average gives us a comparison of how many deaths we would expect in a "usual" year, before the coronavirus pandemic.
There were almost 76,000 more deaths from all causes and in all locations (hospitals, care homes, private homes and elsewhere) in England and Wales in 2020 than the five-year average.
Private homes and care homes bore the brunt of excess deaths in 2020
Deaths from all causes by place of death, England and Wales, deaths registered in 2020 and average for 2015 to 2019
Economy, business and jobs
The economy grew by 2.1% in March 2021
12 May 2021
Real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 2.1% in March 2021, the fastest monthly growth since August 2020, as schools in some parts of the UK reopened throughout the month.
The output approach to GDP shows that March’s level is 5.9% below the levels seen in February 2020, and 1.1% below the initial recovery peak in October 2020.
Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 1.5% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020, following 1.3% growth in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2020.
The service sector grew by 1.9% in March 2021, with schools re-opening across England and Wales and retail trade sales continuing to show strength. However, despite this growth, education output in March 2021 remained 3.9% below its December 2020 level, when schools were last fully open before the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions were introduced across the UK.
Output in human health and social work activities grew 1.7% in March 2021, following revised growth of 0.7% in February and negative 0.7% in January. This gradual pick up in health in the first three months of 2021 is driven by the NHS Test and Trace service and COVID-19 vaccination across the UK.
Output in the production sector grew by 1.8% in March 2021, as manufacturing grew for a second consecutive month, at 2.1%.
The construction sector grew by 5.8% in March 2021, driven by growth in both new work and repair and maintenance. The growth in construction (and indeed manufacturing) reflects businesses continuing to adapt, including development of COVID-19 secure environments in which to operate.
Seated dining levels continue to rise as UK restrictions ease
6 May 2021
Seated diner restaurant reservations on Saturday 1 May 2021 were at 71% of the level seen on the same Saturday in 2019, according to OpenTable.
The estimates for seated diner reservations on Saturday 1 May 2021 were 9 percentage points higher than the equivalent figure from the previous week. This follows the reopening of restaurants, cafes and bars in Scotland and Wales, and in Northern Ireland, on 26 April and 30 April, respectively.
Estimates for seated diner reservations in Manchester and London on Saturday 1 May 2021 had increased by 7 and 2 percentage points from the previous week to 90% and 43% of the levels seen on the equivalent Saturday of 2019, respectively. These slight increases follow the notable rise in estimates seen for Manchester and London since outdoor dining reopened in England on 12 April.
Also published recently
- Employee workplace pensions in the UK: 2020 provisional and 2019 final results
- Business Insights and Conditions Survey, analysis over time, UK: 24 August 2020 to 4 April 2021
- Business demography, quarterly experimental statistics, UK: January to March 2021
People and social impacts
More people leave home as lockdown eases
7 May 2021
Just over one in five (21%) adults reported staying home or only leaving for work, exercise, essential shopping or medical needs as lockdown restrictions ease. This continues a falling trend since mid-January 2021, when 65% of people were staying home.
During the period 28 April to 3 May 2021, more people said they were using previously closed services. Among adults who left home, 17% visited a hair salon or barber, compared with less than 1% in the week ending 10 January 2021.
Over one in four (28%) shopped for things other than necessities (compared with 6% in January). 10% took children to and from activities (compared with 1% in January).
Fewer adults (82%) are avoiding physical contact when outside their home compared with over 9 in 10 (92%) between 10 to 14 March. However, compliance with most measures remains high, with 87% of adults reporting handwashing when returning home (same as last week) and 98% using a face covering (97% last week).
17% of adults who reported leaving home visited a hair salon or barber this week
Of adults who reported they had left home in the past seven days for any reason, Great Britain, December 2020 to May 2021
- Question: "In the past seven days, for what reasons have you left your home?".
- Base: all adults who reported having in the past seven days left their home for any reason.
- Not all possible response categories are shown on this chart. For data for all possible response categories to this question please see Table 6 of the dataset associated with this bulletin.
Safety concerns raised by those refusing vaccine
7 May 2021
Between February and March 2021, 50 participants who were uncertain, unable, or unwilling to receive COVID-19 vaccines took part in interviews exploring their attitudes. Participants were not hesitant about vaccines in general, and many stressed that they did not belong to an “anti-vax” movement.
The most common concern was that participants did not trust that COVID-19 vaccines were safe. The speed of vaccine development and uncertainty about long-term side effects were frequently mentioned.
Some did not feel the COVID-19 vaccines were necessary because they were younger and thought they were unlikely to develop severe symptoms. Some thought they were already taking adequate steps to avoid catching the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Some participants had heard that COVID-19 vaccines contained ingredients that raised religious or ethical concerns.
Vaccination rates in England are lower among all ethnic minority groups compared with the White British population
6 May 2021
Among adults aged 50 years and over in England, those identifying as Black Caribbean and Black African were the least likely to have received the first dose of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine by 12 April 2021 (66.8% and 71.2% respectively), followed by those from a Pakistani background (78.4%). This compares with 93.7% of the White British population.
The differences between ethnic groups remain even after accounting for variations in where people lived, underlying health conditions, and measures of socio inequality.
Separate data for Great Britain show that 30% of Black or Black British adults were hesitant towards COVID-19 vaccines in the period 31 March to 25 April 2021. This had improved since the start of the year but remained the highest among all ethnic groups. Vaccine hesitancy refers to those who have either declined a COVID-19 vaccine offer, report being unlikely to accept a vaccine or report being undecided.
Vaccination rates also differed by religious affiliation, with the lowest rate being among those who identified as Muslims (78.8%), followed by Buddhists (83.3%). The highest rate was seen among Christians (93.2%).
There was a relationship between proficiency in English language (as recorded in 2011 Census) and vaccination rates. The lowest rates were observed for those who did not speak English at all (75.3%) and those who did not speak English well (75.9%), compared with 92.7% for those whose main language was English.
Meanwhile, people living in more deprived areas, those who have never worked or were long-term unemployed, those with no qualifications and those who did not own their own home all had lower vaccination rates than their more advantaged counterparts.
Record number of alcohol-specific deaths in 2020
6 May 2021
There were 7,423 deaths from alcohol-specific causes registered in England and Wales in 2020, equivalent to 13.0 per 100,000 people. The provisional estimates for the number and rate of alcohol-specific deaths in 2020 were the highest since records began in 2001.
The number of alcohol-specific deaths in 2020 was 19.6% higher than in 2019 (6,209 deaths; 11.0 per 100,000 people). This year-on-year increase was also a record – between 2001 and 2019, the number of alcohol-specific deaths increased by an average of 2.1% each year.
When comparing the same quarter across the years, the rate of alcohol-specific deaths in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020 was statistically similar to rates in previous years. However, rates in Quarter 2 (Apr to June), Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2020 – after the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – were all statistically significantly higher than in any other year back to 2001.
The difference between 2019 and 2020 widened in each successive quarter; the age-standardised rate in 2020 was 8.5% higher in Quarter 1, 17.4% higher in Quarter 2, 21.9% higher in Quarter 3 and 28.3% higher in Quarter 4, than in the equivalent quarter of 2019.
Data from Public Health England show that a rise in consumption in older age groups is likely to have driven the rise in alcohol-specific deaths.
Alcohol consumption in younger age groups has decreased significantly during the pandemic period, but this is not reflected in the death rate because of the relatively low chance of young people dying from alcohol-specific causes.
Consistent with previous years, the alcohol-specific death rate for males in 2020 (17.6 deaths per 100,000 males; 4,891 deaths) was around twice the rate for females (8.7 deaths per 100,000 females; 2,532 deaths).