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Infections and deaths

COVID-19 positivity rates are level or decreasing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; rising in Scotland

26 November 2020

The number of people with the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England appears to be levelling off, with 633,000 people estimated to have had COVID-19 in the most recent week (15 to 21 November 2020). This equates to 1 in 85 people.

Trends vary in the other UK nations. Positivity rates have decreased in Wales and Northern Ireland from their October peaks – they now stand at 1 in 185 and 1 in 145 people respectively. However, rates have increased in Scotland, with 1 in 115 people estimated to have had the virus over the last week.

At a regional level in England, the highest positivity rates are seen in Yorkshire and The Humber, the North West and the North East.

Rates appear to be decreasing or levelling off in the majority of English regions, with only the North East and East Midlands showing signs of increase.

Positivity rates are decreasing or levelling off across most of England, apart from the East Midlands and the North East

Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs, daily, by region since 4 October 2020, England

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  1. All results are provisional and subject to revision.
  2. These statistics refer to infections reported in the community, by which we mean private households. These figures exclude infections reported in hospitals, care homes and/or other institutional settings.

Data download

By age group, only secondary school-aged children have seen an increase in positivity rates in the most recent week. The number of people with COVID-19 has fallen among those aged 35 years and over, while it appears that rates among the youngest age group, as well as those in school year 12 to age 24, and aged 25 to 34 are levelling off.

Analysis | Data

Weekly deaths involving COVID-19 reach highest since May

24 November 2020

There were 2,466 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales in the week ending 13 November 2020, the highest weekly figure since the week ending 22 May 2020.

By region, the highest number of COVID-19 deaths was reported in the North West (615 deaths), followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (450).

In total, there were 12,254 deaths across England and Wales in the week ending 13 November 2020, of which one in five (20.1%) involved COVID-19.

Total deaths in the latest week remained higher than normal for this time of year, with hospitals, care homes and private homes all recording deaths in excess of the five-year average.

Deaths in England and Wales were above average for the tenth consecutive week

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 13 November 2020

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  1. Figures include deaths of non-residents.
  2. Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred.
  3. All figures for 2020 are provisional.
  4. The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Edition (ICD-10) definitions are as follows: coronavirus (COVID-19) (U07.1 and U07.2).

Data download

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 61,136 COVID-19 deaths registered in England and Wales, up to 13 November 2020 (33,804 men and 27,332 women).

The majority of deaths involving COVID-19 have been among people aged 65 years and over (54,698 out of 61,136).

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

Analysis | Data

COVID-19 infections in England begin to level off, but deaths are still rising

27 November 2020

Since late August 2020, coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, hospitalisations and deaths have all been rising in England.

However, in the most recent week (week ending 22 November), infections have shown signs of levelling off, while the COVID-19 hospital admission rate has fallen for the first time since early September. Deaths involving COVID-19 continued to rise in the week to 13 November.

COVID-19 positivity rates and hospital admission rates appear to be levelling off, but the number of deaths is increasing

Estimated COVID-19 positivity rates, hospital admissions and number of deaths, England, 1 August to 22 November 2020

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  1. All figures are provisional and subject to revision.
  2. Infection statistics refer to infections reported in the community, by which we mean residential households.
  3. These figures exclude infections reported in hospitals, care homes and/or other institutional settings. Figures exclude deaths of non-residents.
  4. Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred. 5.The International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition (ICD-10) definitions are as follows: coronavirus (COVID-19) (U07.1 and U07.2).
  5. We use the term “involving COVID-19” when referring to deaths that had COVID-19 mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, whether as an underlying cause or not.

Data download

These trends vary across different English regions. The highest COVID-19 positivity rates are seen in Yorkshire and The Humber, followed by the North West and the North East.

Despite recording the biggest decrease in England, from 29.4 to 22.9 people per 100,000, Yorkshire and The Humber still had the second highest hospital admission rate in the most recent week, behind the North East.

The North West has seen the highest number of deaths involving COVID-19 of any English region for nine consecutive weeks, although positivity and hospital admission rates both saw decreases in this region in the most recent week (week ending 22 November).

More information on the latest coronavirus indicators in England can be found in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) weekly insights: latest health indicators in England release.

Analysis | Data

Around 1 in 15 people in England tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in October

24 November 2020

An estimated 6.9% of the population in England would have tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in October 2020. Testing positive for antibodies suggests a previous COVID-19 infection.

The latest analysis from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey (CIS) shows substantial variation in the proportion of people who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in different English regions. In London, more than 10% of the population would have tested positive for antibodies in October, compared with just over 3% of people in the South West.

The proportion of people estimated to carry antibodies in Wales and Northern Ireland was lower than in England, at 4.1% and 2.1% respectively. In Scotland however, an estimated 7.1% of the population would have tested positive for antibodies in October 2020.

More analysis is available in the latest release on the characteristics of people testing positive for coronavirus in England.

Analysis | Data

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Economy, business and jobs

The economy was 8.2% smaller in September than it was pre-lockdown, despite recovering ground since April

12 November 2020

Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1.1% in September 2020 but was 8.2% lower than it was in February 2020, before lockdown began.

This is the fifth consecutive monthly increase following a record fall of 19.5% in April 2020, although the rate of growth has slowed.

Across Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020, GDP increased by 15.5%. The broad sectors that make up the economy – services, production and construction – saw large rises in output as restrictions on activity eased. However, growth was from a low base following record declines in Quarter 2 (Apr to June), so all three sectors remained smaller than they were in February.

By sub-sector, our data show that consumer-facing services (including retail, travel, hotels and restaurants, and entertainment and recreation) fared slightly better on average than all other services in September, despite having more or less halved in size in April when the strictest restrictions were in place. However, similar to the economy as a whole, growth in these areas has lost momentum since the summer.

Analysis | Data

The unemployment rate is rising sharply and the employment rate is falling

10 November 2020

Early estimates for October 2020 suggest that there was a slight drop over the month in the number of payroll employees in the UK. Since March 2020, the number of payroll employees has fallen by 782,000; however, the larger falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Data from our Labour Force Survey show the employment rate has been decreasing since the start of the pandemic, while the unemployment rate is now rising sharply.

The unemployment rate is rising sharply and the employment rate is falling

UK employment, unemployment and economic inactivity rates, seasonally adjusted, between July to September 2005 and July to September 2020

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Redundancies increased by 195,000 on the year, and a record 181,000 on the quarter, to a record high of 314,000 in the three months to September 2020. The annual increase was the largest since February to April 2009.

The number of people temporarily away from work has fallen since its peak in April and May 2020, and there are also fewer people away from work because of the pandemic and receiving no pay.

Annual growth in employee pay continued to strengthen as more employees returned to work from furlough, but pay growth is still subdued as some workers remain furloughed and employers are paying less in bonuses.

The number of total hours worked, and the number of vacancies, have both continued to recover in the latest period, but they are still below levels seen before the pandemic.

Analysis | Data

Proportion of furloughed workforce increased by six percentage points

26 November 2020

Of the UK workforce in businesses that have not permanently ceased trading, 15% were on partial or full furlough leave between 2 to 15 November 2020, an increase from 9% in the previous fortnight.

The Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS) also found that 30% of the workforce were working remotely (an increase from 28%), and 51% were working at their normal place of work (a decrease from 60%).

The proportion of British adults shopping for things other than food and medicine remained low at 12%, according to the latest Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN). These levels could be attributed to recent national restrictions in England.

According to Springboard, in the week ending 22 November 2020, overall UK footfall was at 45% of the level seen at the same time last year, similar to last week’s footfall. This remains above the lockdown low point seen in the week ending 12 April 2020.

Footfall across retail parks increased by three percentage points compared with last week to 71% of levels seen last year. High streets and shopping centres each saw a slight increase, to 37% of levels seen at the same time last year.

Analysis | Data

Also published in the last week

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People and social impacts

Proportion of working adults travelling to work increased to 56%

27 November 2020

Over half (56%) of working adults reported travelling to work this week, between 18 and 22 November 2020. This is a slight increase from 51% last week (11 to 15 November).

When looked at locally, there was wide variation across the country. In the first fortnight into lockdown (5 to 15 November), over 70% of working adults in Lincolnshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire travelled to work, while fewer than 34% of working adults in Inner London travelled to work. This is partly because more than 60% of Inner Londoners were working from home during that fortnight.

This week, the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) also examined the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) in different areas of England during the second national lockdown and during the use of local COVID-19 alert levels (tiers).

Main indicators

Great Britain, 11 to 22 November 2020

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The proportion of adults avoiding physical contact with others when outside their home remained high across England both before and during the second national lockdown. Merseyside, Shropshire and Staffordshire had the biggest increases in physical contact avoidance during the November 2020 national lockdown, with a 10 percentage point increase in adults reporting they avoided physical contact with others in these areas compared with the fortnight prior to lockdown.

The proportion of adults either very or somewhat worried about the effect of the coronavirus on their lives decreased during the second national lockdown in November in most English regions. North Yorkshire, and Dorset and Somerset showed the largest decrease (13 percentage points), while Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly showed the largest increase (11 percentage points).

Analysis | Data

Substantial decrease in passengers travelling internationally

26 November 2020

Today’s article, International migration and mobility: what's changed since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, brings together a range of different data. The data highlight a big impact on international mobility (people travelling or moving between the UK and other countries), which in turn, will have affected migration to and from the UK.

Since the pandemic began, we have seen substantial decreases in passengers travelling internationally. While the data sources are not directly comparable, there was a broadly consistent pattern seen in passenger data from the Home Office, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Department for Transport (DfT).

There was widespread decline in international travel to and from the UK because of worldwide travel restrictions

Percentage change compared with a year ago in monthly air passenger volume between airports in the UK and airports in regions of the world, by direction, January to September, 2020

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  1. Country regions are where the foreign airport is located and are based on the country of residence groupings used in international passenger statistics.
  2. Volume of air passenger travel and further disaggregation by UK country is available within the data download file.

Data download

Likewise, there was a fall in the number of visa applications issued for work and study to non-EU nationals, shown in Home Office immigration statistics, because visa applications centres closed by the end of March 2020 (although these have since reopened) and restrictions were put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the same period, there was also a decline in work-related activity with a significant reduction in the number of National Insurance numbers (NINos) allocated, which are needed to work in the UK. This was because the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) allocation process was disrupted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysis | Data

Also published in the last week

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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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  • Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional

    Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), by age, sex and region, 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 18 to 22 November 2020 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

    Early experimental data on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the UK economy and society. These faster indicators are created using rapid response surveys, novel data sources and experimental methods.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK

    Estimates for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. This survey is being delivered in partnership with University of Oxford, University of Manchester, Public Health England and Wellcome Trust.

  • GDP monthly estimate, UK

    Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of goods and services produced in the UK. It estimates the size of and growth in the economy.