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Infections and deaths

The percentage of people testing positive in England has continued to increase in the most recent week

8 January 2021

An estimated 1 in 50 people tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the community population in England, during the week from 27 December to 2 January 2021, equating to 1,122,000 people, or 2.06% of the population.

The proportion of those testing positive in Wales has recently decreased, where an estimated 1 in 70 had the virus, which equates to 44,100, or 1.45% of the population in Wales.

In Northern Ireland the proportion of people testing positive appears to no longer be decreasing in the most recent week. An estimated 9,100 people had COVID-19, equating to 1 in 200 people or 0.50% of the population.

In Scotland, the percentage testing positive has increased in the most recent week to around 1 in 115 people in the period 27 to 31 December 2020 (because of additional public holidays), equating to an estimated 45,900 people, or 0.87% of the population of Scotland.

During the week from 27 December to 2 January 2021, London had the highest proportion of people testing positive with an estimated 3.56%, equating to around 1 in 30 people.

New variant

In England, the percentage testing positive and compatible with the new variant has increased more rapidly since the beginning of December, with rates of other cases now showing an increase in the most recent week.

Cases compatible with the new strain of the virus continued to increase in all regions of England. Other cases have also increased in the South East, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West and North East.

In the most recent week, the percentage testing positive and compatible with the new variant has continued to increase in all regions

Modelled percentage of cases which are compatible with the new variant (ORF1ab & N gene positive) and other variants based on nose and throat swabs, daily, by region since 22 November 2020, England

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Notes:
  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.
  3. Data should be treated with caution. There are small numbers of positives detected leading to considerable uncertainty surrounding these estimates. There are further uncertainties given that not all cases that are positive on the ORF1ab and N-genes will be the new variant.

Data download

Analysis | Data

More than a third of deaths involved COVID-19 in the week ending 8 January

19 January 2021

There were 6,057 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales in the week ending 8 January 2021 – the highest weekly figure since the week ending 24 April 2020.

However, the sharp rise in COVID-19 deaths coincided with a similar increase in overall registrations, which may be partly driven by deaths in previous weeks whose registrations were delayed by Bank Holidays (Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day).

Even so, more than one in three deaths registered in the week ending 8 January involved COVID-19 (34.1% of 17,751), the highest percentage since the week ending 17 April 2020.

There were sharp increases in COVID-19 mortality across all English regions and Wales. Both London and the South East recorded more than 1,000 deaths involving COVID-19 for the first time since April.

Deaths were above average in all English regions and in Wales, amid sharp rises in COVID-19 mortality

Number of deaths in Wales and regions in England, registered between 3 January 2020 and 8 January 2021

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Notes:
  1. Based on area of usual residence. Geographical boundaries are based on the most up-to-date information available at the time of publication.
  2. Figures exclude deaths of non-residents.
  3. Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred.
  4. All figures for 2020 and 2021 are provisional.
  5. The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) definitions are as follows; coronavirus (COVID-19) (U07.1 and U07.2).
  6. The number of deaths registered in 2020 (Weeks 19, 20, 22, 23, 36, 37, 52 and 53) and in Week 1 2021 were affected by Bank Holidays.
  7. The Week 52 five-year average is used to compare against Week 53 deaths.
  8. The five-year average has been provided for 2015 to 2019 (rather than 2016 to 2020) because of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on deaths registered in 2020. The average for 2015 to 2019 provides a comparison of the number of deaths expected per week in a usual (non-pandemic) year.

Data download

In total, there have been 87,726 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic (up to 8 January 2021). Around 75% of these have occurred among people aged 75 years and over.

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

One in eight people in England had antibodies in December

19 January 2021

An estimated 5.4 million people in England would have tested positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the specific virus that causes the coronavirus (COVID-19), in December 2020. This suggests around one in eight people (12.1% of the population) aged 16 years and over would have previously been infected.

In Wales around 9.8% of the population aged 16 years and over, or 1 in 10 people, would have tested positive for antibodies, equivalent to around 247,000 people.

In Northern Ireland it would have been 7.8%, or 1 in 13 people aged 16 years and over. This works out at an estimated 115,000 people.

In Scotland an estimated 8.9% of the population aged 16 years and over, or 1 in 11 people, would have tested positive for antibodies, which is around 398,000 people. The analysis is based on blood test results taken from a randomly selected subsample of individuals aged 16 years and over, which are used to test for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

It takes between two and three weeks for the body to make enough antibodies to fight the infection but once a person recovers, antibodies remain in the blood at low levels. These levels can decline over time to the point that tests no longer detect them. Having antibodies can help prevent individuals from getting the same infection again.

Analysis|Data

Coronavirus was the leading cause of death in England and Wales in December

18 January 2021

The coronavirus (COVID-19) was the leading cause of death in December 2020 in both England and in Wales.

Of the 52,676 deaths registered in December 2020 in England, 20.8% (10,973 deaths) were due to COVID-19. This means the coronavirus was identified as the underlying cause of death. This is the highest proportion seen in England since May 2020 (when 23.1% of all deaths were due to COVID-19).

In Wales, 27.4% of the 3,941 deaths registered in December 2020 were due to COVID-19 (1,081 deaths), the highest proportion since April 2020 (when 30.1% of all deaths were due to COVID-19).

Based on provisional data for January to December 2020, COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in England and Wales during the whole of 2020.

The following interactive map allows you to see the cumulative number of monthly deaths due to COVID-19 in each area in England and Wales. The map uses Middle layer Super Output Areas, which are areas that each have a similarly sized population and remain stable over time.

Number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Middle layer Super Output Areas, England and Wales, deaths registered between 1 March and 31 December 2020

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Notes:
  1. Points on the map are placed at the centre of the local area they represent and do not show the actual location of deaths. The size of the circle is proportional to the number of deaths.
  2. To protect confidentiality, a small number of deaths have been reallocated between neighbouring areas. Given the method used for this, figures for some areas may be different to previously published data.
  3. Figures are for deaths registered rather than deaths occurring in each month.
  4. Figures exclude deaths of non-residents; geographical boundaries are based on the most up-to-date information available at the time of publication.
  5. Deaths “due to COVID-19” include only deaths where COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death.
  6. Locally adopted Middle layer Super Output Area (MSOA) names are provided by House of Commons Library. While these names are not officially supported for National Statistics, they are provided here to help local users.
  7. Figures are provisional.

Further analysis of death registrations data for England and Wales, including breakdowns by sex and age, are presented in Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales: December 2020.

Analysis | Data

COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions in England double in a month

8 January 2021

The number of COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions in England rose rapidly in December, following decreases during late November.

It is estimated that 1,122,000 people in England, or 1 in 50 people, had COVID-19 in the week ending 2 January 2021. This equates to 2.06% of the community population and is more than twice the positivity rate seen in the week ending 5 December 2020, when 0.88% of the population were estimated to have the virus.

The rate of hospital admissions of confirmed COVID-19 patients also rose in the most recent week (ending 3 January 2021) to 27.8 admissions per 100,000 people. This is almost twice the rate recorded in the week ending 6 December 2020, of 14 per 100,000 people.

Infection and hospital admission rates have been increasing since the beginning of December 

Estimated COVID-19 positivity rates, hospital admissions and number of deaths, England, 1 August 2020 to 3 January 2021

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Notes:
  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. These figures exclude infections reported in hospitals, care homes and/or other institutional settings. 
  3. 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). 
  6. 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

The number of deaths involving COVID-19 in England fell by 3.6% to 2,631 in the week ending 25 December. However, registrations in England and Wales were impacted by the Christmas Day Bank Holiday, so this trend should be interpreted with caution.

Analysis

Also published in the last week

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Economy, business and jobs

The economy fell by 2.6% in November 2020 as government restrictions reduced economic activity

15 January 2021

Following six consecutive monthly increases, including an upwardly revised 0.6% increase in October, monthly gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 2.6% in November 2020.

Restrictions were in place to varying degrees across all four nations of the UK during November. Restriction announcements for each nation are available:

November GDP fell back to 8.5% below the levels seen in February 2020 compared with 6.1% below in October 2020.

The services sector acted as the main drag on growth in November, falling by 3.4% as restrictions on activity were reintroduced. The largest contributor to this fall was accommodation and food service activities, followed by wholesale and retail trade. The services sector is now 9.9% below the level of February 2020.

The production sector also fell marginally by 0.1% in November 2020, remaining 4.7% below its February 2020 level. Elsewhere the construction sector saw positive growth of 1.9% in November 2020, recovering to 0.6% above the February 2020 level.

Analysis | Data

The employment rate was falling sharply and unemployment was rising in the three months to October

15 December 2020

Early estimates for November 2020 suggest that there is a slight drop over the month in the number of payroll employees in the UK. Since February 2020, the number of payroll employees has fallen by 819,000; however, the larger falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Data from our Labour Force Survey show a large increase in the unemployment rate while the employment rate continues to fall.

The employment rate was falling sharply and unemployment was rising

UK employment, unemployment and economic inactivity rates, seasonally adjusted, between August to October 2005 and August to October 2020

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In the three months to October 2020, redundancies reached a record high of 370,000; an increase of a record 217,000 on the quarter, although the number of redundancies fell slightly in October.

The number of people temporarily away from work has fallen since its peak in April and May 2020. The number of people away from work because of the pandemic and receiving no pay has also fallen and levelled off in recent months.

Annual growth in employee pay continued to strengthen as more employees returned to work from furlough, but the estimated growth in average pay is also impacted by compositional effects of a fall in the number and proportion of lower-paid employee jobs.

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

Analysis | Data

Retail footfall reaches lowest levels since mid-June

14 January 2021

Overall retail footfall in the UK was the lowest since 14 June 2020 as it fell by 2 percentage points in the week ending 10 January 2021.

This fall in volume took footfall in retail locations to 35% of the level seen in the same week of the previous year, according to data from Springboard. Footfall in shopping centres decreased the most, by 4 percentage points, high streets by 2 percentage points, and retail parks by 1 percentage point.

All motor vehicle traffic volume saw a slight decrease on Monday 11 January when compared with the previous week and was 37 percentage points lower than the first Monday in February 2020. Traffic volumes for heavy good vehicles increased by 18 percentage points compared with the previous week and light commercial goods vehicles increased by 3 percentage points. Meanwhile, volumes of cars decreased by 4 percentage points.

The seven-day average number of daily cargo ship visits in the UK increased to 88 visits in the week ending 10 January 2021 compared with 77 visits the week before, according to data from exactEarth.

Analysis

Also published in the last week

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People and social impacts

Lockdown compliance high but so is anxiety

15 January 2021

Support for lockdown measures has increased, with 9 in 10 (88%) of people surveyed supporting or strongly supporting restrictions where they live.

The latest data from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey show lockdown restrictions are having an impact on people’s behaviour.

This week, around 3 in 5 (62%) of people said they had stayed at home or only left their home for limited reasons, the highest proportion since May 2020.

Personal well-being scores deteriorated this week. Levels of anxiety are at the highest they have been since April 2020. Measures for happiness, life satisfaction and feeling like things in life are worthwhile all decreased from the week before.

Attitudes towards vaccination are continuing to become more positive. The proportion of people who said they would be very likely or fairly likely to have a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination if offered one is now 86%. This week, nearly one-quarter (24%) of adults felt life would return to normal in six months or less, compared with 25% the week before.

Compliance with wearing a mask, handwashing and other measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus remained high, with 93% of people avoiding physical contact outside of their home.

Analysis | Data

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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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