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This page was last updated at 09:30 on 15 January 2021.
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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.
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
- All results are provisional and subject to revision.
- 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 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.
Almost a third of deaths involved COVID-19 in the week ending 1 January
12 January 2021
There were 3,144 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales in the week ending 1 January 2021 – the highest weekly figure since mid-May 2020.
However, overall registrations declined for the second week running because of delays associated with Bank Holidays (Boxing Day and New Year’s Day). Of the 10,069 deaths registered in the week ending 1 January, 31.2% involved COVID-19, the highest percentage since the week ending 1 May 2020.
Among English regions, London saw the largest rise in COVID-19 deaths compared with the previous week, followed by the South East. Wales reported an increase in COVID-19 mortality for the fourth consecutive week.
Despite the fall in overall registrations, deaths from all causes remained higher than normal for this time of year, with hospitals, care homes and private homes all recording figures in excess of the five-year average.
Across the whole of 2020, there were around 75,000 additional deaths registered in England and Wales compared with the average in the previous five years. Most of these additional deaths occurred among the oldest age groups (75 years and over), who have been most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Excess deaths in 2020 were concentrated in the oldest age groups
Number of deaths registered by age group, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 1 January 2021
- Figures include deaths of non-residents.
- Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred.
- All figures for 2020 are provisional.
- The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) definitions are as follows: coronavirus (COVID-19) (U07.1 and U07.2).
- Individual weeks may not sum to the year-to-date analysis as previous weeks have been recalculated to have the most up-to-date figures.
- Does not include deaths where age is either missing or not yet fully coded.
- The number of deaths registered in Weeks 19, 20, 22, 23, 36, 37, 52 and 53 were affected by Bank Holidays.
- The Week 52 five-year average is used to compare against Week 53 deaths.
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.
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
- All figures are provisional and subject to revision.
- 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.
- Figures exclude deaths of non-residents.
- Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred.
- The International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition (ICD-10) definitions are as follows: coronavirus (COVID-19) (U07.1 and U07.2).
- 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.
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.
Also published in the last week
- Analysis of geographic concentrations of COVID-19 mortality over time, England and Wales: deaths occurring between 22 February and 28 August 2020
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.
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
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.
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.
Also published in the last week
- Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy: November 2020
- UK trade: November 2020
- Business insights and impact on the UK economy: 14 January 2021
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.