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This page was last updated at 09:30 on 5 May 2021.
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Infections and deaths
The percentage of people with the coronavirus has continued to decrease
30 April 2021
In the weeks ending 24 April 2021, the percentage of people who would have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased in all four countries of the UK.
In England, we estimate that 54,200 people (0.10% or 1 in 1,010 people) in the community (those not in hospitals, care homes or institutional settings) had COVID-19 in the week ending 24 April 2021; this is a decrease on the 90,000 people estimated to have had COVID-19 in the week ending 16 April 2021.
The percentage of people testing positive decreased in all regions except in Yorkshire and The Humber and the East of England, where trends are uncertain.
In Wales, we estimate that 1,900 people (0.06% or 1 in 1,570 people) had COVID-19 in the week ending 24 April 2021, down from 3,600 people the week before.
In Northern Ireland, an estimated 1,900 people (0.11% or 1 in 940 people) had COVID-19 in the two weeks ending 24 April 2021, down from 2,800 in the week ending 16 April 2021.
In Scotland, we estimate that 8,200 people (0.16% or 1 in 640 people) had COVID-19 in the week ending 16 April 2021, down from 9,300 people the week before.
The percentage of people testing positive decreased in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland in the weeks up to 24 April 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.
Number of COVID-19 deaths continues to fall
5 May 2021
There were 260 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales in the week ending 23 April 2021 – a decrease of 102 deaths compared with the previous week.
The number of recorded deaths from all causes also fell in the latest week to 9,941, which is 5.3% below the five-year average. This is the seventh consecutive week that deaths have been below the five-year average.
Around 1 in 38 deaths (2.6%) in the latest week involved COVID-19, the lowest proportion since the week ending 25 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 23 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.
- 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 over 135,000 (139,203 registrations up to 23 April 2021).
Around 73% of all COVID-19 deaths 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 “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” was mentioned on the death certificate. Weekly figures are available by local authority and health board.
Travelling to work and struggling to maintain social distancing increased the odds of testing positive for COVID-19, but cannot be assumed to be the only causes of spread
5 May 2021
Transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a complex continuous risk, which can occur in any setting. Work location, mode of travel to work, and ability to socially distance at work were all associated with the likelihood of testing positive. However, these factors alone cannot be assumed to be the only cause of the spread of the virus.
Between the end of November 2020 and the middle of February 2021, people who travelled to work were more likely to test positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) than those working from home, regardless of mode of travel.
There is limited evidence that those who travelled on foot, by bike or “other” means were less likely to test positive than those who travelled to work by train, bus, car or taxi but this finding is less certain as confidence intervals are wide. For those working outside the home, there is evidence that the more difficult it is to maintain social distancing, the more likely they are to test positive for COVID-19.
People who travelled to work were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those working from home, regardless of mode of travel
Odds ratios of individuals who travelled to work testing positive for COVID-19 on a swab test compared with individuals working from home by mode of travel, UK, 3 October 2020 to 16 April 2021
- 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.
Between 1 December 2020 and 4 April 2021, over half of those who tested positive for COVID-19 with a strong positive test reported having some symptoms within 35 days of the test in England, Wales and Scotland; just under half reported symptoms in Northern Ireland.
Cough, fatigue, and headache were the most common symptoms reported in strong positive COVID-19 cases across the four UK countries.
Most people report fully adhering to self-isolation requirements
4 May 2021
Of people who were required to self-isolate, the majority (84%) fully adhered to requirements for the whole self-isolation period.
This data was collected between 12 and 16 April 2021 and found that 84% of those who tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) reported having no contact with non-household members while they had any symptoms of illness or during the entire self-isolation period. This follows a new legal duty introduced in September 2020 in England requiring people to self-isolate in their home (or other accommodation) and not leave unless in exceptional circumstances (for example, a medical emergency).
|8 to 13 March||12 to 16 April|
|Percentage reporting full adherence to the requirements for their full isolation period or until the point of the survey||82%||84%|
|Percentage reporting no contact with non-household members for their full isolation period or until the point of the survey||83%||84%|
|Percentage who fully understood the self-isolation requirements 1||-||79%|
|Percentage who agreed that "it was easy for me to self-isolate"||83%||83%|
|Percentage reporting self-isolation had a negative effect on their well-being and mental health||36%||37%|
|Percentage reporting having lost income due to self-isolation||28%||27%|
|Of those who did not adhere to the requirements, percentage leaving the house for a non-permitted reason||83%||84%|
|Of those who did not adhere to the requirements, percentage who had one or more visitors to their home (excluding visits for personal care)||27%||24%|
Download this table Indicators of behaviour and experience during self-isolation.xls .csv
The COVID Test and Trace Survey also found that non-adherent behaviour was most likely to take place between the onset of symptoms (prompting a test) and receiving a positive COVID-19 test result. After receiving the positive test result, those who tested positive were significantly more likely to report complying with self-isolation requirements.
Self-isolation had some negative impacts on those who tested positive. Over a third (37%) reported that their well-being and mental health suffered while they were isolating. 27% of people reported having lost income because of having to self-isolate.
There were fewer cases of coronavirus in secondary schools in March 2021 than over winter 2020
4 May 2021
According to the latest findings from the COVID-19 Schools’ Infection Survey, the percentage of secondary school students and staff who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) was lower in late March 2021 than in November 2020. The proportion of pupils testing positive was also lower than in December 2020.
In late March 2021, shortly after students returned to school following the loosening of lockdown measures, 0.33% of secondary students in the schools taking part in the study were estimated to test positive for coronavirus. This is a lower proportion than were estimated to test positive in the first round of testing, carried out in November 2020.
Among secondary staff in school, 0.32% were estimated to test positive. This was lower than levels seen in both previous rounds of testing, carried out in November and December 2020.
Also published recently
Economy, business and jobs
The economy grew by 0.4% in February 2021
13 April 2021
Real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 0.4% in February 2021 following a revised fall of 2.2% in January 2021.
Restrictions were in place to varying degrees across all four nations of the UK throughout January and February. Restriction announcements for each nation are available:
The output approach to GDP shows that February’s level is 7.8% below levels before the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic were seen (February 2020), and 3.1% below the initial recovery peak (October 2020). Overall, all main sectors of GDP remain below their pre-pandemic levels, but only services remains notably lower than the initial recovery peak in October 2020.
Output growth in the services sector was broadly flat in February 2021 (grew by just 0.2%) as coronavirus restrictions remained largely unchanged; this follows negative 2.5% growth in January 2021.
Overall, in February 2021, consumer-facing services were 18.6% below pre-pandemic levels (February 2020), while all other services were 7% below pre-pandemic levels.
The production sector grew in February 2021, by 1.0%. This was mainly because of manufacturing output picking up for the first time since November 2020, as the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers grew following contraction in the previous two months.
The construction sector saw growth of 1.6% in February 2021, driven by both new work and repair and maintenance.
GDP saw growth in every region and country in the UK in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020 but remained below pre-pandemic levels
5 May 2021
In Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020, GDP across all countries in the UK grew as lockdown restrictions were eased, following record contractions in Quarter 2. GDP growth in Quarter 3 in England (17.2%) exceeded the UK average of 16.9%, while the growth rates in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales were 15.8%, 15.4% and 14.4% respectively.
It should be noted that estimates for Scotland and Northern Ireland are taken from the second estimate of Quarter 3 published on 17 February 2021 by the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) initial estimate of Quarter 3 published 14 January 2021.
All nine English regions experienced growth in Quarter 3 2020 with the fastest growth seen in the South West (19.9%). London had the lowest growth rate of the English regions (13.3%) in Quarter 3 2020 after experiencing the smallest decrease in growth rate in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020.
When compared with the same period a year ago, GDP in Quarter 3 2020 was lower for all regions and despite renewed growth, UK GDP fell by 7.5%. The largest decrease in GDP was the West Midlands (11.3%), while Northern Ireland experienced the smallest decrease of 2.9%.
Those aged 50 years and over most likely to be facing redundancy
4 May 2021
Those aged 50 years and over had the highest redundancy rate across all age groups in the latest quarter (December 2020 to February 2021), with 9.7 per thousand within this age group being affected. This figure is up from 4.3 per thousand last year.
Over a quarter of redundancies for older male workers over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic were in manufacturing, while construction (the second most common industry for older men) had fewer redundancies at 8%. Around one-third of all redundancies for older female workers were in distribution, hotels and restaurants.
In the latest quarter, 29.9% of those unemployed and aged 50 years and over were in long-term unemployment, compared with 18.9% under 50 years.
In the same period, employees aged 50 years and over were more likely than those aged under 50 years to report working fewer hours than usual due to the coronavirus.
Non-essential shopping and seated dining continue to increase
29 April 2021
Seated diner estimates on Saturday 24 April 2021 were at 62% of the level seen on the equivalent Saturday of 2019, according to OpenTable.
This is a 2 percentage point increase from last week and a substantial increase since Saturday 10 April 2021 when its level was 0% because of restaurants and bars still being under coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions at that time.
The Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS)-based indicator of credit and debit card purchases for delayable goods (such as clothing and furnishings) increased by 21 percentage points to 110% of its February 2021 average in the week to 22 April 2021, according to the Bank of England’s CHAPS data.
The proportion of adults who shopped for things other than food or medicine notably increased by 8 percentage points to 28% in the latest week, according to the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.
This proportion is of the 95% of adults who reported they had left home in the last seven days and covers the week to 25 April 2021.
Also published recently
People and social impacts
Reported rise in pandemic depression unmatched by GP diagnoses
5 May 2021
Self-reported feelings associated with depression have increased throughout the pandemic. However, the number of GP-diagnosed cases of adult depression has fallen during this period. But cases of depression make up a larger percentage of overall referrals than before the pandemic, suggesting those suffering may not be accessing medical help.
Around one in five (21%) adults experienced depressive symptoms in early 2021 (27 January to 7 March), more than double the rate before the pandemic (10%).
Personal finance appears to be a contributing factor, with around one in three (35%) of those unable to afford an unexpected expense of £850 also experiencing depressive symptoms, compared with around one in eight (13%) adults who could afford this expense.
Younger adults and women were more likely to experience some form of depression, with over four in ten (43%) women aged 16 to 29 years experiencing depressive symptoms, compared with 26% of men of the same age.
Disabled (39%) and clinically extremely vulnerable adults (31%) were more likely to experience some form of depression than non-disabled (13%) and non-CEV adults (20%).
Rates of depressive symptoms for young adults have more than doubled since before the pandemic
Great Britain, July 2019 to March 2021
- Base population: All adults in Great Britain.
- Afford an unexpected expense: Adults were asked if their household could afford an unexpected, but necessary, expense of £850. This gives us an indication of adults who may be struggling financially.
- Child in household: Whether there is a child living in the household. A child is any person aged under 16 years.
Between 23 March 2020 and 31 August 2020, the number of depression diagnoses by GPs in England was 23.7% lower than the corresponding period in 2019.
The overall drop in depression diagnoses was particularly pronounced for men, with 27.4% fewer diagnoses than before the pandemic, compared to 21.4% for women. However, drops in depression diagnoses are less pronounced than the 29.7% decrease in all diagnoses by GPs during the same period.
In fact, depression diagnoses as a percentage of all diagnoses rose by 1.3 percentage points since before the pandemic. But among those aged 25 to 34 years, the proportion of depression diagnoses dropped 2.3 percentage points.
Those aged 45 to 54 years experienced the largest drop in depression diagnoses
Number of depression diagnoses and depression diagnoses as a percentage of all diagnoses during the pandemic period 2020 by age group and corresponding period 2019, England
- The pandemic period covers 23 March 2020 to 31 August 2020
- Depression diagnoses as a percentage of all diagnoses are calculated by dividing the number of depression diagnoses by number of all diagnoses and multiplying by 100.
More people are meeting outdoors with other households
30 April 2021
This week, 57% of adults reported meeting up outdoors with someone not in their household, childcare or support bubble; a notable increase from the 19% reported between 10 and 14 March 2021.
In the period 21 to 25 April 2021, 60% of adults reported meeting up (either indoors or outdoors) with someone outside their household in the last seven days (up from 54% last week). Since early March, this figure has followed a steady upward trend, with the only decrease coming in the previous week covering the period when many schools returned from the Easter break.
The increase in people meeting with other households has been driven by those meeting outdoors. The number of people meeting up indoors (either exclusively or in combination with meeting up outdoors) is currently at 10% and has remained relatively stable since January.
Over half (57%) of adults met up outdoors with someone outside their household, childcare or support bubble in the last seven days
Adults in Great Britain, January to April 2021
- Question: "Excluding work or education, in the past seven days, have you met up or socialised with anyone from outside your household, support, or childcare bubble?
- Base: all adults.
- Questions asked about meeting indoors and outdoors changed in March so interpretation of this time series should be made with caution.
Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) working adults reported leaving home for work in the past seven days, a continued increase from last week (55%) and since mid-February (44% in the period 10 to 14 February 2021).
Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, more adults reported leaving home for a variety of reasons, such as:
- to meet up in a public place (33% among adults who left home compared with 26% last week)
- to shop for things other than basic necessities (28% compared with 20% last week)
- to do leisure activities (15% compared with 12% last week)