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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
- 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.
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.
COVID-19 deaths rise for 11th week in a row, but at a slower rate
1 December 2020
There were 2,697 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales in the week ending 20 November 2020, the highest weekly figure since the week ending 15 May 2020.
The latest increase in COVID-19 mortality was the 11th in succession, but the rise of 231 deaths compared with the previous week was the smallest in six weeks.
By region, the highest number of COVID-19 deaths was reported in the North West (629 deaths), followed by Yorkshire and The Humber (481). In total, there were 12,535 deaths across England and Wales in the week ending 20 November 2020, of which 21.5% 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 were higher than average in all English regions and in Wales
Number of deaths in Wales and regions in England, registered between 28 December 2019 and 20 November 2020
- Based on area of usual residence. Geographical boundaries are based on the most up-to-date information available at the time of publication.
- Figures exclude 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).
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 63,852 COVID-19 deaths registered in England and Wales, up to 20 November 2020 (35,358 men and 28,494 women).
The majority of deaths involving COVID-19 have been among people aged 65 years and over (57,184 out of 63,852).
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 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
- 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. 5.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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Trade in services severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic
2 December 2020
UK trade in services saw steep falls in both imports and exports in Quarter 2 (April to June) 2020 compared with the same period the previous year, reflecting a severe impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Service types impacted most by measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus such as social distancing and lockdown restrictions saw the greatest impact, with travel, transportation and other business services sectors most significantly affected.
Total travel imports, which include travel from the UK to abroad, decreased by £12.5 billion (89.3%) in Quarter 2 2020 when compared with Quarter 2 2019, reflecting the pandemic’s significant impact on global tourism.
Total travel exports, which include travel to the UK from abroad, decreased by £7.3 billion (71.2%) compared with Quarter 2 2019.
Further analysis of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on UK trade, including the latest data for UK trade in goods for Quarter 3 (July to September) 2020, is presented in Impacts of the coronavirus on UK trade: December 2020.
Also published in the last week
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).
Great Britain, 11 to 22 November 2020
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).
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
- Country regions are where the foreign airport is located and are based on the country of residence groupings used in international passenger statistics.
- Volume of air passenger travel and further disaggregation by UK country is available within the data download file.
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.