Summary

4 August 2020

Our infection survey shows there is now evidence to suggest a slight increase in the number of people in England testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in recent weeks. An estimated 35,700 people had COVID-19 within the community population in England between 20 July and 26 July 2020, equating to around 1 in 1,500 individuals.

The total number of deaths registered in England and Wales this week increased slightly compared with the previous week, but the number of deaths involving COVID-19 continued to fall. The week ending Friday 24 July 2020 was the sixth successive week in which the total number of deaths (including those involving COVID-19) was below the five-year average.

During the pandemic, there have been more deaths involving COVID-19 among men than women, while the majority of deaths involving COVID-19 have been among those aged 65 years and over.

Over half of deaths involving COVID-19 have occurred in hospitals during the pandemic, although hospitals are now recording fewer deaths than the average at this time of year. During the week ending 24 July 2020, “private homes” was the only setting to record any excess deaths.

There has been considerable interest in international comparisons of mortality during the coronavirus pandemic. We have looked at comparisons of all-cause mortality between European countries and regions from January to June 2020, comparing 2020 with 2015 to 2019. Excess mortality is the number of deaths above what you would expect, using the five-year average from 2015 to 2019.

There were large increases in mortality rates across countries in Western Europe above the five-year average in the first half of 2020. England experienced the second highest national peak of excess mortality between 15 February and 12 June 2020, with only Spain having a higher peak. England had the longest continuous period of excess mortality of any country compared and so the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole.

In the UK, excess mortality was geographically widespread during the pandemic, while peaks of excess mortality were more geographically localised in other Western European countries. Central Spain and Northern Italy were the areas that had the highest rates of excess mortality. An interactive map shows the relative age-standardised mortality rates by week and local authority area level (NUTS3) of Europe.

Looking at major cities, the highest peak of excess mortality was in Madrid. In the UK, Birmingham had the highest peak of excess mortality of any major British city.

In an Office for National Statistics (ONS) blog, Edward Morgan gives an overview of this work.

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This page was last updated at 09:30 on 5 August 2020.


5 August 2020

Shielding behaviours changing with updated guidance

The guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people has changed in recent weeks. This is reflected in the responses to our Shielding Behavioural Survey.

Our latest survey was carried out between 9 and 16 July. It shows more CEV people are leaving their home and receiving visitors at their home.

Almost half (48%) of CEV people report not leaving their home at all or only leaving for exercise. This is lower than the 60% of people who said the same in the previous survey between 24 and 30 June.

The percentage of CEV people receiving no visitors at their home (other than for support for personal care) has decreased in each of the past three surveys. Between 28 May and 3 June, 87% of CEV people told us they had not received visitors at their home. This fell to 83% in the next survey (9 to 18 June), then 77% in the following one (24 to 30 June).

On 6 July, guidance for CEV people shielding changed to include forming a support bubble with another household. In our latest survey, 65% of CEV people reported receiving no visitors to their home (other than support for personal care).

Fifteen percent of CEV people live with someone under the age of 16 years. A fifth of those said living with children is impacting their ability to shield.

CEV shielding workers

Over a quarter (28%) of CEV people who were advised to shield were in employment before lockdown. Of that 28% of CEV people:

  • 11% continued to work outside their home

  • 37% now work from home

  • the remaining 52% were either furloughed, joined the self-employed income support scheme or stopped working

An estimated 38,000 (6%) CEV people who worked before lockdown said they would not return to work in the next four months. A fifth (21%) of CEV workers said they would continue to work from home for the next four months. That’s down from the 37% who said they are working at home now.

Almost one in four (23%) CEV workers said they didn’t know what their plans were for the coming four months.

There is some variation in how comfortable CEV people are with returning to work outside their homes.

More than two thirds (68%) of CEV workers said they were comfortable (44%) or completely comfortable (24%) with returning to work outside their home. However, their comfort level was dependent on protective measures being in place.

In comparison, 32% of CEV workers said they are not comfortable with returning to work outside their home.

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4 August 2020

Deaths involving COVID-19

Up to 24 July 2020, there were 51,505 deaths registered in England and Wales involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) (28,343 men and 23,162 women).

The majority of deaths involving COVID-19 have been among people aged 65 years and over (46,020 out of 51,505).

Our data are based on deaths registered in England and Wales and include all deaths where “COVID-19” was mentioned on death certificates. We have published a summary of where you can find data on COVID-19 infection rates and deaths for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The total number of deaths in the week ending 24 July 2020 (Week 30) was 8,891, below the five-year average for the sixth week running.

Private homes remained the only setting to record any excess deaths (deaths above the five-year average). Care homes, hospitals and other communal establishments recorded fewer deaths than the average for this time of year.

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31 July 2020

COVID-19 Infection Survey

There is evidence of a slight increase in the number of people in England testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in recent weeks.

Based on nose and throat swabs, we estimate that 35,700 people in England had COVID-19 at some point in the most recent week (20 to 26 July 2020).

Modelling shows evidence of a slight increase in COVID-19 infection rates in recent weeks

Estimated percentage of the population in England testing positive on nose and throat swabs for the coronavirus (COVID-19) daily since 15 June 2020

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The number of people newly infected with the virus has also increased, with latest data showing an estimated 4,200 new cases of COVID-19 per day in England.

Meanwhile, around 1 in 16 people (6.2%) who provided blood samples between 26 April and 26 July 2020 tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, suggesting that they had already had the virus. This equates to 2.8 million people in England.

Our survey only tests those within the community population, so the numbers exclude people in hospitals and care homes. Read our Coronavirus infection survey bulletin for more information.

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30 July 2020

European comparison of excess mortality

England saw the second-highest national peak of excess mortality during 2020 in the week ending 17 April, compared with 21 European countries; only Spain saw a higher peak (during week ending 27 March).

While England did not have the highest peak mortality, it did have the longest continuous period of excess mortality of any country compared, resulting in England having the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole (week ending 21 February to week ending 12 June 2020).

Comparisons of all-cause mortality between European countries and regions, January to June 2020, uses weekly all-cause death registration data published by Eurostat. Excess mortality is measured using relative age-standardised mortality rates.

In the UK, every region experienced excess mortality during the highest weeks of excess mortality in April 2020, while other Western European countries experienced more localised excess mortality during their peak weeks of excess mortality.

At the regional level, the highest rates of excess mortality were in regions in Central Spain and Northern Italy. Bergamo (Northern Italy) had the highest peak excess mortality (positive 847.7%, week ending 20 March), compared with the highest in the UK, Brent (positive 357.5%, week ending 17 April).

Looking at major cities, the highest peak excess mortality was in Madrid (positive 432.7%, week ending 27 March) while in the UK, Birmingham had the highest peak excess mortality of any major British city (positive 249.7%, week ending 17 April).

Peaks of excess mortality were geographically localised in the countries of Western Europe

Interactive map showing relative age-standardised mortality rates by week and NUTS3 region of Europe

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28 July 2020

Deaths involving COVID-19 by local area

Following the peak recorded in April 2020, in June 2020 there has been a large decrease in the proportion of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) across all English regions and Wales, as detailed in the Deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation release.

London experienced the largest decrease over the period from having more than one in two deaths in April 2020 that involved COVID-19, to only 1 in 20 deaths in June 2020 that were related to COVID-19.

The South West region continued to have the lowest proportion of COVID-19 deaths in June 2020 with fewer than 1 in 30 deaths involving COVID-19, while the North West had the highest where slightly more than one in eight deaths were COVID-19-related.

Taking into account the size and age structure of the population, there were 88.0 deaths involving COVID-19 per 100,000 people in England and Wales over the period March to June 2020.

Between March and June 2020, London had the highest age-standardised mortality rate with 141.8 deaths involving COVID-19 per 100,000 people; this was statistically significantly higher than any other region in England, and nearly one-third (30.2%) higher than the region with the next highest rate (the North West).

Of the 10 local authorities with the highest age-standardised mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19 over this period, nine were London boroughs; Brent had the highest overall age-standardized rate with 216.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

Rates of deaths involving COVID-19 are also provided by Rural Urban Classification, and by deprivation. In England, the age-standardised mortality rate for deaths involving COVID-19 in the most deprived areas between March and June 2020 was 139.6 deaths per 100,000 people; this was more than double the mortality rate in the least deprived areas (63.4 deaths per 100,000 people).

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24 June 2020

Interactive map of deaths involving COVID-19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread across the vast majority of neighbourhoods in England and Wales. The interactive map allows you to see the number of deaths occurring in the period March to June 2020, where COVID-19 was mentioned as a cause on the death certificate.

The size of the circle represents the number of deaths.

Enter your postcode or interact with the map to see the number of deaths in an area.

Number of deaths involving COVID-19 in Middle Layer Super Output Areas, death occurring between March to June 2020, England and Wales.

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23 June 2020

Deaths involving COVID-19 fell in June

Between 1 March and 31 June 2020, 218,837 deaths occurred in England and Wales. Of these deaths, 50,335 (23%) involved the coronavirus (COVID-19) with 46,736 of these having COVID-19 assigned as the underlying cause of death.

Of the deaths involving COVID-19 that occurred in England and Wales over that time period, there was at least one pre-existing condition in 91.1% of cases; this is a similar level to that shown in March to May. Dementia and Alzheimer disease was the most common main pre-existing condition found among deaths involving COVID-19 and was involved in 12,869 deaths (25.6% of all deaths involving COVID-19).

In June 2020, we continued to see a fall in the amount of deaths involving COVID-19. Mortality rates were down from the levels seen in May with the rate of deaths due to COVID-19 being 53.0 and 47.0 per 100,000 persons in England and Wales respectively; these are the lowest rates since March.

In June, 7.1% of all deaths (2,525 deaths) were due to COVID-19, making it the third most frequent underlying cause of death for the month. This represents a large decrease compared with May, when COVID-19 was the most frequent underlying cause of death and accounted for 21.6% of all deaths.

When looking at the split between the sexes, the rate of death due to COVID-19 fell for both in June. However, males continued to have a higher rate of death than females in England and Wales. The mortality rate for males was 65.1 deaths per 100,000 males compared with 43.3 deaths per 100,000 females.

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14 July 2020

Homeless deaths involving COVID-19

Up to 26 June 2020, 16 deaths involving COVID-19 have been identified as people who were homeless. These were all in England; there were none in Wales.

Most of the deaths were men, with an average age of 58 years. This is considerably lower than the average age of death of people involving COVID-19 in the general population, but higher than the average age of death of men who were homeless in 2018 (which was 45 years).

London and the North West had the highest number of deaths of homeless people. This is consistent with the number of deaths from all causes of people who were homeless in each region in 2018 (the most recent figures available). There is a lag in the production of official estimates of deaths of homeless people because many of the deaths are investigated by the coroner.

In 2018, there were 541 deaths of homeless people identified in England and Wales. The number of deaths involving COVID-19 up to 26 June 2020 is similar in scale to the quarterly average over five years of both alcohol-specified deaths and suicides of homeless people.

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9 July 2020

Characteristics of people testing positive for COVID-19

Emerging evidence suggests that infection rates for COVID-19 are lower in two-person households than in larger households.

Our analysis looks at the potential risk factors associated with those who have ever tested positive for COVID-19 during the period 26 April to 27 June 2020.

It examines whether there is any evidence of differences in infection rates for the following characteristics:

  • age, sex and ethnicity
  • among workers
  • household size
  • symptoms
  • those who had contact with others.

There are many factors that could drive differences in the number of people ever testing positive for COVID-19 by household size.

These include secondary transmission of infection within households, different household structures and households having different contact patterns with people outside of the household.

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3 July 2020

Infections in care homes

A new study looking at the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in 9,081 care homes providing dementia care or care for older people estimates that more than half of care homes (56%) reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 in staff or residents. It is estimated that 20% (95% confidence interval: 19% to 21%) of care home residents and 7% (95% confidence interval: 6% to 8%) of care home staff tested positive for COVID-19, as reported by care home managers, since the start of the pandemic.

The study looked at factors affecting the rate of infection in residents and staff. For residents, we found:

  • for each additional member of infected staff working at the care home, the odds of infection for residents increases by 11% (95% confidence interval: 10% to 11%)
  • care homes using bank or agency nurses or carers most days or every day are more likely to have more cases in residents (odds ratio 1.58, 95% confidence interval: 1.50 to 1.65), compared with care homes that never use bank or agency staff
  • care homes in which staff receive sick pay are less likely to have cases of COVID-19 in residents (odds ratio 0.87, 95% confidence interval: 0.82 to 0.93%), compared with those care homes where staff do not receive sick pay.

The study also reports factors affecting the rate of infection in staff.

For each additional member of infected staff working at a care home, the chance of infection for residents increases by 11%

Odds of care home residents testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) relative to comparison groups, England, 26 May to 20 June 2020

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Notes:
  1. Estimated odds ratios are adjusted for care home size, closure status for new resident admissions, timing of closure to visitors, use of other bank or agency staff, Index of Multiple Deprivation, number of care homes in provider group, whether the care home pays sick pay, care home cleaning level, staff training level, PPE usage, and frequency of staff caring for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 residents.

The study managed to conduct telephone interviews with 5,126 care home managers of 9,081 approached, all with responsibility for providing dementia care or care for the elderly between 26 May and 20 June 2020. The survey gathered information on their staff and residents and each setting.

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3 July 2020

Care home resident deaths

Almost a third of care home resident deaths since the beginning of March 2020 have involved the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Between 2 March and 12 June 2020 (registered up to 20 June 2020), there were 66, 112 deaths of care home residents, of which 19,394 involved COVID-19. This represents 29.3% of all care home resident deaths.

Between 2 March and 12 June 2020, registered up to the 20 June 2020, COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in male care home residents, accounting for 33.5% of all deaths, and the second leading cause of death in female care home residents, after Dementia and Alzheimer disease, accounting for 26.6% of all deaths.

Of deaths involving COVID-19 among care home residents, 74.9% (14,519 deaths) occurred within a care home, and 24.8% (4,810 deaths) occurred within a hospital.

But since mid-April 2020, we have seen a slowdown in both the total number of deaths and deaths involving COVID-19 in care home residents.

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26 June 2020

Deaths involving COVID-19 by occupation

Men working in elementary occupations such as construction workers and cleaners had the highest rate of death involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), compared with people of the same sex and age in England and Wales.

Men working in those jobs had a rate of 39.7 deaths per 100,000 (421 deaths) and the occupation within this group with the highest death rates was security guards, with 74.0 deaths per 100,000 (104 deaths)

Because of the higher number of deaths among men, 17 specific occupations were found to have raised rates of death involving COVID-19, some of which included:

  • taxi drivers and chauffeurs (65.3 deaths per 100,000; 134 deaths)
  • bus and coach drivers (44.2 deaths per 100,000; 53 deaths)
  • chefs (56.8 deaths per 100,000; 49 deaths)
  • sales and retail assistants (34.2 deaths per 100,000; 43 deaths).

Among women, four specific occupations had raised rates including sales and retail assistants (15.7 deaths per 100,000 women; 64 deaths), national government administrative occupations (23.4 deaths per 100,000 women; 22 deaths) and care workers and home carers (25.9 deaths per 100,000 women; 134 deaths).

This analysis covers 4,761 deaths involving COVID-19 among those aged 20 to 64 years in England and Wales. The analysis includes deaths registered between 9 March and 25 May 2020.

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19 June 2020

Deaths involving COVID-19 by religious group

People identifying as Muslim, Jewish or Hindu in England and Wales are more vulnerable to death involving the coronavirus (COVID-19).

When standardised for age, the Muslim religious group had the highest mortality rates at 198.9 deaths per 100,000 males and 98.2 deaths per 100,000 females. People who identified as Jewish, Hindu or Sikh also showed higher mortality rates than other groups.

For males aged 9 to 64 years, those identifying as Muslim have a raised rate of death involving COVID-19 compared with all other religious groups, at 46 deaths per 100,000. Among females, those who identified as Muslim, Sikh or Hindu had higher mortality rates compared with the Christian and no religion populations.

Age-standardised mortality rate of death involving COVID-19 for those aged 9 to 64 years by sex and religious group, England and Wales, 2 March to 15 May 2020

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Notes:
  1. ONS figures based on death registrations up the 29 May that occurred between 2nd March and 15th May which could be linked to the 2011 Census for the COVID-19 rate of death.
  2. Deaths were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10). Deaths involving COVID-19 include those with an underlying cause, or any mention, of ICD-10 codes U07.1 (COVID-19, virus identified) or U07.2 (COVID-19, virus not identified).
  3. Age-standardised rates of death involving COVID-19 can be interpreted as deaths per 100,000 of the population during the period at risk.
  4. Horizontal lines on bars represent 95% confidence intervals.
  5. Due to low counts, rates for those identifying as Buddhist, Jewish and ‘other religion’ are deemed unreliable and are denoted with a *; rates for Jewish and Buddhist females not calculated and are denoted with a ^.

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For males aged 65 years and over, those identifying as Jewish or Muslim have a raised rate of death involving COVID-19 compared with all other religious groups, at 795 deaths per 100,000 and 755 deaths per 100,000 respectively. For females aged 65 years and over, those who identified as Hindu, Muslim or Jewish had a higher rate of death involving COVID-19 compared with all other religious groups.

Age-standardised COVID-19-related mortality rates for those aged 65 years and over by sex and religious group, England and Wales, 2 March to 15 May 2020

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Notes:
  1. ONS figures based on death registrations up the 29 May that occurred between 2nd March and 15th May which could be linked to the 2011 Census.
  2. Deaths were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10). Deaths involving COVID-19 include those with an underlying cause, or any mention, of ICD-10 codes U07.1 (COVID-19, virus identified) or U07.2 (COVID-19, virus not identified).
  3. Age-standardised rates of COVID-19 related death can be interpreted as deaths per 100,000 of the population during the period at risk.
  4. Horizontal lines on bars represent 95% confidence intervals.

Download the data

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19 June 2020

Deaths involving COVID-19 by ethnic group

Males from a Black ethnic background had a higher age-standardised mortality rate (ASMR) of death involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) than those from other ethnic backgrounds.

Their ASMR of death was 2.9 times greater than that of White males.

Analysis also revealed raised death rates among males in Bangladeshi or Pakistani, Indian, and other ethnic groups. Males in these ethnic groups had rates 2.2 times, 1.8 times and 1.9 times higher than those of White ethnic background, respectively.

Females had a lower rate of death involving COVID-19 than males across all ethnic groups, with Black females having less than half the rate of Black males.

The pattern for females was largely like that of males. Females of Black ethnic background had the highest rate of death involving COVID-19, at 119.8 deaths per 100,000. This was 2.3 times higher than that of White females.

All other ethnic groups, other than Chinese, had a statistically significantly raised rate of death compared with White females.

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19 June 2020

Deaths involving COVID-19 by disability status

Disabled females “limited a lot” died from coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths in England and Wales at almost four times the rate of females who were not disabled.

Likewise, disabled males “limited a lot” died at 2.8 times the rate of non-disabled males from COVID-19-related deaths, analysis has revealed.

For those disabled but “limited a little”, the differences were smaller but still statistically significant. Those responding that their day-to-day activities were “limited a lot” or a “limited a little” were classified as disabled for the purposes of this analysis.

Males whose activities were “limited a lot” at the 2011 Census had an all ages standardised mortality rate of death involving COVID-19 of 199.7 deaths per 100,000; for females, the rate was 141.1 deaths per 100,000. The equivalent rates for males and females not disabled in 2011 were 70.2 and 35.6 deaths per 100,000 respectively.

After adjusting for region, population density, and socio-demographic and household characteristics, the contrast in rates between those “limited a lot” and not disabled was 2.4 times greater for females and 1.9 times greater for males.

It is likely that the number of people who are recorded as having an activity-limiting condition is now an underestimate, because those not limited in 2011 may have developed a long-term health condition over the past nine years that limits their activities or any existing health condition may have worsened in severity causing them to become limited, changing their disability status.

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