The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus in England has continued to increase in the most recent week for which the Office for National Statistics has released figures, 8th 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.
These statistics refer to infections reported in the community, by which is meant private households. These figures exclude infections reported in hospitals, care homes and/or other institutional settings.
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The ONS says that this 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.
More than a third of deaths in England involved COVID-19 in the week ending 8th 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.
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.
ONS 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.
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.
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 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.
Read more here about the data released by the Office of National Statistics showing that the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus in England has continued to increase in the most recent week for which the Office for National Statistics has released figures, 8th January 2021.