Coronavirus in the UK: How many confirmed cases are there in your area? – BBC News

People in Birmingham city centre on Sunday 23 August - the city has been added to a watch list as an "area of enhanced support"

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There have been more than 320,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far in the UK and about 41,000 people have died, government figures show.

However, these figures include only people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus and other measures suggest the number of deaths is higher.

Find out how the pandemic has affected your area and how it compares with the national average. Figures last updated 21 August.

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Deaths are death registrations where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. Source: ONS, NRS and NISRA – England, Wales and Northern Ireland updated weekly. Scotland updated monthly. Although the numbers of deaths per 100,000 people shown in the charts above have not been weighted to account for variations in demography between local authorities, the virus is known to affect disproportionately older people, BAME people, and people from more deprived households or employed in certain occupations.

Cases include positive tests of people in hospital and healthcare workers (Pillar 1) and people tested in the wider population (Pillar 2). Public health bodies may occasionally revise their case numbers. Average is a median average of rates per area in each UK nation. Source: UK public health bodies – updated weekdays.

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Rise in new cases amid concern over hotspots

Daily confirmed cases began edging up again in July – after falling significantly from their April peak – as lockdown restrictions imposed in March were eased.

On Sunday, the government said there had been 1,041 newly-confirmed cases.

In July, the rise in cases was partly due to the increase in testing – if you are testing more, you are likely to find more cases. But the number of tests being processed each day has plateaued since the beginning of August, according to government data.

The most recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which surveys a sample of households in England for current infections, suggests there was a small increase in the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 in July, but this appears to have now levelled off.

Coronavirus will be present “forever in some form or another”, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has said.

Sir Mark Walport told the BBC that people would need to be vaccinated at regular intervals to keep the disease in check.

Where are the UK’s coronavirus hotspots?

There are several local hotspots in the UK which have seen a spike in cases since the nationwide lockdown ended.

Public Health England produce a weekly watchlist of areas of concern, based on an assessment of incidence rates, and other indicators such as trends in testing, healthcare activity and deaths.

Birmingham and Northampton are the latest areas to be added to the list, while restrictions already in place in Oldham, Pendle and Blackburn have been tightened. Wigan, Darwen and Rossendale have now been dropped from the list after the situation improved in all three.

In Scotland, a lockdown in Aberdeen has been extended for another week.

Decline in daily deaths continues

While the number of new confirmed cases of coronavirus has been rising again recently, government-announced deaths have continued to fall since a peak in mid-April.

On Sunday, the government reported six further deaths – four in England and two in Wales.

Earlier this month, the government’s death toll in England was reduced by 5,340 following a review of the way coronavirus deaths are counted.

New rules mean deaths anywhere in the UK are included in the coronavirus total only if they occurred within 28 days of a positive test. Previously in England, all deaths after a positive test were included.

England has seen the majority of UK deaths from Covid-19. Using the 28-day cut-off, there have been just under 37,000.

Overall death toll could be more than 60,000

When looking at the overall death toll from coronavirus, official figures count deaths in three different ways.

Government figures count people who tested positive for coronavirus and died within 28 days.

But the ONS publishes weekly updates using two other measures.

The first includes all deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, even if the person had not been tested for the virus. Tuesday’s figures suggest there had been more than 56,000 deaths by 7 August.

The ONS also looks at all UK deaths over and above the number usually expected for the time of year – known as excess deaths. The latest figure for this measure shows the death toll was below 64,000 by 7 August.

In recent weeks, figures used in this third measure have been falling.

This is because the number of deaths from all causes registered in a single week – including coronavirus – has now stayed below the five-year average for eight weeks in a row.

Of the deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to 7 August, 152 involved coronavirus, or just 1.7% of the total of 8,945.

The government has argued it is too soon to make definitive international comparisons but, as the impact of the first wave becomes clear, analysis is beginning to suggest the UK has been one of the hardest hit countries.

Figures released by the ONS at the end of July showed that England had the highest levels of excess deaths in Europe between the end of February and the middle of June.

Some areas of Spain and Italy were harder hit than UK cities. But ONS analysis shows the epidemic in the UK was more widespread than in other countries. Scotland saw the third highest death rate in Europe – behind England and Spain. Wales was in fifth place and Northern Ireland in eighth.

What is the R number in the UK?

The “R number” is the average number of people an infected person will pass the disease on to.

If R is below one, then the number of people contracting the disease will fall; if it is above one, the number will grow.

The current estimate by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, known as Sage, for the R number across the whole of the UK is between 0.9 and 1.1.

The estimate for England is between 0.9 and 1.0, while for Scotland it is between 0.8 and 1.2. The estimate for Wales is 0.8-1.0 and in Northern Ireland it is 1.0-1.6.

The government has said in the past that the R number is one of the most important factors in making policy decisions, but Sage now says these estimates are less reliable and less useful because the number of cases is relatively low.