Latest COVID-19 headlines
- COVID-19 infections continue to fall in England, Wales and Scotland
- Double vaccinated less likely to report long COVID
- Risk of COVID-19 death higher for most ethnic minority groups
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COVID-19 infections continue to fall in England, Wales and Scotland
26 January 2022
The percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased in all UK countries, apart from Northern Ireland.
Early estimates for the week ending 22 January 2022 show the trend in people testing positive in Northern Ireland was uncertain.
An estimated 96,500 people in Northern Ireland had COVID-19 equating to around 1 in 20 people.
Estimates for the other devolved nations in the UK in the week ending 22 January 2022:
- England – an estimated 2,629,400 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 20 people.
- Wales – an estimated 99,500 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 30 people.
- Scotland – an estimated 163,600 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 30 people.
The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 continued to decrease in England, Wales and Scotland in the week ending 22 January 2022
Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for COVID-19 on nose and throat swabs, UK, 16 January 2021 to 22 January 2022
Early estimates for the week ending 22 January 2022 show a continued increase for those in the number of children in England testing positive for COVID-19 for children aged 2 years to school Year 6 and an increase for those in school Year 7 to Year 11.
The percentage of people testing positive decreased for all other age groups in the most recent week.
These early estimates are provisional and are subject to change as we receive more data
Double vaccinated less likely to report long COVID
26 January 2022
Those who have received two doses of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination appear less likely to develop long COVID symptoms than those who are unvaccinated when infected.
Receiving a second dose at least two weeks before infection was associated with a 41.1% decrease in the likelihood of self-reported long COVID at least 12 weeks later.
These results come from a sample of UK adults aged 18 to 69 years where comparisons are made between vaccinated and unvaccinated participants with similar socio-demographic characteristics.
Receiving two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine before infection was associated with a 41% decrease in the odds of reporting long COVID symptoms
Adjusted odds ratios for self-reported long COVID (any severity and activity-limiting) at least 12 weeks after infection, comparing matched study participants who were double-vaccinated with a matched control group who were unvaccinated (reference group) at the time of infection, UK: 26 April 2020 to 30 November 2021
This analysis was based on data to 30 November 2021 and does not assess the impact of booster doses and the Omicron variant. Also, the observational nature of the analysis means that we cannot say whether COVID-19 vaccination caused subsequent changes in the likelihood of self-reported long COVID.
Long COVID symptoms were reported by 9.5% of double-vaccinated participants, compared with 14.6% of participants who were unvaccinated when infected. Estimates for long COVID symptoms severe enough to limit day-to-day activities were 5.5% and 8.7% respectively.
Almost four in five COVID-19 cases adhere to self-isolation
26 January 2022
The majority (79%) of respondents who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) fully adhered to self-isolation requirements, broadly in line with the levels reported for November (75%) and December 2021 (74%).
Adherence to self-isolation requirements was lower between the onset of symptoms and receiving a positive test result (76%), compared with the 24 hours following a positive result (97%) and the remainder of the self-isolation period (91%).
The data, collected between 4 and 8 January 2022, also show that 26% of respondents had difficulty accessing COVID-19 tests.
A quarter (25%) of those who were not retired lost income as a result of isolating, and 17% reported that self-isolating meant they are likely to lose their job or miss out on work.
Approximately one-third (34%) of those who tested positive reported that self-isolation had a negative effect on their well-being and mental health.
Risk of COVID-19 death higher for most ethnic minority groups
26 January 2022
During the third wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (13 June 2021 to 1 December 2021), the risk of death involving COVID-19 was higher for people from all ethnic minority groups except for Chinese men and women, men from the “Mixed” group, and women from the “White other” group.
During this period, the Bangladeshi group had the highest rate of death involving COVID-19; the rate was 5.2 times higher than the rate seen in the White British group for females and 4.4 times higher for males.
In the third wave, the risk of death involving COVID-19 was highest for the Bangladeshi group
Hazard ratios of death involving COVID-19 by ethnic group and sex, England: 13 June 2021 to 1 December 2021
Location, measures of disadvantage, occupation, living arrangements, pre-existing health conditions and vaccination status accounted for a large proportion of the excess risk of COVID-19 death involving COVID-19 in most ethnic minority groups.
This new analysis of the period since the vaccination programme began shows that the lower vaccination coverage in some ethnic groups also contributes to the elevated risk of death involving COVID-19, particularly in the Black African and Black Caribbean groups.
Coronavirus antibodies increasing in children
26 January 2022
In the week beginning 3 January 2022, an estimated 88% to 92% of children aged 12 to 15 years would have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) antibodies.
The percentage of children aged 8 to 11 years who would have tested positive for antibodies in the same week was between 38% and 60%. Children under 12 years are not currently eligible for vaccination, so antibodies in this age group are most likely a result of previous infection.
The percentage of children who would test positive for COVID-19 antibodies is increasing
Modelled percentage of children in private households with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and number of COVID-19 vaccinations reported, by age group, UK countries, 29 November 2021 to 9 January 2022
Antibody levels remain high among the UK adult population. An estimated 98% of people aged 16 years and over in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland would have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in the week beginning 3 January 2022. In Wales 97% of adults would have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
This week, we have also reported antibody positivity levels based on a higher antibody threshold, which reflects a higher concentration of antibodies, and therefore a strong protection against developing COVID-19.
In the week beginning 3 January 2022, between 94.1% to 96.3% of the adult population across the UK would have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies at or above the higher antibody threshold with the booster programme likely leading to the rapid increases in antibodies above this threshold seen in older age groups.
One in ten UK deaths involved COVID-19
25 January 2022
The number of deaths in the UK involving coronavirus (COVID-19) rose in the second week of 2022. Deaths registered in this week were affected by the New Year’s Day Bank holiday.
In the week ending 14 January 2022, there were 1,557 deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK, 534 more than in the previous week. This accounted for around one in every 10 deaths (10.2%).
There were 15,257 total deaths registered in the UK in the second week of 2022, which was 5.3% below the five-year average.
The number of deaths involving COVID-19 rose in both England and Wales in the week ending 14 January 2022.
Between 13 March 2020 and 14 January 2022, there have been 126,831 excess deaths above the five-year average in England and Wales; of these, 121,596 were in England, and 6,520 were in Wales.
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.
- Explore the latest insights on COVID-19 and deaths
- Read the latest bulletin on deaths registered in England and Wales
Third-year students’ academic performance impacted by pandemic
24 January 2022
About two in three third-year or higher students in England (67%) said that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a “major” or “significant” impact on their academic performance, when asked between 29 November and 20 December 2021.
This figure is higher than the 48% of the total student population that felt their academic performance had been impacted by the pandemic (when asked between 19 and 29 November 2021).
Almost 6 in 10 (58%) third-year or higher students said they felt less likely to achieve their academic goals because of the pandemic. While around two-thirds (67%) of third-year or higher students said that the pandemic had impacted how prepared they felt for their next steps after finishing their course.
The proportion of current third-year or higher students who reported being satisfied with their social experiences increased from 14% in the academic year ending 2021 to 41% in the academic year ending 2022. However, this figure remains significantly lower than the 50% during the academic year ending 2020.
Satisfaction with social experiences for third-year or higher students is yet to return to pre-coronavirus levels
Third-year or higher students' satisfaction with academic and social experiences, England, 29 November to 20 December 2021
- Read more about this in Coronavirus and third year higher education students: England, 29 November to 20 December 2021
Retail sales volumes fall at fastest rate in 11 months in December 2021
21 January 2022
Retail sales volumes fell by 3.7% in December 2021, the largest monthly fall since January 2021 (negative 8.3%) but remained 2.6% higher than their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels. This followed growth of 1.0% in November 2021 (revised down from 1.4%).
In non-food stores, sales volumes fell by 7.1% in December 2021 because of falls in each of its sub-sectors: clothing stores (8.0%), department stores (6.3%), household goods stores (3.2%) and other non-food stores (8.9%), which includes retailers such as sports equipment, games and toy stores. The Omicron variant of COVID-19, which increased rapidly during December 2021, was reported by some retailers as impacting retail footfall, and thus sales.
Food sales volumes fell by 1.0% over the month, while non-store retailing fell by 0.3%. Automotive fuel sales volumes fell by 4.7% in December 2021. This may be because of increased home working and reduced travel following England’s move to Plan B restrictions.
The value of online spending fell by 1.8% in December 2021. Despite this fall, the proportion of online sales rose slightly to 26.6% in December 2021, from 26.3% in November 2021.
More people working from home than before Plan B
21 January 2022
About one in four (26%) working adults were working exclusively from home during the latest Opinions and Lifestyle Survey period from 6 to 16 January 2022. This figure has increased from 14% during the 1 to 12 December 2021 period, before the introduction of Plan B measures.
The proportion reporting they had both worked from home and travelled to work in the past seven days was 8% in the latest period, down from 18% in the period prior to Plan B measures.
Around 6 in 10 adults (61%) said they had taken a rapid lateral flow test in the past seven days (42% in the period prior to Plan B measures). Usage was higher among younger age groups.
Around one in five (22%) adults said they had difficulty getting a rapid lateral flow test. Among those, the most common places they experienced difficulties were the government website for delivery by mail (68%) and in pharmacies (60%).