Steve April 15, 2021

By The Visual and Data Journalism Team

BBC News

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There have been over 4.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 127,000 people have died, government figures show.

However, these figures include only people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus.

More than 35 million people in the UK have now had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Find out how the pandemic has affected your area and how it compares with the national average:

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Cases have declined

The average number of new daily cases in the UK has fallen substantially since the start of the year, but the rate of decline has slowed in recent weeks.

A further 1,770 confirmed cases in the UK were announced by the government on Sunday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that while the UK continues to make progress against Covid, the majority of scientific experts believe there will be another wave at some stage this year.

It is thought the infection rate in the first peak last spring was much higher than was evident from the reported number of cases. Testing capacity was too limited to detect the true number of daily cases.

The government recently changed the way cases in England were reported. Cases that were identified using a lateral flow test have been removed if the person subsequently took a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test – for which swabs are sent to a lab for analysis – and tested negative within three days.

The orange and darker blue areas on the map below show the places currently seeing the highest number of cases per 100,000 people.

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All nations in the UK have been easing restrictions on everyday life in recent weeks. You can use our postcode look-up to check what the rules are where you live.

Vaccine rollout continues

More than 35 million people – or over half of all UK adults – have now received a first dose of a vaccine and 17 million people have had a second.

In total, more than 29.5 million people in England have had one vaccine dose.

In Scotland, nearly three million people have had their first dose, while the figure is more than 1.9 million in Wales and more than 970,000 in Northern Ireland.

More second doses are being given than first doses now, as people in earlier priority groups receive their booster injections.

First vaccines are now being offered to people below the age of 50.

People aged 40 and above in England, over 30s in Northern Ireland, those aged 45 and above in Scotland and the over 40s in Wales are all being invited to book appointments.

All adults in the UK are expected to be offered their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of July.

However, the government has announced that those under the age of 40 will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, after evidence linking the vaccine to rare blood clots.

Daily deaths falling

A further two deaths in the UK within 28 days of a positive test were reported on Sunday.

Both deaths were in England, with none reported in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Rules were amended last summer to include deaths 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 more than 112,000.

Situation improving in hospitals

The most recent government figures show 1,152 people with coronavirus in hospital in the UK.

Numbers in mid-January reached almost double the highest point of the peak last spring, but have been falling since then.

London, the South East and the Midlands saw the highest numbers in the winter peak, but patient numbers have fallen in all UK nations and regions in recent months.

Everywhere saw more patients in hospital in the winter surge than during the first wave last spring.

Death toll could be above 150,000

When looking at the overall death toll from coronavirus, official figures count deaths in three different ways, each giving a slightly different number.

First, government figures count people who died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus – and that total is now approaching 128,000.

According to the latest ONS figures, the UK has now seen more than 151,000 deaths – that’s all those deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate even if the person had not been tested for the virus.

The third measure counts all deaths over and above the usual number at the time of year – that figure was more than 118,000 by 23 April.

In total, there were 11,349 deaths registered in the week to 23 April – lower than usual levels. Of the total deaths, 290 were related to coronavirus – down by 112 on the previous week. This is the lowest since September last year when 234 deaths involving coronavirus were registered.

There have now been more deaths involving Covid than “excess” deaths, which means non-Covid deaths must be below usual levels.

This could be because of a milder flu season – resulting from less travel and more social distancing – and because some people who might have died for other reasons had there been no pandemic, died of Covid.

What is the R number?

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 government has said in the past that the R number is one of the most important factors in making policy decisions.

However, it is harder to estimate the R number when cases are at a low level and therefore the government is not currently producing a figure for the UK as a whole.

The latest estimate for England, Scotland and Wales is 0.8 to 1.0. In Northern Ireland it is 0.7 to 1.05.

from the BBC

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