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Data Focus: Lockdown effects increasingly evident as COVID case rates fall significantly

As another week passes, the effects of England's lockdown are really becoming evident through recent falls of Coronavirus case rates.

According to data analysis by The Speaker, Coronavirus case rates decreased in all upper-tier local authority (UTLA) areas in England (except Barnsley) in the 7-day period ending 26 January, compared to the previous 7-day period. 

It's not just England where cases have been falling, with cases also having fallen during January in all 4 UK nations (see graph above). There is also positive news on the vaccine front, with approximately 12.5% of the UK population having now received their first dose of a Coronavirus vaccine.

The number of deaths in the UK attributed to COVID-19 does though remain tragically high. 105,571 people in the UK are confirmed to have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test and while the number of people dying each day appears to be falling slowly, daily numbers of reported deaths still remain high, with a further 1,200 deaths reported on Saturday. 

Click through the slides above for some key data and graphs, or read more analysis below based on the latest Coronavirus data.


The 20 UTLA areas with the highest prevalence of COVID-19 cases

The following upper-tier local authority areas in England had the highest rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period ending 26 January 2021.

UTLA Area Cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people
Knowsley 684.73
Slough 638.63
Sandwell 615.01
St. Helens 567.05
Brent 544.32
Luton 536.02
Ealing 529.54
Wolverhampton 519.45
Hounslow 515.61
Walsall 514.93
Blackburn with Darwen 496.34
Halton 489.92
Barking and Dagenham 488.95
Hillingdon 484.57
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 475.04
Peterborough 473.16
Reading 469.16
Newham 466.96
Dudley 464.25
Harrow 447.92



The 20 UTLA areas with the lowest prevalence of COVID-19 cases

The following upper-tier local authority areas in England had the lowest rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period ending 26 January 2021.

UTLA Area Cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people
North East Lincolnshire 90.87
Devon 94.10
North Lincolnshire 112.02
Torbay 151.18
Gloucestershire 154.14
Plymouth 162.53
Herefordshire, County of 165.97
North Yorkshire 170.05
East Riding of Yorkshire 171.47
Rutland 175.32
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 177.15
Northumberland 185.77
Kingston upon Hull, City of 188.24
Wiltshire 191.79
North Somerset 194.84
Gateshead 195.00
Lincolnshire 196.79
Swindon 197.13
North Tyneside 204.89
Cheshire East 206.43



This week's data is mostly positive, with significantly fewer people testing positive for COVID-19. In many of the worst affected areas, case rates have fallen significantly over the period of data displayed. In the 7-day period ending 18 January, there had been multiple areas with case rates above 700, 800, 900 and even 1000 cases per 100,000 people. This week, the highest case rate in the country is 684.7 per 100,000 people - a significant decrease in 7 days.

England's 7-day case rate remains the highest in the UK, though has still been continuing to fall. In Scotland and Wales, the Coronavirus case rates are now well below 200 cases per 100,000 people.

The significant falls in case rates indicate that lockdown easing could perhaps happen sooner rather than later. However, with the NHS still facing significant pressure and death figures remaining high, ministers will be cautious to avoid putting any extra strain on the health service and will not want to risk cases spiralling out of control once again.

When Boris Johnson sets out his plan for easing lockdown measures on 22 February, the reopening of society can still be expected to be phased, despite the falling case rates. However, hospital admissions, deaths and the effects of the vaccines in reducing these in the coming weeks are likely to be key factors in deciding exactly how phased the easing of lockdown measures will be.


Data referenced in this article is publicly available from Where data is only included up to 26 January, this is to try to ensure accuracy, due to there being a delay between virus tests taking place and cases been recorded. Data may be updated - the inclusion of data here and our analysis is based on the available data at the time of writing. Our analysis has been created for information purposes only and we cannot guarantee its accuracy. 


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