Only 6 of 315 areas of England have had a fall in COVID cases

Emily Cleary
·3-min read
Medics transport a patient from an ambulance to the Royal London Hospital as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in London, Britain, January 2, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has declared a 'major incident' as the capital's hospitals face being overwhelmed (REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

As the new variant of coronavirus continues to spread across the UK, new data suggests the scale of the problem is so grave the virus is in decline in only a fraction of areas in England.

Only West Devon, North Devon, West Lindsey and Boston in Lincolnshire, Richmond upon Thames in London, and Hastings in East Sussex have seen a fall in infection numbers according to the latest data published on gov.uk.

The figures, for the seven days to 3 January (the latest dates for which full data is available) are based on tests carried out in laboratories and in the wider community.

Barking & Dagenham in London continues to have the highest rate in England, with 3,331 new cases recorded in the seven days to 3 January – the equivalent of 1,564.5 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up from 1,147.0 in the seven days to December 27.

Government data on Friday (gov.uk)
Coronavirus cases continue to rise across Great Britain according to the latest government data (gov.uk)

Thurrock in Essex has the second highest rate, up from 1,314.1 to 1,494.2, with 2,605 new cases.

Redbridge in London is in third place, where the rate has increased from 1,191.9 to 1,467.1 with 4,478 new cases.

Data published by the Office for National Statistics on Friday revealed that one in every 50 people in England is infected with coronavirus.

In London the figure is one in every 30 and mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a ‘major incident’ as the capital’s hospitals face becoming overwhelmed.

Khan suggested the figure could be closer to one in 20 in some boroughs.

Government data on Friday (gov.uk)
The new variant of coronavirus is rising across England, most prominently in London and the East of England (gov.uk)

A major incident is any emergency that requires the implementation of special arrangements by one or all of the emergency services, the NHS or the local authority.

It means the emergency services and hospitals cannot guarantee their normal level of response.

Government data on Friday (gov.uk)
Government figures show a sharp rise in the number of cases of coronavirus in England (gov.uk)

Currently, there are more than 7,000 people in London hospitals with COVID-19, the mayor said.

This is a 35% increase compared to last April's peak of the pandemic, he added.

Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, a senior intensive care registrar at Royal London Hospital, tweeted: "We tried. We really tried. NHS staff pleaded with people that Christmas is not worth it. Now one in 30 people in London have COVID and ICUs are overwhelmed. My heart is broken."

Ambulances are parked outside NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCeL centre following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain January 2, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Ambulances are parked outside NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCeL centre as a 'major incident' is declared in London due to the number of coronavirus cases (REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Figures published by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on Friday put the R rate for the whole of the UK between 1.0 and 1.4 meaning that, on average, every 10 people with COVID-19 will infect between 10 and 14 other people.

The most recent R, recorded 16 days ago, was between 1.1 and 1.3.

The latest R of between 1.0 and 1.4 means that on average, every 10 people with COVID-19 will infect between 10 and 14 other people.

Since then, the new coronavirus variant has caused record daily infections and record hospitalisations. On Thursday, the second highest daily death toll of 1,162 was recorded. All four nations are under national lockdowns.

Watch: What you can and can’t do during England’s third national lockdown