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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

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Data on student satisfaction with academic and social experiences (XLSX, 11KB)

Read more about this in Coronavirus and third year higher education students: England, 29 November to 20 December 2021

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Infections down in all regions except North East and South West

21 January 2022

All regions of England apart from the North East and South West saw a decrease in the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rate in the week ending 15 January 2022.

The trends were uncertain the North East and the South West in the latest week.

Around 1 in 10 people (8.41%) in the North East of England tested positive for COVID-19 in the week ending 15 January 2022, the highest rate among regions of England. The South West had the lowest rate, with an estimated 3.71% of people testing positive.

By age, the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 decreased in all age groups in England apart from those aged 2 years to school Year 6, where the infection rate increased.

The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 decreased in the majority of English regions

Modelled daily percentage of the population testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs by region, England, 5 December 2021 to 15 January 2022

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Data for estimates of people testing positive in regions of England (XLSX, 71KB)

The estimated number of people living in private households (not in hospitals, care homes and/or other communal establishments) that had COVID-19 in the most recent week was:

  • England – 2,984,200 people (1 in 20)

  • Wales – 112,100 people (1 in 25)

  • Northern Ireland – 104,300 people (1 in 20)

  • Scotland – 236,600 people (1 in 20)

To ensure our latest estimates are available at the earliest opportunity during this period of high infections of COVID-19, we will be publishing early headline results on Wednesdays. Our latest headline results were published on Wednesday 19 January 2022.

Explore the latest insights on coronavirus infections

Read the latest bulletin on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey

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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.

Explore the latest insights on lifestyle involving coronavirus

Read the latest Retail Sales, Great Britain: December 2021

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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.

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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%).

Read the latest bulletin on Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain

Explore the latest insights on lifestyles

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Coronavirus drops to fourth leading cause of death

21 January 2022

Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the fourth leading cause of death in December 2021 in both England and Wales. This accounted for 5.4% of all deaths in December 2021 in England and 5.2% of all deaths in Wales in the same month.

In November 2021, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in both countries, accounting for 6.6% of all deaths in England and 9.0% in Wales.

The age-standardised mortality rate (ASMR) of deaths due to COVID-19 in December dropped significantly in England and Wales compared with the previous month to 56.3 deaths per 100,000 people and 59.3 deaths per 100,00 people respectively.

In December 2021, the ASMR for deaths in England due to COVID-19 significantly decreased for both males (73.7 deaths per 100,000 males) and females (42.3 deaths per 100,000 females), compared with November 2021.

In Wales, there was also a decrease in December 2021 in the ASMR for deaths due to COVID-19. It decreased significantly in males compared with November 2021 (64.5 deaths per 100,000 males); it also decreased in females (56.6 deaths per 100,000), but this was not considered statistically significant.

Explore the latest insights on deaths involving coronavirus

Read the latest Monthly mortality analysis bulletin for December 2021

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Infections decrease in England, Wales and Scotland

19 January 2022

Early estimates suggest around 1 in 20 people in England would have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in the week to 15 January 2022.

During this period of high infections, we are publishing headline results of the Coronavirus Infection Survey two days early. These are subject to change as more data comes in but are based on an acceptable number of tests.

The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 decreased in England, Wales and Scotland, while the trend in Northern Ireland was uncertain in the latest week.

COVID-19 infections compatible with the Omicron variant continue to be the most dominant across all UK countries.

The estimated number of people living in private households (not in hospitals, care homes and/or other communal establishments) that had COVID-19 in the most recent week was:

  • England – 2,984,200 people (1 in 20)

  • Wales – 112,100 people (1 in 25)

  • Northern Ireland – 104,300 people (1 in 20)

  • Scotland – 236,600 people (1 in 20)

COVID-19 infections decreased in England, Wales and Scotland in the week ending 15 January 2022

Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs, UK, 17 January 2021 to 15 January 2022

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More detailed breakdowns for this period will continue to be published on Fridays.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) reinfection risk higher in Omicron-dominant period

19 January 2022

The estimated coronavirus (COVID-19) reinfection rate in the UK has increased, likely driven by the Omicron variant.

Reinfections of COVID-19 occurred at an estimated rate of 20.8 per 100,000 participant days at risk in the period to 9 January 2022. This is an increase from 12.7 reinfections per 100,000 participant days at risk in the period up to 1 December 2021. The risk of reinfection during the Omicron-dominant period (20 December 2021 onwards) was 16 times higher than in the Delta-dominant period (between May and December 2021).

Participant days at risk refer to the number of days a positive test result would count as a reinfection. Further explanation is available in the main bulletin on the characteristics of people testing positive for COVID-19.

Reinfections with a high viral load increased in the latest period, again likely driven by the Omicron variant. During the Omicron-dominant period, those reinfected with COVID-19 were just as likely to have symptoms in their second infection as their first.

People who were unvaccinated were around twice as likely to be reinfected than those who had their second vaccine 14 to 89 days ago. People who had their second vaccine more than 90 days ago were also more likely to be reinfected.

In the fortnight ending 31 December 2021, people who received one COVID-19 vaccine, a second Pfizer vaccine 15 to 180 days ago, or any three vaccines (including boosters) were less likely to test positive, as were those who had been infected with COVID-19 previously.

People who had a third vaccine or second Pfizer vaccine 15 to 180 days ago continued to be less likely to test positive for COVID-19

Estimated likelihood of testing positive for coronavirus on nose and throat swabs by vaccination status and previous infection, UK, 18 to 31 December 2021

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People living in deprived areas, those who work outside of their home and people working in the hospitality sector were all more likely to test positive.

Between 9 and 31 December 2021, people with Omicron-compatible infections were substantially less likely than people with Delta-compatible infections to report loss of taste or loss of smell.

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Price of food pushes up inflation

19 January 2022

Consumer prices rose by 4.8% in the 12 months to December 2021, according to the lead measure of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH). This is up from 4.6% in the year to November 2021.

Annual inflation rates at this time are influenced by the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020. Our blog post, Beware Base Effects, describes how price movements for some items during that period influence current inflation rates.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) also rose to 5.4% in December 2021 from 5.1% in November 2021. A wide range of prices contributed to the rise in the 12-month inflation rate, with the largest upward contribution to the change in the 12-month rate coming from food and non-alcoholic beverages, with eight of the nine food groups providing an upwards contribution.

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UK coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths rose in the first week of 2022

18 January 2022

The number of deaths in the UK involving coronavirus (COVID-19) rose in the first week of 2022. However, registrations have been affected by bank holidays over the Christmas and New Year period.

In the week ending 7 January 2022, there were 1,023 deaths involving COVID-19 in the UK, 383 more than in the previous week. This accounted for around 1 in every 14 deaths (7.3%).

There were 13,886 total deaths registered in the UK in the first week of 2022, which was 8.3% below the five-year average.

The number of deaths involving COVID-19 rose in both England and Wales in the week ending 7 January 2022.

Between 13 March 2020 and 7 January 2022, there have been 127,704 excess deaths above the five-year average in England and Wales; of these, 122,467 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.

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North West has almost 10% coronavirus (COVID-19) positivity

14 January 2022

The North West of England has the highest percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

In the week ending 6 January 2022, 9.81% of people in the North West tested positive for COVID-19 , whereas the lowest percentage of people testing positive was in the South West, with 4.18% of the population testing positive.

During this period, the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 continued to increase across all regions of England, except London and the East of England.

In the East of England, the percentage testing positive continued to increase in the two weeks up to 6 January 2022, but the trend was uncertain in the most recent week. In London, the percentage of people testing positive decreased in the most recent week.

The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 was highest in the North West in the week ending 6 January 2022

Modelled daily percentage of the population testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs by region, England, 26 November 2021 to 6 January 2022

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Data for the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus by English region (XLSX, 73KB)

The estimated number of people living in private households (not in hospitals, care homes and/or other communal establishments) that had COVID-19 in the most recent week was:

  • England – 3,735,000 people (1 in 15)
  • Wales – 169,100 people (1 in 20)
  • Northern Ireland – 99,200 people (1 in 20)
  • Scotland – 297,400 people (1 in 20)

To ensure our latest estimates are available at the earliest opportunity during this period of high infections of COVID-19, we will be publishing early headline results on Wednesdays. Our latest headline results were published on Wednesday 12 January 2022.

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More than 96% of the population have COVID-19 antibodies

13 January 2022

In England, it is estimated that 97.5% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 97.0% to 97.9%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the week beginning 20 December 2021.

In Wales, an estimated 96.8% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 95.9% to 97.5%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the same week.

In Northern Ireland, it is estimated that 97.4% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 96.0% to 98.2%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the same week.

In Scotland, it is estimated that 97.7% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 97.1% to 98.2%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the same week.

Academic research on antibody thresholds using data from when the Delta variant was the dominant strain indicate that a higher threshold of antibodies is needed to provide protection from new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections for those who are vaccinated.

It is estimated that more than 88% of the population had antibodies at or above the higher threshold.

The COVID-19 vaccination booster programme was likely leading the rapid increase in antibodies above the higher threshold seen in older age groups.

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3% of workers absent because of coronavirus in late December

13 January 2022

In late December 2021, approximately 3% of the workforce were estimated to be on sick leave or not working because of coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, self-isolation or quarantine. This is the highest the figure has been since comparable estimates began in June 2020.

The other service activities industry, which includes hairdressing and other beauty treatments, reported the highest absence levels (7%) in late December 2021. The accommodation and food service activities industry also reported high absence levels (6%), driven by the accommodation sub-industry.

These industries also saw the largest movement in percentages from early to late December 2021, increasing by 5 and 4 percentage points respectively.

Approximately 57% of the workforce were estimated to be working from a designated workspace (that is, not from home) in late December 2021. This estimate is down from 60% reported in early December 2021 and is also the lowest proportion reported since the response option was introduced in early October 2021.

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Glossary

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User requests

We continue to respond to data requests from the public, media and government during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Responses are published in our list of user requested data.

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View all data used in this article

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