This page contains data and analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from 17 to 21 August 2020. Go to our live page for the most up-to-date insights on COVID-19.

21 August 2020

Monthly mortality analysis

We have published provisional monthly mortality data for England and Wales.

Our analysis shows that in July 2020 there were 38,179 deaths registered in England and 2,548 registered in Wales. Both numbers are higher than the five-year average for July (2015 to 2019) with England seeing 576 more deaths than average and Wales 69 more.

The number of deaths in July 2020 is above the five-year average despite the number of deaths registered in each separate week of July being below the five-year average for that specific week. This is because deaths are usually registered on a weekday, and July 2020 contained one more weekday (Monday to Friday) than July in most of the years making up the five-year average.

The leading cause of death in England for July 2020 was Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which accounted for 10.6% of all deaths in England. In Wales, Ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause, accounting for 11.7% of all deaths in Wales. The coronavirus (COVID-19) was the eighth most frequent cause of death in England with 976 but it did not feature at all in the top ten causes in Wales.

Our analysis also shows that 330,590 deaths occurred in England so far in 2020 (registered up to 8 August) and 20,967 in Wales. These figures are both above the five-year average, with England being 35,123 above the average and Wales 1,096 above. In the first seven months of the year (January to July), COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death in 13.7% of all deaths in England that were registered by 8 August, and 10.8% of all deaths in Wales (45,439 and 2,274 deaths respectively).

Please note that some of the metrics used are slightly different to what we have published before. The main differences for statistics relating to COVID-19 are:

  • the new publication only focuses on deaths “due to” COVID (underlying cause of death only, not including where COVID is mentioned anywhere else on the death certificate)
  • most of the analysis is by month of death registration (deaths registered in July 2020), rather than month of death occurrence (deaths that happened in July 2020) – this is the opposite of the Deaths involving COVID-19 publication

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21 August 2020

Retail sales surpass pre-pandemic peak

The volume of retail sales is now 3.0% higher than before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, having increased by 3.6% on a monthly basis in July 2020.

While total sales have now recovered, the pandemic has changed the shape of the retail industry with some sectors yet to fully bounce back.

Sharp growth in fuel and non-food sales (26.2% and 10.0% respectively) helped drive the overall increase in retail in July, but sales in both sectors remained well below levels seen before the lockdown in February.

In particular, clothing sales – worst hit during the pandemic – were still 25.7% lower than they were in February.

Food sales and non-store retailing remained comfortably higher than before the pandemic, despite seeing slight contractions in July.

Clothing sales remain much lower than before the pandemic, despite the overall recovery

Volume sales, seasonally adjusted, Great Britain, February to July 2020

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One of the biggest changes brought about by the pandemic has been a shift towards online shopping. The proportion of money spent online was 28.9% in July, compared with 20.0% in February.

However, this was down compared with June, when online sales accounted for nearly a third of the total (31.9%).

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21 August 2020

Public sector borrowing

Today’s public sector finance figures reflect the ongoing unprecedented impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown and the government’s support for individuals and businesses.

Borrowing in July 2020 was provisionally estimated to be £26.7 billion, £28.3 billion more than in July 2019 but £1.9 billion lower than market (and Office for Budget Responsibility) expectation.

Combined tax receipts and National Insurance contributions (on a national accounts basis) were down 20% on July 2019, while central government day-to-day spending increased by 23% over the same period.

Provisional estimates indicate borrowing in the first four months of the current financial year (April to July 2020) has reached £150.5 billion, this is around three times the £56.6 billion borrowed in the whole of the last full financial year (April 2019 to March 2020).

Borrowing estimates are subject to greater than usual uncertainty because of their partial reliance on forecast data, with June’s borrowing being revised down by £6.0 billion to £29.5 billion, largely because of stronger than previously estimated tax receipts and National Insurance contributions.

The need for the extra funding required to support the government’s COVID-19 relief schemes has pushed debt (excluding public banks) to over £2 trillion for the first time.

This extra funding combined with a fall in gross domestic product (GDP) has helped push debt at the end of July 2020 to 100.5% of GDP, the highest debt ratio since the financial year ending March 1961.

Today’s data highlight the emerging fiscal impact of the coronavirus crisis but will be prone to material future revisions and it will take many months before the true scale of the shock becomes clear.

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20 August 2020

Disabled people were most concerned about the impacts of coronavirus on their well-being and access to healthcare in July 2020

Our survey in July showed that disabled people were more likely to be worried about the effect that the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their lives than non-disabled people. Three-quarters (75%) of disabled people said they were either “very worried” or “somewhat worried” compared with 66% of non-disabled people.

Of the worries they had, almost one-quarter of disabled people were most concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on their well-being (24%) (13% for non-disabled people). Next most frequently, 13% of disabled people reported being most concerned about access to healthcare and treatment (compared with 3% of non-disabled people).

Disabled people continue to experience poorer well-being ratings than before the pandemic started. In July 2020, 45% of disabled people reported high anxiety.

The survey results show that 25% of disabled people who were receiving medical care prior to the pandemic are receiving treatment for only some of their conditions, compared with 7% of non-disabled people in a similar situation.

Similar proportions of disabled people (43%) and non-disabled people (44%) said they had received visitors at their home. However, more disabled people told us they had not met up with other people than non-disabled people – 37% compared with 29% respectively.

Although more disabled people had left their home for some reason in July than May 2020, the proportion was still lower than non-disabled people. In July, 95% of non-disabled people had left their home for some reason compared with 87% of disabled people.

One reason for this difference might be because fewer disabled people (17%) report feeling safe outside their home than non-disabled people (27%).

18 August 2020

Young and disabled people see biggest increase in depressive symptoms during pandemic

The proportion of adults in Great Britain likely to be experiencing depressive symptoms doubled from around 1 in 10 (9.7%) before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, to one in five (19.2%) during the pandemic.

We surveyed a representative sample of adults about their mental health between July 2019 and March 2020, and during June 2020, to understand the impact that the coronavirus is having on depression.

People under the age of 40 years, and those with disabilities, saw depressive symptoms most affected by the pandemic – over one-third of disabled adults (34.8%) experienced moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, compared with one in eight adults (11.8%) without disabilities.

Moderate to severe depressive symptoms affected just under one-third (31%) of adults aged 16 to 39 years during the pandemic. However, before the pandemic, the levels of depression experienced by this age group were much closer to those seen in the population as a whole, at 10.9%, compared with 9.7% in the wider population.

Looking at change in depressive symptoms before and during the pandemic, younger adults were also more likely than other adults to have experienced an increase in moderate to severe depressive symptoms.

Around one in five (22.8%) developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms during this period, with a further 8.2% continuing to experience this level of depressive symptoms. 1 in 40 (2.8%) saw an improvement in their depressive symptoms during this period.

Younger adults were more likely than other adults to have some form of depression during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Great Britain, July 2019 to June 2020

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18 August 2020

Characteristics of people testing positive for COVID-19

Emerging data indicate that infection rates are higher for Asian or Asian-British individuals than other ethnic groups over the most recent eight weeks of the COVID-19 Infection Survey for England. The Survey results also suggest that over the same period, one-person households are more likely to have the coronavirus (COVID-19) than larger households.

Our analysis is based on nose and throat test swab results from study participants between 8 June and 2 August 2020. It uses statistical modelling to look at the likelihood individuals testing positive for COVID-19 based on different characteristics.

The study analyses differences in infection rates for the following characteristics:

  • age, sex, ethnicity
  • among workers
  • household size
  • those who had contact with other people who had or may have had COVID-19

The results are presented in two models – the entire population model (all individuals aged two years and over) and the working population model (those aged 16 to 74 years).

Asian or Asian British study participants were 4.8 times (95% confidence interval: 2.1 to 10.9) more likely to test positive on a COVID-19 test swab than White individuals. It should be noted that the confidence intervals accompanying all odds ratios for ethnic groups in the model are wide, as the number of people from all ethnic groups other than the White ethnic group testing positive in our survey are small.

One-person households were estimated to be around 2.1 times more likely to test positive in a swab test than those from two-person households. There was no evidence of difference for larger households.

Modelled likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19 by general characteristics

The odds ratios of any individual testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on a nose and throat swab by sex, age bands, ethnic groups, household size and recent contact with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, England, 8 June to 2 August 2020

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  1. These results are provisional and subject to revision.
  2. These statistics refer to infections reported in the community, by which we mean private households. These figures exclude infections reported in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings.


  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey

    Characteristics of people testing positive for COVID-19 from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey. This survey is being delivered in partnership with University of Oxford, University of Manchester, Public Health England and Wellcome Trust. This study is jointly led by the ONS and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) working with the University of Oxford and UK Biocentre to collect and test samples.

  • Coronavirus and depression in adults, Great Britain

    Analysis of the proportion of the adult population of Great Britain experiencing some form of depression in summer 2021, based on the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey. Includes analysis by age, sex and other characteristics and comparisons with early 2021, 2020 and pre-pandemic estimates.

  • Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain

    Analysis of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on disabled people in Great Britain during periods throughout the pandemic from March 2020 to December 2021. Based on estimates from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.

  • Public sector finances, UK

    How the relationship between UK public sector monthly income and expenditure leads to changes in deficit and debt.

  • Retail sales, Great Britain

    A first estimate of retail sales in volume and value terms, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.

  • Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales

    Provisional death registration data for England and Wales, broken down by sex, age and country. Includes deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and leading causes of death.