5 more deaths due to Covid-19 reported in 24 hours, together with 1,979 new coronavirus infections. A total of 15,540 new cases in 7 days. With the B.1.617.2 variant rising across the country, has the government needlessly opened the flood gates? Dr Joe Pajak asks.


First published in May 2021.


Today’s data in the UK indicate sadly that 5 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours due to Covid-19. Transmission of the virus continues to be at a relatively high level with 1,979 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

It is worth noting the average number of new coronavirus infections, and of deaths due to the virus, reported in the last 28 days of Covid-19 data: average (28-day) reported daily numbers of coronavirus infections (2,213) and the average (28-day) reported daily number of coronavirus deaths (15).


The 7-day rolling average case numbers continue upwards, and have increased by 1.1% in the past 7 days from 15,367 to 15,540.

Now some 473 days since the SARS-CoV2 virus first arrived in Britain, and 4,452,756 positive cases later, the borders still appear porous. It does not seem sensible that non-essential, international travel is still allowed. Especially given the worrying upwards trend in reported cases of the B.1.617.2 variant, originally detected in India.

Latest health care data indicate that 991 patients suffering from Covid-19 are currently occupying hospital beds (as of 13 May), and 124 patients are requiring intensive care support (as of 14 May) – remaining a continuing concern for our National Health Service.


Note: The data for deaths attributed to COVID-19 – each following a reported positive test result for COVID-19 within 28 days of their death.

The Full Data

UK COVID-19 data 🦠 reported on 17 May 2021:

(previous day’s figures and change in brackets)

  • 1,979 positive tests in the last 24 hours (↗️+53 on yesterday’s data)
  • 103 hospital admissions as of 11 May (no change as last data report was on 11 May)
  • 991 hospital in-patients as of 13 May (no change as last data report was on 13 May)
  • 124 patients on ventilation beds as of 14 May (↘️-5 since last data report which was on 13 May)
  • 5 deaths in the last 24 hours (↗️+1 since yesterday)

  • 4,452,756 total positive cases since the first case was reported at the end of January 2020
  • 127,684 total deaths – within 28 days of first positive test result (for COVID-19 reported up to 17 May 2021)
7-Day UK COVID-19 Data – Graph showing key data as trendlines as of 17 May 2021.

People vaccinated: (up to and including 16  May 2021)

  • 💉36,704,672 first doses (↗️+131,318)
    📈 69.68% of UK adults (18+)
    📈 54.95% of UK population
  • 💉20,287,403 fully vaccinated (↗️+183,745)
    📈 38.52% of UK adults (18+)
    📈 30.37% of UK population

Estimated ®️ number: (as of 14 May 2021)

  • 0.8 to 1.1
  • Latest growth rate range for England -3% to +1%

An R value between 0.8 and 1.0 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 10 other people.
A growth rate of between -3% and 0% means that the number of new infections is broadly flat or shrinking by up to 3% every day.

State of the UK epidemic:
To better understand the state of the epidemic in the UK, the UK government recommend “focusing on indicators for the 4 nations of the UK individually, rather than an average value across the UK.” Estimates of the R value and growth rate for different nations can be found via this link.

New infections and deaths in the last 28 days:

  • 61,975 new cases in total 🦠
  • 412 deaths in total

Days since:

  • 473 days since the first reported UK case
  • 437 days since the first reported UK death

The total number of people whose death certificate mentioned Covid-19 as one of the causes: 151,765 – Registered up to Friday 30 April 2021.


These data, and trends, are shared to focus some light on the situation. We must never forget the data represent real people suffering, real people dying  


Data source:






Dr Joe Pajak, Professional experience applied scientific research and development, then director of a national children’s charity, trustee of a disability charity, and governor of an NHS foundation trust hospital.






[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 17 May 2021. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]