7 more deaths due to Covid-19 reported in 24 hours, together with 2,874 new coronavirus infections. A total of 16,107 new cases in 7 days. Transmission of the B.1.617.2 variant (160% increase in just a week) is a growing concern, Dr Joe Pajak writes.

First published in May 2021.


As of 20 May 2021, 476 days since the presence of the SARS-CoV2 virus was first reported in Britain, it has since this time infected 4,455,221 people in the UK and caused 127,701 deaths (within 28 days of first positive test result); while official data indicate 151,904 deaths in total (where the death certificate mentioned Covid-19 as one of the causes), according to Public Health England (PHE).

As of data reported on 20 May 2021, 37,250,363 people have received a first dose of vaccine against Covid-19 in the UK, while 21,239,471 people are now fully vaccinated.

The details.

Today’s data in the UK indicate sadly that 7 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours due to Covid-19. Transmission of the virus continues to be at a high level with 2,874 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, the highest reported daily number since 19 April 2021. A significant increase?

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 (2,225) and the average (28-day) reported daily number of coronavirus deaths (13).

The 14-day cumulative number of infections reported has increased by 7.52% in the past 14 days from 29,934 to 32,186 (i.e. 14-day totals, from 7 May 2021 to 20 May 2021)

Travel across our borders is still presenting a risk, and many scientists, and politicians from different parties, have warned that holidays abroad this summer should be avoided. Potentially related, is the fact that across the UK, there is a worrying upwards trend in reported cases of the B.1.617.2 variant, originally detected in India, continues to gather pace.

Latest health care data indicate that 894 patients suffering from Covid-19 are currently occupying hospital beds (as of 18 May), and 122 patients are requiring intensive care support (as of 19 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 20 May 2021:

(previous day’s figures and change in brackets)

  • 2,874 positive tests in the last 24 hours (↗️+178 on yesterday’s data)
  • 77 hospital admissions as of 16 May (↘️-12 since last data report on 15 May)
  • 894 hospital in-patients as of 18 May (↘️-45 since last data report on 17 May)
  • 122 patients on ventilation beds as of 19 May (↘️-2 since last data report which was on 18 May)
  • 7 deaths in the last 24 hours (↗️+4 since yesterday)

  • 4,455,221 total positive cases since the first case was reported at the end of January 2020
  • 127,701 total deaths – within 28 days of first positive test result (for COVID-19 reported up to 20 May 2021)

7-Day UK COVID-19 Data – Graph showing key data as trendlines as of 20 May 2021.

People vaccinated: (up to and including 19 May 2021)

  • 💉37,250,363 first doses (↗️+264,858)
    📈 70.72% of UK adults (18+)
    📈 55.77% of UK population
  • 💉21,239,471 fully vaccinated (↗️+369,018)
    📈 40.32% of UK adults (18+)
    📈 31.80% 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:

  • 62,308 new cases in total 🦠
  • 356 deaths in total

Days since:

  • 476 days since the first reported UK case
  • 440 days since the first reported UK death

The total number of people whose death certificate mentioned Covid-19 as one of the causes: 151,904 – Registered up to Friday 7 May 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:

20 May – Revision to historical case data in England

  • The introduction of a new system disrupted the removal of cases where a positive rapid lateral flow test (LFD) was followed by all negative laboratory (PCR) tests taken within 3 days, as reported earlier this week. Therefore a further 180 cases have been removed today. Regions and local authorities do not show the actual number of new cases reported. UK and England numbers of newly reported cases have been adjusted and correctly reflect new cases reported. This issue will be ongoing over the next few days.

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 20 May 2021. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]