5 more deaths due to Covid-19 reported in 24 hours and 2,235 new coronavirus infections. 17,719 new cases in 7 days, the highest 7-day total since 18 April 2021. Transmission of the B.1.617.2 variant is a rapidly growing concern, Dr Joe Pajak writes.

First published in May 2021.


As of 23 May 2021, 479 days since the presence of the SARS-CoV2 virus was first reported in Britain, it has since this time infected (according to reported positive cases) 4,462,538 people in the UK and caused 127,721 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 22 May 2021, 37,943,681 people have received a first dose of vaccine against Covid-19 in the UK, while 22,643,417 people are now fully vaccinated.

The details.

Today’s data in the UK indicate sadly that 5 further 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 2,235 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 (2,272) and the average (28-day) reported daily number of coronavirus deaths (10).

The 14-day cumulative number of infections reported has increased by 11.12% in the past 14 days from 30,271 to 33,637 (i.e. 14-day totals, from 10 May 2021 to 23 May 2021).

Travel across our borders remains an unnecessary risk, and many scientists, and politicians from different parties, continue to warn that holidays abroad this summer should be avoided. 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 908 patients suffering from Covid-19 are currently occupying hospital beds (as of 20 May), and 123 patients are requiring intensive care support (as of 20 May) – 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 23 May 2021:

(previous day’s figures and change in brackets)

  • 2,235 positive tests in the last 24 hours (↘️-459 on yesterday’s data)
  • 122 hospital admissions as of 18 May (date of last data report was 18 May)
  • 908 hospital in-patients as of 20 May (date of last data report was 20 May)
  • 123 patients on ventilation beds as of 20 May (date of last data report was 20 May)
  • 5 deaths in the last 24 hours (↘️-1 since yesterday)

  • 4,462,538 total positive cases since the first case was reported at the end of January 2020
  • 127,721 total deaths – within 28 days of first positive test result (for COVID-19 reported up to 23 May 2021)

7-Day UK COVID-19 Data – Graph showing key data as trendlines as of 23 May 2021.

People vaccinated: (up to and including 22 May 2021)

  • 💉37,943,681 first doses (↗️+205,410)
    📈 72.04% of UK adults (18+)
    📈 56.80% of UK population
  • 💉22,643,417 fully vaccinated (↗️+556,951)
    📈 42.99% of UK adults (18+)
    📈 33.90% of UK population

Estimated ®️ number: (as of 21 May 2021)

  • 0.9 to 1.1
  • Latest growth rate range for England -2% to +1% per day

An R value between 0.9 and 1.1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 9 and 11 other people. A growth rate of between -2% and 1% means that the number of new infections could be broadly flat, shrinking by up to 2% every day, or growing by up to 1% every day. These estimates represent the transmission of COVID-19 2 to 3 weeks ago, due to the time delay between someone being infected, developing symptoms, and needing healthcare.

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:

  • 63,615 new cases in total 🦠
  • 293 deaths in total

Days since:

  • 479 days since the first reported UK case
  • 443 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:

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.