How is the disease progressing in the UK?
Cases in the UK first peaked in early April, before falling in late spring and summer. But they then increased again and passed the earlier peak in September, reaching record levels in December after a dip in November.
The number of people in hospital with coronavirus rose sharply after records started at the end of March, peaking in April. That figure has now been rising again since September.
Deaths were at their highest during the first peak of cases, with over 1,000 daily deaths seen on some days in April. They started to once again increase in October, following the earlier rise in cases.
How much of the second wave is due to more testing?
There have been more recorded cases in the second wave of the pandemic, and this can be partly attributed to increased testing. Many more tests were done in autumn than during the first wave in the spring.
In March and April, there were relatively few tests available and these were given to people with severe symptoms – mainly in hospitals. Most people with milder symptoms were not tested, so these cases were not recorded, meaning the actual number is likely to have been much higher. Sir Patrick Vallance said the daily case number may have been over 100,000 on some days in the first wave.
More tests were available during the second wave and the majority of people took tests in the community. This means that people with milder symptoms are now being tested and recorded in the official figures. The real number of cases will still be higher than the recorded count, but the testing will be picking up a greater proportion of the total.
However, given Covid-19’s potential for exponential growth, the shape of the cases curve is critically important, and the effect of increased cases can be seen in the hospitalisation and mortality curves above.
Find coronavirus cases near you
In the table below, you can find out the number of cases per 100,000 in your area, both for the last week and since the start of the pandemic.
About this data
This data comes comes from Public Health England, working with devolved authorities in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Differences in data collection and publishing schedules may lead to temporary inconsistencies. 3 and 4 October cases totals include cases from previous days published late owing to a technical fault.
The government figures for deaths that are used in this tracker incorporate any deaths that have occurred within 28 days of a positive test. This means that they they are able to quickly capture those deaths occurring in hospitals and care homes, both settings where testing is widespread.
The ONS, along with its counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland, captures deaths data differently. They count all deaths where Covid is on the death certificate. About 90% of these deaths are directly due to Covid while it is a contributory factor in the remaining deaths.
Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation as well as possible. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.