Questions and answers about
the UK economy.

Covid-19: in numbers

The story of a unique year, told through data. The charts here run direct from official sources.

Following the initial pandemic in Wuhan, China, cases of Covid-19 began appearing across the globe in March 2021. With infection rates soaring the world began to grapple with the idea of exponential growth.

Source: ECDC

In the UK the first lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020 as people began to be admitted to hospital. The UK recorded its first death related to Covid on 2 March 2020, although we now know that this milestone was likely passed at the end of January. After a lockdown-free summer the second and third waves arrived.

Source:, ONS

It became clear early on that this was an unequal virus. The elderly, men, BAME communities and those in exposed occupations have been most at risk.

Source: ONS

Two things were paramount: to find out who had the disease, via mass testing, and to find a vaccination.

By mid-summer 2020 tests were running at just under 100,000 per day in the UK. In 2021 there have been 27 days on which over 1 million tests were conducted.

Source: ONS

Announcements about the efficacy of the first vaccines were made in early November 2020 and the first doses were available by 8 December 2020 in the UK. Having been later than many countries to roll out its testing, the UK has led the world in the speed of its vaccine programme.

Source: GOV.UK
Source: Our World in Data
Authors: Richard Davies, Charlie Meyrick, Dénes Csala
Recent Questions
View all articles
Do you have a question surrounding any of these topics? Or are you an economist and have an answer?
Ask a Question
Submit Evidence