How does the UK’s second wave of Covid-19 compare to those in other countries? (Report)

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Coronavirus UK live: government adviser supports 'circuit-breaker'
Coronavirus UK live: government adviser supports 'circuit-breaker'

Europe is now in the second wave of Covid-19 – with case rates rising along with hospitalisations across the continent. The figures paint a grim picture, and suggest the UK could once more become one of the worst-hit European countries. We look at the latest data to assess how bad the situation is.

How does the UK’s case rate compare globally?

Countries do not measure cases and deaths in exactly the same way, so it is better to focus on the trends in the data rather than the individual figures. That said, the UK is experiencing some of the highest new daily cases of Covid-19 in the world. The UK reported an average of 14,391 new daily cases in the week to 12 October, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Only France, Brazil, the US and India saw higher figures.

The data suggests the UK is in a similar position to France, based on the raw numbers – although the figures in the UK have been rising at a more alarming rate. The picture is improved somewhat for both the UK and France once we adjust for population size; smaller nations such as the Czech Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands are suffering worse outbreaks on a per-capita basis.

What about hospitalisations?

The ECDC collates figures across Europe for the number of people hospitalised due to Covid-19. These figures – based on national reports – show that the UK is now only behind France and Belgium in terms of hospitalisations per 100,000 people, and is on a much steeper upward trajectory than France.

Around five people in every 100,000 were hospitalised with the virus in the week to 3 October, according to UK government data. France recorded six per 100,000 in the same week, and Belgium almost eight per 100,000 in the week to 10 October.

Are we seeing higher death rates?

The UK is not yet recording as many deaths as its European neighbours. Based on a seven-day rolling average, the ECDC figures show that Spain saw an average of 120 confirmed Covid-19 deaths in the seven days to 11 October. Over the seven days to 12 October, France saw an average of 71 deaths a day, while the UK saw 68. Globally, India, the US, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina are all experiencing the highest numbers of deaths. But the death rate is once more starting to creep up in the UK and across Europe.

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