Coronavirus peaks examined across the UK

Sky's Data and Economics Editor looks at the detail of COVID-19 surges and peaks across the United Kingdom.

Video Transcript

ED CONWAY: Another key moment in the opening up of the UK. It's worth just looking at the COVID-19 data of cases. And we can see here, cases around the world since the start of the year, and how they've gone down in many countries but up in some. So you can see in Sweden, they're starting to climb. In France, they're starting to climb as well.

And what I'm going to do is just add on the UK line, so you can see how the UK compares with other countries. And look, it's quite a striking story, isn't it? UK cases falling, falling, falling, falling, falling. It's such that now-- actually I'll zoom in here-- you can just about see that that UK line is below the Japanese line. That's pretty significant because you'll probably know that the Japanese line has been very low for a long time. In fact, if I go back and give you some historical perspective, you can see this is more or less the first time that we've been below the Japanese line since the onset of the pandemic.

But here's the thing, not so fast because when you actually look at those numbers, some of what's happening recently to the UK's line-- we're just going back to that latest chart. Some of that recent change is because of an adjustment to historic case numbers. And if we kind of get rid of that-- basically some of the numbers were revised. If we get rid of that, and look at the underlying change in the numbers, well, the UK's still a bit above Japan.

But still, it's a really promising story. Going down and down and down compared with many other countries which are going up. Clearly lockdown has got something to do with that, also vaccinations. But here's the thing, still a lot of people worried about hotspots, COVID hotspots around the country. So although you've got that good nationwide figure, some people focusing on different areas of the UK.

This is from Public Health England, and they were looking at Barnsley in particular. You can see that's the red bit there. Well, let's just do a bit of a tour of different parts of the UK to see how indeed they compare. So this is our own map here. There you can see the UK. The darker these areas are, the more COVID-19 there is as a percent of the population. Let's zoom into those areas which are most affected.

So Clackmannanshire, you've got 212 cases per 100,000 there. Let's go down through to Corby. 126 cases per 100,000 in Corby. You can see there are different areas that do have higher levels compared with the national average. And then you've got Barnsley, 105 cases per 100,000. But here's the thing, let's just look at what's actually happening in those areas.

So for instance, these are the case numbers that we have in Barnsley. So that's thus Barnsley there. People are looking at that as a hotspot. But actually what you can see, interestingly, is there were a lot of cases last autumn, but they've come down. And still they're relatively high, but they are kind of a lot lower than they were in the autumn.

Whereas, look at Corby, an enormous increase. They missed out on that spike in the autumn. But around that kind of January period, an enormous spike in cases in Corby. And then Clackmannanshire, where there are the most cases at the moment in the middle of Scotland, just look. Actually, they never really had a peak in the way that much of the rest of the country did. But right now, it's a little bit higher than they usually are.

It just goes to show there's nuances here. There is no nationwide picture. Broadly speaking, all cases are down, but very different stories around different parts of the UK.