COVID-19 Pandemic in the United Kingdom

Darren Flynn, Eoin Moloney, Nawaraj Bhattarai , Jason Scott, Matthew Breckons, Leah Avery, Naomi Moy

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Objectives: To describe epidemiological data on cases of COVID-19 and the spread of Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in the United Kingdom (UK), and the subsequent policy and technological
response to the pandemic, including impact on healthcare, business and the economy.
Methods: Epidemiological, business and economic data were extracted from official government sources
covering the period 31st January to 13th August 2020; healthcare system data up to end of June 2019.
Results: UK-wide COVID-19 cases and deaths were 313,798 and 46,706 respectively (472 cases and 70
deaths per 100,000 population) by 12th August. There were regional variations in England, with London and
North West (756 and 666 cases per 100,000 population respectively) disproportionately affected compared with
other regions. As of 11th August, 13,618,470 tests had been conducted in the UK. Increased risk of mortality was
associated with age (≥60 years), gender (male) and BAME groups. Since onset of the pandemic, emergency department attendance, primary care utilisation and cancer referrals and inpatient/outpatient referrals have
declined; emergency ambulance and NHS111 calls increased. Business sectors most impacted are the arts,
entertainment and recreation, followed by accommodation and food services. Government interventions aimed
at curtailing the business and economic impact have been implemented, but applications for state benefits have
Conclusions: The impact of COVID-19 on the UK population, health system and economy has been profound.
More data are needed to implement the optimal policy and technological responses to preventing further spikes
in COVID-19 cases, and to inform strategic planning to manage future pandemics.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages49
JournalHealth Policy and Technology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Aug 2020


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