Current COVID-19 activity in the UK

May 17, 2020

Carl Heneghan

This page provides a summary of COVID-19 activity in the UK for the week ending the 17th of May.


There were 1,467 deaths in the week ending May 17th.

  • 534 (27%) fewer deaths compared with the previous week (ending 10th of May)
  • 3,339 (69%) fewer deaths compared with the week ending the 19th of April.

Todays COVID-19: Death Data in England – Update 17th May reports 90 deaths  – the lowest daily reported number since we started analysing the data.


Daily admissions peaked on the 2nd of April  (3,121) and dropped below 1,000 on the 2nd of May.

10,484 people were in hospital with COVID-19 on the  16th May, down from 11,872 this time last week.


NHS Pathways coronavirus triage shows that  COVID activity for 111 and  999 triage calls are down on the previous day, and significantly down from the peak activity between the 22nd March and the  27th March.

  • 22nd March: 111 Triages peaked at  19,359
  • 23rd March: 111 Online Journeys peaked at 146,894
  • 27th March: 999 Triages peaked at 1,514

Figures from the NHS dashboard for the 14th of May.

Critical Care Beds COVID-19

COVID-19 is using 20% of the critical care bed capacity across the UK (in Scotland this figure is 12%).

Care Homes

For the week ending the 4th May, there were 418 care homes outbreaks in England down from 1,002 per week at the peak.

  • 5,546/15,517 (36%) care homes in England have had COVID-19 outbreaks up to the 4th of May.

RCGP Surveillance

General Practice consultations with confirmed COVID-19 rose to a maximum of 1.27 per 10,000 on the week of the 5th April. By the 26th of April, the figure was 1.14 per 10,000, and then it has dropped further (there may be some delay in reporting for the last week).

ONS data published 14th May suggested that between 27th April and 10th May 2020,  an average of 0.27%  (27 per 10,000) of the community population had COVID-19 (95% confidence interval: 17 per 10,000 to 41 per 10,000).

For further details see:

UK Data for Assessing COVID-19 Activity 

COVID-19: Care Homes in England

COVID-19: Admissions to Hospital

What does RCGP surveillance tell us about COVID-19 in the community?

Tracking mortality over time – ONS Update 5th May

Carl Heneghan is Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and Director of Studies for the Evidence-Base Health Care Programme. (Full bio and disclosure statement here)

Disclaimer the article has not been peer-reviewed; the sources cited should be checked.