The United Kingdom now tops the global table for weekly COVID-19 deaths per capita

With the Dominic Cummings saga dominating the front pages of British newspapers, data from Our World In Data indicates that the UK has overtaken Sweden and Belgium to become the country with the most COVID-19 deaths per capita for the week ending the 23rd of May. The chart below shows deaths per capita by week for countries that have been most severely impacted by the pandemic.

Data for the most recent week (ending 23rd May) was estimated for Northern Ireland as the NISRA Weekly Deaths data has not yet been published for this period.

Whilst the rapidly worsening situation in Peru and Brazil could see the UK being overtaken, at the time of writing it tops the table for deaths per capita, on the same week that the government intends to continue relaxing lockdown restrictions and begin the reopening of schools.

In Northern Ireland, the five-day average of new cases has increased, with an average of 30 new cases per day for the five days to the 24th of May, compared with 26 new cases per day for the five days ending the 19th of May. This is primarily driven by a large increase in cases in the Causeway Coast and Glens council area, which is now the council area in Northern Ireland with the highest number of new cases.

Across the island of Ireland, the Derry City & Strabane and Fermanagh & Omagh council areas are among the regions with the fewest new cases on a five-day average basis; only County Kerry (0.14 cases per day) and County Sligo (zero new cases) had fewer. The table below shows the five day average number of new cases per day across Ireland for the five days ending on the 22nd of May (before the recent jump in new cases on the north coast).

With the credibility of the British government’s efforts to combat the epidemic now in tatters, the situation in Great Britain is grim; it now leads the world in terms of deaths per capita and it hasn’t been able to crush the curve in the way that other European countries have.

Northern Ireland has fared better than Great Britain, and in most areas the number of new cases has decreased to a handful a day. By global standards, however, the situation is still poor. Northern Ireland came perilously close to exceeding its ICU capacity at the height of the pandemic, which is among the lowest in the developed world, and the crisis is nowhere near coming to an end.