There have been more than 3.8 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 100,000 people have died, government figures show.

However, these figures include only people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for the coronavirus.

The number of cases reached record levels in early January, partly driven by a new variant of the virus thought to be much more easily transmissible than other strains.

However daily reported cases, on average, now appear to be declining – with strict lockdown measures in place across the country.

Symptoms profile by cases compatible with the new UK variant and other positive cases

About this analysis

Swabs are tested for three genes present in the coronavirus: N protein, S protein, and ORF1ab. Each swab can have anyone, any two or all three genes detected.

The new UK variant of COVID-19 has genetic changes in the S-gene. This means the S-gene is no longer detected in the current test, and cases that would have previously been positive on all three genes are now positive only on the ORF1ab and the N-gene (not the S-gene).

Just how bad has the second wave become compared with the first?

The UK is seeing record numbers of people testing positive for coronavirus, with more than 60,000 positive tests reported on three days this week.

But mass testing was not available during the first wave, and even now testing is aimed at those with symptoms so does not capture all cases. Similarly, population surveys such as that from the Office for National Statistics only began in late spring. However, the latest ONS data shows about one in 50 people in the community in England had coronavirus in the most recent week: an alarmingly high figure.

UK current coronavirus hotspots

At the beginning of the pandemic, London suffered the brunt of the impact of the coronavirus. After that, the center of the virus shifted north and into areas in Northern Ireland before growing again in London and the southeast. Everyday life in the UK has been subject to varying degrees of restriction since March, and various national lockdowns currently apply in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.