In numbers: The COVID-19 pandemic

Data | U.K. variant of the novel coronavirus spreads at least 50% faster than old variants

A man walks past a poster amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Manchester, Britain. File.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Studies suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, or the ‘U.K. strain’ of the novel coronavirus, could be 50 to 75% more transmissible than the usual or older variants. Due to the increase in transmissibility, cases in the U.K. have skyrocketed recently, with a near-vertical infection curve. Since December 29, every day, the U.K. has been recording the most number of daily cases per million people in the world. Alarmingly, the share of positive tests also surged across the U.K. in late December, going up to 30% in some regions. India has confirmed at least 71 cases of the new variant as of Tuesday.

Rapid rise in R

London’s Imperial College concluded in a study that the R-value (no. of people a COVID-19 patient can infect) increases by 50-75% for the new variant. A researcher from the University of Calgary in Canada applied this data to compare the case trajectory under the new variant with that of the old variants in Canada's Alberta province.

image/svg+xml
 

*The existing R-value in Alberta was 0.86 for the period Dec. 13-29, 2020. Assuming that the new variant is 60% more transmissible, the corresponding R-value would become 0.86*1.6=1.38.

Cases surge

Due to the new variant’s high transmissibility, new cases in the U.K. surged. Between Dec. 30 and Jan. 5, the country registered over 800 new cases per million population on an average — the world’s highest.

image/svg+xml

Also read: Data | Confidence in COVID-19 vaccines remains high among Indians

Positivity peaks

The rapid spread is reflected in the high positivity rate (positives found/tests conducted) across England. Between December 20 and 31, several regions recorded a sharp spike in the percentage of positive cases found through RT-PCR tests. The positivity rate in five regions climbed to more than 20% in this period, with the Bromley region recording over 30% share of positives.

image/svg+xml
 

India's tally

As of January 5, Karnataka had confirmed 11 cases of the new variant, followed by Maharashtra (8), Delhi (7) and Kerala (6). The State-wise split of the infections caused by the new variant was available only for 38 of India’s 71 cases.

image/svg+xml
 

Source: Malgorzata Gasperowicz, University of Calgary; Our World In Data; news reports

Also read: Data | What's afoot on the COVID-19 vaccine front?

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 7:13:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/data/uk-variant-of-the-novel-coronavirus-spreads-at-least-50-faster-than-old-variants/article33520596.ece

In This Series
Data | What is the COVID-19 vaccine policy of countries across the world?
You are reading
Data | U.K. variant of the novel coronavirus spreads at least 50% faster than old variants
Data | U.S. bears the brunt of global COVID-19 deaths in December; Delhi, W.B. and Punjab record spurt in fatalities
Data | How India fared in various COVID-19 parameters since March, compared with other countries
Data | India's COVID-19 testing declines sharply despite rising positivity rate
From 0 new COVID-19 cases to 10,000 in six months: dissecting Kerala's second wave
Data | COVID-19 infections continue to grow at a constant pace in India
Data | Lower COVID-19 fatality rate in rural areas not necessarily due to lower share of co-morbidities among rural population
The Hindu Explains | Is COVID-19 intensifying in rural India?
Data | What's afoot on the COVID-19 vaccine front?
Data | COVID-19 deaths in India are rising third fastest in the world
Puducherry's pandemic trajectory shows the need for more testing
Data | India's COVID-19 cases are the fastest growing in the world
Data | Less reliable rapid antigen tests ramped up in many States
Coronavirus | In contrast to initial stages, districts now push tally in Tamil Nadu
Data | COVID-19 resurges in Kerala as migrants return, testing rate drops
Data | Overcrowded jails and the COVID-19 contagion
Data | Among nations with a high case load, infections continue to double in less than 20 days only in India
Understanding Chennai’s COVID-19 trend
Data | How do States fare on reporting COVID-19 data?
Data | Not just Mumbai and Chennai, COVID-19 cases are starting to swell in Cooch Behar and Ayodhya too
Data | Major uptick in COVID-19 cases in the past week and it's not just the usual suspects
Data | Coronavirus deaths increasing significantly in several States
Data | Domestic violence complaints at a 10-year high during COVID-19 lockdown
Data | A study of India's coronavirus cases: symptoms to secondary transmission
Data | Karnataka, Telangana, A.P. see sharp spike in COVID-19 cases; burden easing in Delhi
Data | COVID-19 has affected higher share of men in India, difference relatively lesser in other countries
Data | An estimated 12.2 crore Indians lost their jobs during the coronavirus lockdown in April: CMIE
Data | Sudden spike in cases results in fastest COVID-19 doubling rate in Punjab in the past week
Data | States which tested more in the initial days of the coronavirus outbreak found it easier to contain the spread
Data | Why handwashing and physical distancing are a privilege to the poor
Data | Migrant workers' distress continues as nationwide lockdown extended for the second time
Data | The variable impact of the novel coronavirus across different countries
Data | A State-wise comparison of coronavirus infection doubling rates and testing
Data | Kerala flattens the coronavirus curve but must remain vigilant as 'import' cases still dominate
Data | Why has Mumbai seen the most coronavirus cases in Maharashtra?
Data | Where are the coronavirus hotspots in India?
Data | The lockdown effect on jobs in India
Data | How quickly are coronavirus infections and deaths increasing in India, compared to the rest of the world?
Data | 96% migrant workers did not get rations from the government, 90% did not receive wages during lockdown: survey
Data | How fast are India's coronavirus cases doubling since the lockdown?
Data | Who gets tested for coronavirus determines infection rates better than how many are
Data | How many doctors and nurses have tested positive for coronavirus in India?
Data | India's coronavirus infection rates are among the highest in Asia
Data | From 129 to 430 districts in a month: how coronavirus cases are spreading thick and fast
COVID-19 | Under which zone does your district lie?
Data | In the battle against COVID-19, severity of lockdown matters less than testing rates
Data | Are States testing enough compared to the size of their coronavirus outbreaks?
Data | Is India undercounting its COVID-19 deaths?
Data | The curious case of Gujarat's COVID-19 curve: remained flat throughout May
Data | Why is it necessary to test more to reduce the impact of COVID-19?
Data | The path to 5 lakh coronavirus cases: infections, fatalities spiralling; testing rate consistently coming down
Data | Most COVID-19 deaths occurred within two days of hospital admission in Chennai, Karnataka
Data | India's COVID-19 situation worst among Asian countries
Data | Japan's limited testing strategy for coronavirus does not yield in the long run
Data | Which States recorded the most coronavirus cases, deaths, and the best testing rates?
Data | To reduce coronavirus spread, India needs to test more, lockdown notwithstanding
Data | Who are the most vulnerable to the lockdown among urban dwellers
Coronavirus | Patient data from Singapore and South Korea shows physical distancing is the only option
Data | How prepared are India's States in health infrastructure to tackle COVID-19
Data | Kerala leads States in testing for coronavirus, Maharashtra in infections
Data | Where does India stand on the coronavirus curve?
Data | COVID-19 is deadliest for the elderly
Data | 5,680 flights cancelled: the coronavirus impact on global air travel
Data | Coronavirus death rates peak in Italy and Spain
Data | India's coronavirus testing rates are among the lowest in the world
Data | Govt. rarely passes on the benefit of falling crude oil price to consumers
The Disaster Response Force teams of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation wearing protective gear and spray disinfectant chemical at medical shop amid concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, in Hyderabad on March 23, 2020.
COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India
Data | Where does the March 9 market crash rank among the biggest falls in Sensex history?
Data | Is COVID-19 spreading faster outside mainland China?
Data | The wide, rapid spread of the novel coronavirus
Next Story