Coronavirus cases in England’s cities and large towns

Centre for Cities analyses the scale of the COVID—19 outbreak in cities and towns

Where in England has the highest number of new Coronavirus cases?

Data dashboard last updated on 20 Oct 2020

Where in England has the highest number of new Coronavirus cases?

With 590 cases per 100,000 population, Liverpool still shows the highest number of Covid-19 cases. However, this is a 16 per cent decrease compared to last week, when the city was placed under Tier 3 lockdown.

Liverpool is followed by Blackburn, with 509 cases per 100,000 population- a 21 per cent increase compared to last week.

A total of 37 cities are now above the 100 cases per 100,000 population threshold. This includes most cities in the northern parts of the country, but also places in the Greater South East like Cambridge, Luton and Slough. Cambridge in particular experienced a significant increase in the number of cases compared to last week (+52 per cent).

What’s noticeable in this new update is that with the exception of Liverpool and Newcastle, the top 10 places which experienced the largest decrease in cases (compared to the previous week) are all located in the southern regions of the country: Exeter (-55 per cent), Oxford (-26 per cent), Bournemouth (-22 per cent) and Brighton (-14 per cent) are among them. This contrasts to cities like Manchester and Wigan where no significant decrease has yet been observed.

Map of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the past week per 100,000 population

Click the city or large town to see the trajectory of new confirmed cases per 100,000 over the past four weeks.


This new Covid-19 case tracker aggregates the local authority data on Covid-19 cases reported daily to Public Health England, at the Primary Urban Area (PUA) level for England.

For all the 55 largest cities and towns in England, it summarises the latest development on Covid-19 spread, by looking at the sum of newly-reported cases over the past week, and comparing it to the four previous weeks. This will allow to identify the most recent spikes in cases, and how they evolve over time.

In order to visualise how cities have been affected since the pandemic began, data on the cumulative number of cases is also provided.

In order to control for population size, the data presented here is given per 100,000 population.

Confirmed cases here refer to cases reported positive to Public Health England, from Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 testing. Duplicate tests for the same person are removed.

The rates may be affected by geographic variation in testing. Local data on testing would help address this bias, but is currently not available at the local level. This tracker will be updated weekly.

This data aggregates the local authority (UTLA) data reported daily to Public Health England, at the Primary Urban Area (PUA) level for England. This graph does not provide data for all PUAs as only upper-tier local authorities whose geography could directly be matched to PUA geography have been considered in the analysis.

It does not take into account the number of Covid-19 cases which have not been attributed to any local authority- hence potential differences with the total number of cases in England.

It should be acknowledged that this data might not represent the place of residence of confirmed cases, but in some cases the location of the hospital which reported the data, where the patient has been tested. The data provided here is therefore likely to be an underestimate of the total number of cases in an area, as only confirmed cases (tested positive) are recorded.

The rates may be affected by geographical variation in testing. Local data on testing would help  address this bias, but it is not currently available at the local authority level in England.

Coronavirus analysis

Nowhere is feeling the economic and social impact of Covid-19 more than UK’s cities and largest towns. From a public health perspective, Coronavirus has touched every part of the UK, but its economic impact will be bigger in some places than others.

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