Yesterday marked one whole year since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the start of the first lockdown as part of measures to control the spread of coronavirus.

It has been an extraordinary 12 months changing our lives in terms of health, financial wellbeing and simple social contact with family and friends.

It has long-lasting effects on society, affecting everything from jobs to education and has had a massive impact on the economy, with many popular businesses disappearing.

It has also been a year in which everyone became interested in the daily numbers of the pandemic. One year on, what does the data tell us about how Covid-19 has hit Berkshire?

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Coronavirus cases

Since the early days of the pandemic, The Chronicle has provided its readers with a daily update on the number of new coronavirus cases and, sadly, reported deaths.

The figures have made for stark reading.

Up to yesterday morning, 55,7170 people in Berkshire had tested positive for Covid-19, Public Health England data shows.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 1,711 people have died from the virus in Berkshire.

Of those, 1151 occurred in hospitals, while there were 419 deaths in care homes and 99 in private homes.

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A further 41 deaths occurred in hospices, other community establishments or elsewhere.

Health experts have said ‘excess deaths’ – the number of deaths above the annual expected number – are a better measure of the overall impact of the coronavirus pandemic than simply looking at mortality directly linked to Covid-19.


Separate NHS data shows that 308,090 people in Berkshire had received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by March 18. Half of the UK population have had a first jab.


As well as being the biggest health crisis in decades, the coronavirus pandemic has also brought rapid change to the UK’s jobs market.

Unemployment rates have surged along with a rise in job uncertainty, and many more people are seeking support from unemployment benefits.

One of the defining elements of the Government’s response to the spread of Covid-19 was the launch of emergency income support schemes to protect jobs. Back in March last year, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Coronavirus Job Retention, or furlough, scheme, to help firms struggling with the impact of the virus.

By the end of May, just two months later, businesses had already put about 87,700 employees on furlough in Berkshire.

At the same time, people in the area had made roughly 64,600 claims under the separate Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

In January, 59,500 jobs were on furlough in Berkshire, with 30,3200 reliant on the SEISS scheme.

The figures include those aged 16 to 64 on Jobseeker’s Allowance and some Universal Credit claimants, who are unemployed and seeking work or employed but with low earnings.

The ONS has regularly cautioned that changes to Universal Credit in response to the virus mean more people can get the benefits while still being employed, which mean the figures can’t be used to measure unemployment on a local basis.

It also said a small number of people who can claim both JSA and UC could be counted twice.