Covid bulletin #46: The beginning of the end?
This is the 46th of a series of bulletins produced by ISE to update members on key data and policy related to Covid-19. This bulletin covers the period 18th February – 24th February 2021.
You can access all of the Covid-19 bulletins on ISE insights.
Latest Covdi-19 data
The UK has now had over 4.1 million identified Covid-19 cases and 135,613 deaths (with Covid on the death certificate). The R rate is estimated to be between 0.6 and 0.9 with the daily infection rate shrinking by between 3% and 6%.
The number of cases and the number of death have been falling for six weeks. The number of new cases is now well below the October average although the number of deaths still remains higher than the average in December. The Office for National Statistics has release new data on positive Covid tests.
Data from the government’s Covid-19 dashboard.
- The Prime Minister announced a new roadmap out of lockdown this week. Experts discuss whether this is the right approach.
- The vaccine rollout is going well in the UK, but not so well across the globe.
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been found to have acted unlawfully around the issuing of government Covid-related contracts.
- Data shows that 20.5 million years of life may have been lost to Covid across the globe.
- Office for National Statistics release new data on the social impacts of Covid-19.
- Schools are returning in England from the 8th March. Wales is taking a more phased approach with primary schools returning on the 15th March. Many teachers are concerned about the consequences of this reopening of schools.
- There has been some clarification of how school exams and vocational qualifications will be graded this year. Most of the responsibility has been placed with teachers to assess grades.
- The government have released new funding this week to support school’s to catch up. But, there is concern that the idea of ‘catch up’ is putting too much pressure on children. Professor Helena Gillespie argues that after the year that school children have had this funding should focus on wellbeing rather than academic performance.
- New data on Covid-19 cases in universities raises concerns about the role of halls of residence in transmitting Covid. Nonetheless, most students look set to return after Easter.
- In advance of a public debate on career guidance next week, Tristram Hooley looks at why career guidance matters for student employers
- Productivity is down in comparison with last year due to Covid, lockdown and furlough.
- New research shows that there is a vicious circle between economic deprivation and incidence of Covid. This has partially been driven by insufficient levels of benefits being paid out to those who need them.
The labour market
- New data from the Office for National Statistics shows that unemployment is continuing to rise with young people experiencing the worst effects. There are concerns that the number of unemployed young people could rise to over a million by the autumn and that unemployment is higher amongst BAME groups. Commentary by the Institute for Employment Studies argues that the government needs to announce new initiatives in the budget to respond to rising unemployment.
- There is some positive news on jobs this week with more than half of firms planning to hire new staff. This includes KPMG announcing that it will create 200 new jobs in Belfast.
- Some firms are considering making Covid vaccinations a mandatory condition of employment.
Student recruitment and development
- How AI can enhance graduate recruitment.
- Apprenticeships are an increasingly important part of the student recruitment picture. Kate Burnett argues that organisation’s apprenticeship strategies need to be driven from the top.
- Covid has seen some big changes for interns and placement students. Olivia Payne discusses what is it like to be doing your placement on the NHS Covid frontline?
- New research with students explores their perceptions of graduate recruitment and how and why student’s career interests change. There has also been new research published this week looking at the outcomes of graduates with disabilities.
- Charlie Ball’s weekly summary of the graduate labour market.