COVID-19: 332 days to find a vaccine and 5.5million years on Zoom - the year 2020 in numbers

·3-min read

The number of days it took for scientists to develop a coronavirus vaccine has featured in the Royal Statistical Society's list of its most significant statistics of 2020.

Professor Jennifer Rogers, the society's vice president for external affairs, said the numbers are being a shared after a year where statistics "have been more important than ever".

Here we take a look at the Royal Statistical Society's stand-out statistics of the year.

332 days

Scientists began working to develop a coronavirus vaccine as countries across the world struggled to control the spread of the disease.

332 days marks the amount of time between 11 January 2020, when scientists published a genetic sequence of the disease, and 8 December, when an effective vaccine was first administered in the UK roll-out.

The RSS said it chose this statistic because it highlights the efforts made by the global scientific community in developing effective protection against COVID-19.

Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, has said he expects the UK to have up to four vaccines to use by the middle of 2021.


The coronavirus pandemic has led to "excess deaths" in care homes during the pandemic - meaning the number of deaths was higher than the average for that period in other years.

There were 17,750 excess deaths in care homes in England and Wales between 4 April and 1 May, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The total number of deaths in care homes was 200% higher than the five-year average during this period, compared with 85% higher in the home and 65% higher in hospitals, the ONS figures show.

The RSS said it chose 17,750 because it highlights the devastating impact coronavirus has had on those in care homes - where there have been an estimated 25,629 excess deaths in England and Wales since 7 March.

5.5 million years

More than three trillion minutes will be spent on the video communications app Zoom this year, equivalent to around 5.5 million years, according to figures reported by the RSS.

The society said it chose this statistic because it highlights the "huge change in our communication with others".

3 out of 5

Only three out of five people worldwide have basic handwashing facilities, according to the latest estimates from UNICEF.

The RSS has said the statistic captures on the of the world's biggest problems - a lack of sanitation.

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19 times

Black men aged between 18 and 24 in London are, on average, 19 times more likely to be stopped and searched in comparison to the city's overall population, according to the UCL Institute for Global City Policing.

The RSS said it chose this statistic because of its focus on policing and race, which became a key topic of discussion this year after the killing of the unarmed black man George Floyd in the US.

Mr Floyd's death led to widespread anti-racism protests as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.


Around one in five (19%) adults were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Office for National Statistics in June.

This figure almost doubled from an average of around one in ten (10%) before the pandemic.

The RSS chose this statistic as it gives a powerful insight into the nation's well-being during what has been a difficult year for many.