BRITAIN’S coronavirus R rate has fallen for the second week in a row- and could be as low as 0.8 in the North West, the latest official data shows.
The current R value – the number of people an infected person will pass Covid-19 on to – is estimated to be between 1.0 and 1.1.
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The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) last week estimated the R to be between a range of 1.0 and 1.2.
When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, but below that number would suggest the epidemic is shrinking.
Regional variations show the R rate may now be below the crucial value in the North West – despite being the Covid epicentre just weeks ago.
Estimates now show that ares in the South of England are seeing the worst R rates – with the range highest in the South West, South East and East of England.
The South West has an R rate of 1 – 1.3, the South East is at 1.1 – 1.4 and the East of England sits between 1 – 1.3.
What does R rate mean?
R0, or R nought, refers to the average number of people that one infected person can expect to pass the coronavirus on to.
Scientists use it to predict how far and how fast a disease will spread – and the number can also inform policy decisions about how to contain an outbreak.
For example, if a virus has an R0 of three, it means that every sick person will pass the disease on to three other people if no containment measures are introduced.
It’s also worth pointing out that the R0 is a measure of how infectious a disease is, but not how deadly.
It comes after data from the ZOE Covid Symptom Tracker app also revealed that the R rate is at 1.
Government scientists also caution that the R and growth rate is more likely to be somewhere in the middle of its estimated range.
It’s also important to note that Sage’s R rating estimate lags behind the Government’s daily cases and deaths data by about two weeks.
Modelling groups use different data ranges to estimate the R rate – which is why there is a difference between estimates from Sage and the ZOE app.
Estimates from Sage suggest that the North West of England currently has a R rate between 0.8 and 1.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today revealed that cases are decreasing in the North West.
The ONS stated that there are “substantial difference” in regional rates.
The ONS said: “Over the last week, infection rates have continued to increase in London, the East of England and the South East, however rates now appear to be decreasing in the North West and the East Midlands.
“The highest Covid-19 infection rates remain in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.”
Data from the ONS revealed that cases are levelling off in some regions in England[/caption]
The Sage data shows that the R rate is currently between 1 and 1.1 in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber.
In the East of England it’s between 1.0-1.3, and in London it sits between 1 and 1.2.
Data from the ZOE Symptom Tracker App revealed that there are currently 34,279 daily new symptomatic cases of Covid-19 in the UK on average over the two weeks up to November 15.
This data set seems to be inline with ONS figures that stated there had been an 18 per cent drop in cases in a week.
Last week the ONS reported that there had been 47,700 new daily cases in England, and this week that figure has dropped 18 per cent to 38,900.
Experts today stated that as restrictions continue, infections should continue to fall.
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Prof James Naismith FRS FMedSci, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, and University of Oxford said social restrictions are the best way to curb the spread.
Commenting on the ONS data he said: “The lower the number of infections, the less pressure on hospitals and the fewer number of deaths.
“Some people will live to see Christmas, who if these numbers had not fallen, would have died.
“Obviously as the restrictions continue, we all hope and I expect the number of new infections to further fall.”