Official Covid R rate up again and could be over 1 in some areas

THE official coronavirus R rate has risen in England this week and now sits between 0.8 and 1.1.

Cases are falling across the UK and have dropped by nearly 40 per cent in the last week.

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For the last few weeks Sage has been unable to give a rate for the UK as a whole and when cases are so low, the R rate is a less reliable of the spread of infections.

Sage said that the R value and growth rates for the four nations and NHS England regions are more robust and useful metrics than those for the whole UK and that as a result, UK estimates of the R value and growth rate will no longer be produced.

The team said that because case numbers are so low, the margin of error becomes bigger.

Last week the R rate for England sat between 0.8 and 1.0.

The R rate has remained relatively constant and below 1 since February 5, having peaked on January 15 at between 1.2 and 1.3. 

But today it has risen to 1.1 and in the South West could be as high as 1.2, Sage revealed today.

It comes as:

  • Two new mutant Covid strains found as UK scientists investigate variants linked to India
  • 22m Brits living in areas with ZERO Covid deaths – as experts call for faster end to lockdown
  • Over 40s can get Covid jabs today as roll out to 30s set to start in 2 WEEKS
  • Boris Johnson told social distancing at big events can be scrapped after pilot scheme showed no spike in Covid cases
  • Pupils will be spared from wearing masks in class at English schools and colleges in just over two weeks’ time


 

The update on the R rate comes as infections across the country have fallen sharply for a third week in a row, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found.

The estimated proportion of people infected with Covid is now at its lowest level since rates seen in September when an estimated one in 1,400 people were infected.

The ONS said that an estimated 1 in 1,010 people in England had Covid-19 in the week ending April 24, compared to 1 in 610 a week earlier.

The percentage of people testing positive has fallen in each region in England, aside from Yorkshire and the Humber where rates remain uncertain, the ONS said.

Looking at the R rate and the South West has the highest rate, between 0.8 and 1.2.

It is followed by the East of England and London, where the rate is between 0.8 and 1.1.

The North East and Yorkshire and the South East of England are both between 0.8 and 1.0.

The Midlands is between 0.7 and 1 and the North West is the area with the lowest R rate, sitting between 0.7 and 0.9.

When it comes to different age groups and the number of people testing positive, rates decreased in those aged two years to school Year 11 and those aged 35 years and over.

The ONS said for those in school Year 12 to aged 34 years, the trend is uncertain in the week ending 24 April 2021.

Professor Paul Hunter Professor in Medicine, The Norwich School of Medicine, University of East Anglia said that this week's ONS data is particularly important as this is when the impact of the most recent loosening of restrictions would be seen in the data.

He said: "This would be the first week when there would be any evidence that the relaxation of the 12th April would have had a negative impact on the epidemic. 

"That there is in fact no evidence of an increased transmission risk is reassuring that for the time being at least it looks like the current Road map is still on target.”

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