Coronavirus R rate 'drops to 1.1' as major study shows Rule of Six is 'slowing infections'

THE R RATE has dropped to 1.1 in a sign Covid-19 infections are slowing down, a major study has suggested.

The infection rate appears to have fallen from 1.7 to around 1.1 based on early results from a study by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori.

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This has been calculated based on tests carried out on more than 80,000 volunteers in England between September 18 and 26, The Daily Mail reported.

The Imperial study is looking at the levels of infection by testing more than 150,000 participants each month over a two-week period.

The full findings from the volunteers who were tested between September 18 and October 5 will be detailed next week.

Experts have said the early findings suggest that new cases are slowing down and that the newer measures such as the rule of six and curfews seem to be working.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial, told the paper: "While our latest findings show some early evidence that the growth of new cases may have slowed, suggesting efforts to control the infection are working, the prevalence of infection is the highest that we have recorded to date. 

"This reinforces the need for protective measures to limit the spread of the disease." 

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially.

On September 11, the Imperial study suggested cases were doubling every seven to eight days, while England's R rate was said to be 1.7 – and was estimated to be as high as 2.5 in the North East.

Imperial College London experts tested more than 150,000 volunteers since August 22.

They found 13 people per 10,000 were infected in England in the fortnight up to September 7.


CASES RISE

It comes as the infection rate in the North West and North West are at a breaking point.

Professor Chris Whitty said the two regions had seen a “rapid increase” in infections – despite large swathes of both areas being under local lockdown.

The graphs were shown as part of Boris Johnson's address to the nation this evening, in which he told Brits they can't "throw in the sponge" in the fight against coronavirus.

It comes as fears of a second wave were heightened after the country today recorded an increase of more than 7,000 infections for the second day in a row.

One government slide, based on Public Health England data, shows the geographical spread of Covid-19 in England and is based on the total rate of lab-confirmed cases of the virus in the seven days up to September 23. 

The darker purple colours in the graph show the high concentration of cases in the North West, with areas including Manchester and Liverpool recording between 168 and 288 infections per 100,000 people. 

Other hard-hit areas with infection rates more than 100 cases per 100,000 include Leeds as well as Birmingham and Leicester in the Midlands.



The map also highlights the unequal geographical spread of the second wave – with the majority of areas in the South West and South East of England seeing infection rates below 23 cases per 100,000. 

London, meanwhile, hovers somewhere in the middle of the two with a case rate in the majority of boroughs between 52.79 and 100 cases per 100,000. 

The capital, once the epicentre of the pandemic in April, has seen its infection rate remain relatively stable through the summer months – despite being added to the government's watchlist amid a rise in cases in the past fortnight.

 

 

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