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.
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.”
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.