Home News R-rate reaches 1 in UK – what does this mean?

R-rate reaches 1 in UK – what does this mean?

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The all-important R rate for coronavirus is now over one in all four UK nations, according to a new study. The reproduction number is 1.3 in England, 1.2 in Scotland and Wales, and 1.1 in Northern Ireland based on unofficial data from a Government-funded app in which users self-report COVID-19 symptoms.

The study’s latest prevalence figures estimate that 35,248 people currently have coronavirus and are symptomatic – a rise of over 10,000 cases since last week.

The figure last week was 22,040.

It also suggests the UK averaged 3,610 new cases every day in the two weeks leading up to September 6 – this is a significant increase from 1,974 only a week ago.

Incidence rates are currently higher in the North of England, the Midlands and Northern Ireland, while the South West and the East of England have the lowest levels, according to the data.

What is R value?

R0, or R naught, refers to the average number of people that one sick person goes on to infect in a group that has no immunity.

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.

A given pathogen’s R value changes with place and time and is dependent upon cirumstances – for example, the national lockdown earlier this year caused the R rate to drop.

What does a R of more than 1 mean?

A R rate of more than one means the virus is spreading exponentially within the community.

An R value of one means the average person who gets that disease will transmit it to one other person; in that case, the disease is spreading at a stable rate.

An R of more than one means the disease spreads exponentially – so for example, if the R rate is 2, this means for each one person with the disease, two more people will become infected.

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