Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020

Coronavirus: UK’s R number remains unchanged at a maximum of 1.3

The UK’s coronavirus reproduction number has remained unchanged at a maximum of 1.3, according to new figures.

The latest number has been confirmed by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which advises the government on its response to the pandemic.

It remains the same as last week’s figure, between 1.1 and 1.3 in the UK, SAGE has said.

The R number is one of many indicators scientists use to determine how quickly COVID-19 is spreading, representing the average number of people each person with the virus goes on to infect.

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

An R number between 1.1 and 1.3 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 11 and 13 other people.

The growth rate, which estimates how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, is between plus 2% and plus 4% for the UK as a whole.

A growth rate between plus 2% and plus 4% means the number of new infections is increasing by between 2% and 4% every day.

The most likely value for R and growth rate is towards the middle of that range, according to the experts.

SAGE said that it is confident that the epidemic has continued to grow in England over recent weeks, adding: “Although there is some evidence that the rate of growth in some parts of the country may be slowing, levels of disease are very high in these areas and significant levels of healthcare demand and mortality will persist until R is reduced to and remains well below 1 for an extended period of time.”

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