Coronavirus ‘R’ rate rises closer to 1 in east of England

PUBLISHED: 08:44 31 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:09 31 August 2020

The coronavirus R rate has risen closer to 1 in the east of England. Picture: Archant

The coronavirus R rate has risen closer to 1 in the east of England. Picture: Archant


The reproduction rate of coronavirus for the east of England has risen closer to 1, figures have revealed.

SAGE, the government’s scientific advisory group, has published the latest ‘R’ number for the east of England as the country’s average reproduction rate could be as high as 1.1.

In figures published on Friday, SAGE reported the eastern region – which includes Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire – has an ‘R’ rate between 0.8 and 1.

The reproduction number (R) is the average number of secondary infections produced by a single infected person.

If R is greater than 1 the epidemic is growing, and if R is less than 1, it is shrinking.

It is a slight rise from mid-August when the value was between 0.7 and 0.9.

In context, the east of England’s current R rate is in the bottom two NHS regions out of eight for the lowest R rate in England, alongside North East and Yorkshire.

More: All 800 Banham Poultry staff to be tested for coronavirus

In relation to the east of England, SAGE said; “Low numbers of deaths and/or a high degree of variability in transmission across the region means these estimates are insufficiently robust to inform policy decisions.”

This is because the latest estimates published by the Government represent the transmission of Covid-19 from several weeks ago, due to a time delay between someone being infected and needing healthcare.

Estimates that use more timely data reflecting infections suggest a higher R for England than shown in the Government’s latest charts, SAGE has suggested.

The experts said they would expect to see this change in transmission reflected in the R number published over the next few weeks.

It is yet to be seen how the recent outbreak at Banham Poultry in Attleborough will affect the region’s R Rate after 80 people working there have tested positive for the virus.

More: Coronavirus cases rise in Breckland and Great Yarmouth after Banham Poultry outbreak

After being at a very low level for several weeks, Public Health England figures of those testing positive show a sudden increase in the two areas.

In Breckland, where Banham Poultry is based, 12 people tested positive on Monday. There is delay of a few days in the figures so that will rise in the coming week. The last time there was such a high number of confirmed coronavirus on a single day in Breckland was May 15.

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