Latest ‘R’ rate for east revealed as scientists say England number could be above 1

The latest R number for the east of England has been published by the Government (stock photo) Pictu

The latest R number for the east of England has been published by the Government (stock photo) Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The latest ‘R’ number for the east of England has been published by the Government as scientists from SAGE say the country’s average reproduction rate could be as high as 1.1.

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.

What are the numbers for our region?

Latest figures published on Friday reveal the eastern region – which includes Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire – has an ‘R’ rate between 0.8 and 1.0.

This has risen slightly from mid-August, when the east’s ‘R’ value was between 0.7 and 0.9.

How does this compare with the rest of England?

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The east of England’s current R rate remains among the lowest in the country, ranking in the bottom two NHS regions (out of eight) alongside the North East and Yorkshire region.

In the other six areas, and across England as a whole, the ‘R’ rate has been calculated as being between 0.9 and 1.1.

On Friday, the Government’s scientific advisory group, SAGE, said it does not have confidence that R is currently below 1 in England.

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 remains to be seen how the outbreak at Banham Poultry in Norfolk, where 80 workers have tested positive, may affect the eastern region’s R value.

How does this affect me in the east of England?

Health chiefs say that because the R number for the east is likely to be based on either low case numbers or highly varied rates of transmission, it should not influence policy decisions, i.e. to fully re-open schools or impose local lockdowns.

Suffolk’s current infection rate is among the lowest in the country, with just 2.9 Covid-19 cases detected per 100,000 people.

This ranks it in the 10 areas with the lowest number of coronavirus infections in the country for the week to Sunday, August 23.

Read more about the latest infection rates and positive cases in your area.

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