The Wokingham Paper

Government scientists unsure if coronavirus R number is below 1

A representation of the coronavirus Picture: Daniel Roberts from Pixabay

THE Government’s scientific advisors have said that they are not confident that the R number of the coronavirus is below 1 in England.

The number is a measure as to how likely it is that a single person who has Covid-19 could pass the virus on to someone else. 

A rate of 3 means that each infected person will pass the virus on to three other people. Below 1 means that they are less likely to transmit the virus to others. 

So keeping the R number to under 1 means that the virus will start to ebb away. 

A range of data is used to calculate the rate including hospital admissions, deaths and positive tests and it can take up to three weeks for the R rate to show in the data. 

Sage estimates that the R number for the South East is the same as England’s average: 0.8-1.0. 

But Sage said that while its July 31 figures “more accurately represent the average situation over the past few weeks rather than the situation today”, there is evidence that the growth rate is higher. 

“Models that use COVID-19 testing data that have less of a time delay, have recently suggested higher values for R in England,” they note.

“For this reason, SAGE does not have confidence that R is currently below 1 in England. 

“We would expect to see this change in transmission reflected in the R and growth rate published over the next few weeks.” 

As of Thursday, July 30, there have been a total of 605 confirmed coronavirus cases across Wokingham borough. This figure is all cases from February onwards.

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