Latest R rate in Cambridgeshire as Tier 2 review approaches

The coronavirus R number has risen slightly in Cambridgeshire, latest figures show.

The crucial rate for the East of England – which indicates the number of people an infected person could pass the virus to – now stands at between 0.9 and 1.1.

The figure is updated every week, and on December 4 the R number for the region was 0.9 – 1.0.

The growth rate for the East of England – which is an estimation of the percentage change in the number of infections each day – is now -1 to +2.

Estimates are shown as a range and the true values are likely to lie within this, according to experts.

The figures come ahead of a Government review on the tiered system of coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday (December 16).

The county’s Director of Public Health has warned Cambridgeshire is unlikely to move out of Tier 2.

The reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission across the UK is now between 0.9 and 1, the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said.

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

An R number between 0.9 and 1 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 9 and 10 other people.

Meanwhile, the R value in England is between 0.8 and 1 – unchanged from a week ago – but Sage said it is not confident that R is below 1 in all English regions, particularly in London and parts of the South East.

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The growth rate in the UK is now thought to be between -2% and 0%.

If the growth rate is greater than zero (+ positive), then the epidemic is growing. If the growth rate is less than zero (- negative), then the epidemic is shrinking.

But Sage cautioned: “A growth rate between -2% and 0% means that the number of new infections is shrinking by between 0% and 2% every day.

“The UK estimates of R and growth rate are averages over very different epidemiological situations and should be regarded as a guide to the general trend rather than a description of the epidemic state.

“Given the increasingly localised approach to managing the epidemic, particularly between nations, UK level estimates are less meaningful than previously.”

What is the R number and why is it so important?

The R figure represents the number of people each infected person, on average, passes the virus onto.

If R equals one, it means each infected person will on average pass coronavirus on to one other. But if R is 0.5, those 10 people would infect only five.

The crucial threshold is an R of 1, with anything lower indicating that an epidemic is in decline. If it goes higher then cases can increase.

The growth rate and R are estimated by several independent modelling groups based in universities and Public Health England (PHE).

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