The R number represents the average number of people that each Covid positive person infects.
The latest estimates from R suggest that the number has increased since last week, when the estimated R rate for England was between 0.9 and 1.1.
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When the number is greater than 1, an epidemic can grow exponentially, but when it is less than 1, it means that the epidemic is decreasing.
An R-value between 1 and 1.2 means that on average 10 infected people will infect between 10 and 12 other people.
The growth rate is estimated to be between + 1% and + 3%, which means that the number of new infections is increasing by 1% to 3% every day.
Earlier this week, Dr Jenny Harries said that “very small behavioral changes in all of us” could lower the R number.
Speaking to people who have been fully immunized, she said: “Don’t think about not wearing a face cover, put on a face cover.
“You may be carrying an infection with you and not knowing it. It’s really important.
“We have a natural break, if you will, to get to midterm.
“The kids have mostly had an infection and so if people do these behaviors and we keep the immunization rates going and the kids are also going to get immunized halfway through, then I think the R rate can, we can all bring it down under one.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released today estimate that around one in 55 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to October 16, up from one in 60 the week before .
One in 55 people equals approximately 977,900 people.
At the height of the second wave in early January, about one in 50 people had coronavirus.
The percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have increased in all parts of England except South East England and the West Midlands, where it appeared to be leveling off, and the North -est of England and Yorkshire and the Humber, where the trend was uncertain.
In the North West of England and the South West of England, around one in 45 people was likely to test positive in the week to October 16.
This was the highest proportion of all regions.
London and the south-east of England had the lowest proportion, at around one in 75.
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It comes as government science advisers have warned ministers should ensure “plan B” restrictions can be “swift” if needed.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said a significant new peak in infections like the one seen in January was “increasingly unlikely” as experts predict a series of wider, flatter peaks as the virus continues to spread.
However, at its October 14 meeting, Sage warned that if government “plan B” measures were needed, then they should be combined to achieve the greatest effect.
Sage said that “the reintroduction of working from home is likely to have the greatest individual impact on transmission outside of the proposed measures” in Plan B, which includes the mandatory use of face masks.
Sage also advised that “policy work on the potential reintroduction of measures should be undertaken now so that it can be ready for rapid deployment.”
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